Thank you for the invitation. I said to myself, "Wow! I really do have a Personal Learning Network!" This is what learning and education is about: collaboration and support, one to another and to all and back, for the benefit of all.
I am Sheri Edwards, and I teach in a very rural area of north central Washington State; my students are mostly Native American. They thrive on technology --and although most fall under the category, "living in poverty," many have more technology at home than we have at school in the form of gameboys, Wii, Play Station, etc. Most do not have internet access, but find friends who do. This is the future, and I'm glad to be able to guide my students in small ways to active and responsible participation in the global network.
But don't you find schools to have inequitable distribution of technology, and that technology use is restricted? How will we move to equity in technology, and how will we teach to the new student: the ones who want to choose what they learn? It's what they do at home -- decide what game, what site, what social network, what information to search out and connect. Sitting in rows focused on the teacher's lesson for the whole class is not what students will accept anymore. Even in rural Washington.
This is also an example of the future of learning for our students -- personal links chosen from need and interest to focused learning with global content networks, moderated by guides who both compel and propel the progression and expansion of the content for the learners and the learning. It's more than education, it's educonnection, or educarocracy, or demoeducare.
Think about it:
demo: the people
educare: lead out
I look forward to answering the questions provided for the new Secretary of Education. Thanks Steve and Carol, and Lucy Gray.