Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cybertron In The Classroom by Akindele Akinyemi


Evolving charter schools into a more virtual classroom setting within the educational empowerment zones that Black conservatives are beginning to push for will be a ticket out of the hood within the next 10-15 years. Our children will be able to go to any college and compete with the rest of the world thanks to building partnerships with corporations like Compuware and Lear Corporation.

The next evolutionary step for charter schools is a instructional design called cyberinfrastructure. This is a process that it is necessary for our children to compete in a global society. If Blacks are still stuck in Detroit then we are going to be left behind the rest of the world.

Within this cyberinfrastructure we would be doing the following:

1) Unprecedented access to educational resources, mentors, experts, and online educational activities and virtual environments.

2) Timely, accurate assessment of student learning.

3) Developing a platform for large-scale research on education and the sciences of learning.

By designing a state of the art school from the ground up with Qualified Academic Zones Bonds within an educational empowerment zone we can fully tap into this cyberinfrastructure on a whole different level.

For instance, students in the classroom can use "mobiles." This is portable technology that can be used for collaborative learning, can respond or gather information from the environment in a time and location aware manner, and can be personalized to meet different learners requirements.

They can be used as classroom response systems to gather student responses, showing anonymized individual views as well as aggregate data. Also, they can provide mixed reality tours of museums, galleries, and the wider environment.

Every charter school within this educational empowerment zone should be moving towards virtual resource centers and digital libraries. Virtual resource centers and digital libraries, for
example, are known to impact the learning of students and teachers who continue to re-engage with them over time because they include opportunities for interaction, knowledge-building, and autonomy. Online interaction with others, such as that built into exchanges and feedback about the online problems, provides students with individualized feedback about their work, the kind of exchange in which others think with them, point them to related resources, and so on.

The use of digital learning portfolios for personal ownership by learners has been a recurrent concept in recent history. These digital portfolios can offer rich and compelling information to a wide variety of things. For example, individual learners would have the data they need to make informed decisions about their own learning —what knowledge they need to study, what learning resources are available that best align with their interests and learning style (instead of the one-size-fits-all textbook), what metacognitive skills could be improved, and what strengths and weaknesses they have that may influence future academic and employment choices.

Educational technology is revolutionary within itself. No longer we are going to use the standard charter criteria that is being used now. Charter schools now are duplicating what is going on in the traditional public schools and are duplicating the same failures as their competitors. This is partly because those who leave school systems like Detroit Public Schools start their own charters and duplicate that same mentality.

That is not what I am proposing. As charters make their evolutionary journey we will begin to innovattechnologygy by extending beyond the walls of the classroom to include learner interaction data from a wide variety of information and communication technologies and media
data streams. These include educational, performance, and entertainment technologies software (virtual laboratories, modeling tools, intelligent tutors, online assessments, and games), chat rooms, discussion boards, interactions with science museum exhibits, GPS-enabled cellular phones, and phone and grid conferences.

This will require storing recordings of learner activities with both standard and novel recording techniques that capture synchronized data streams. The use of audio, video, scanners (e.g., for paper homework and tests), eye tracking, emotion sensing (e.g., galvanic skin response, or GSR), location/proximity sensing (e.g., GPS), and brain imaging has tempting potential for deepening the scientific understanding of learners and how learner profiles and contextual factors contribute to learning processes and outcomes.

Black conservatives should already be on board with this type of educational innovation. If not, now is the time as we begin to build a Black Regional Power base. Educational choice is a civil rights movement so let's get civil and give our children their rights so we can move to the next step.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The technology base for this type of innovation is being developed at Wayne State University's Techtown, and currently being piloted in Highland Park and Detroit Public and Charter Schools.

Then idea of empowering each student with 1:1 computing and world class curriculum supplements is currently being implemented in Detroit Schools by Neigborhood Legal Services and their technology partner based at WSU.

Please contact Aaron Hopson at NLS for more details about implementing these ideas in other Detroit area schools.