As someone who embraced technology as a learning tool early on (my first classroom computer was a 64K Apple ll â€“ not even a lle) Iâ€™m right there with many in the edblogosphere that have come to the conclusion that the snails pace of adoption by many in education would be enhanced if we had many examples of it truly making a difference in schools. My class has now successfully included a student that cannot attend school because of her leukemia twice using FREE video Skype software (see here and here). Our plan is to do it as many days as she feels up to it. And beyond the obvious implications of that, what needs to be pointed out is that it was EASY. Beyond getting her a DSL line and computer, which took the better part of 2 months, setting up the Skype connection literally took less than half an hour at her house and our classroom combined. My fourth graders that came into this year having close to zero experience with technology beyond video games and phones, hook up the laptop and web cam we use easily after we did it ONE TIME (weâ€™ve done it twice more since).
Will this make a difference in Celestâ€™s life? The rest of my studentsâ€™ lives? Othersâ€™ lives? Does this project have implications for web 2.0 beyond what we are trying to accomplish here (including someone)? Besides using Skype my students have already used Flickr, blogged, used email, word processed, used digital still and video cameras and planned a video about this experience – and we have only been doing it for 3 days. The exciting thing is we will experience the answers to these questions. More as it unfolds.
Learning is messy!