Tuesday, February 01, 2005

What if a home PC cost $100?

Well it does ... or it can. Red Herring announced the other day that MIT Media Lab says they can build a home PC for $100. To quote:
The low-cost computer will have a 14-inch color screen, AMD chips, and will run Linux software, Mr. Negroponte said during an interview Friday with Red Herring at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. AMD is separately working on a cheap desktop computer for emerging markets. It will be sold to governments for wide distribution.

Someday, we'll be able to go to Wal-mart and buy a decent computer for the price of yesterday's VCRs. What kind of implications will that have for education? I have taught preservice teachers for the past year and a half how to use educational technologies, and I was constantly amazed and frustrated with their constant pessimism. If I had a dollar for every time I heard or could see in their eyes, "Well, we won't have technology in the school where I will teach" -- then I'd be going to Vancouver in April to the ISPI conference. They struggled to understand that while they may not have sufficient technology tools when they first start teaching (although I don't agree with that necessarily either), but give it five years, and they will.

When computers cost $100, and we can give one to every student, how will education change? When you can pick up wireless internet in any building in the developed world, and can have instant access to anything you want to know, will we still pretend that as teachers we are the only way students will gain any piece of information? When will we realize that we need to get ready for a new age, a new time when we'll need to teach very differently than we have in the past. Information Age? I get the feeling that we have no idea just how easy, available, and ubiquitous information will be in a few short years.

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