Several weeks ago, I spotlighted the commitments which the education systems in Maine and Michigan had made to provide each student with a laptop. I argued that getting the technologies into the schools was only the first step and that the harder problem was developing innovative uses of computers for educational purposes. Teaching and Learning magazine this month identifies ten innovative examples of new “technologies in action” in the classroom. They range across disciplines, grade levels, and technologies. They include students using digital video to produce their own documentary about the Japanese internment during World War II, the use of teleconferencing technologies to allow students to interact with researchers, the use of handheld computers to create an augmented reality game to explore environmental science, several online journalism projects, and other innovative uses of the web.
I am biased here, since I am involved with the Education Arcade group at MIT which produced Environmental Detectives, a featured project this year, but this write-up gives me optimism that educators will rise to the challenge of using these new resources effectively if they are given the support and freedom they need to succeed.