In the coming months, Educational Technology Debate will host conversations around the following topics. Feel free to contact us with recommendations for both discussants and suggested topics.
- Mobiles for All
With the dropping price and increasing power of tablet computers and mobile phones (and the blurring distinctions between either), and the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement, can we start to talk about “One Mobile Device Per Student” as a possible reality?
- Creating Indigenous Language Content for Learners
Although English is the first language for only 6 percent of the world’s population, it dominates online content. In order to fully benefit from the Internet, students need a wide variety of content available in a language they speak. How can this content be best created?
- The Role of Competition
Even amidst the current economic crisis, there remains a high level of interest in ICT4E with many new entrants to the market. Some, however, have argued that this competition is to the detriment of educating students and that non-profit enterprises cannot afford to compete with multi-national corporations. Should competition be encouraged in ICT4E, or should interested actors focus on collaboration?
- Private Education: Friend or Foe
While we often think only about state-supported public education, a growing number of parents and entrepreneurs are opting for private, fee-based schools that promise greater accountability and flexibility than public schools, and an implied level of technological innovation that can produce better educational outcomes. Should we celebrate this kind of competition or are private schools just taking the best and brightest (or richest) from public schools?
- What Can We Learn from Religions?
The world’s religions were running schools centuries before the state got involved, and arguably they are the world’s oldest and best transmitters of historical cultural and societal norms. Some have also been at the forefront of using technology to increase their reach and impact. What might we learn from religious applications of technology that would be applicable to the formal and informal educational context?
- High-Tech vs. Low-Tech
Much of the excitement about ICT4E focuses on relatively high-tech, digital options like laptop computers. However, these can bring along a host of troubles such as minimal connectivity and a lack of appropriate support. Instead, might the goals of ICT4E be better served with low-tech solutions like radio or even postal mail?
- Free and Open Source Software vs. Proprietary Solutions
Free and open source software (FOSS) has proven itself as a viable alternative to proprietary solutions in a host of fields. Its proclaimed advantages range from cost to customizability, but many initiatives still utilize proprietary software. Is this a mistake or does FOSS have flaws that make it unfit for mass ICT4E use?
- Unintended Consequences of ICT4E?
In the rush to introduce modern technology into classrooms around the world, are educators and policy-makers producing dangerous unintended consequences? Notably, modern computing brings about detrimental environmental costs such as high energy use and difficult to recycle materials. Are the costs worth the benefits?
- Making Education Accessible to All
Governments around the world are committed to making education available to all. ICT is considered one way to do so – by using distance learning, for example, hard to reach populations could be exposed to high-quality learning materials. However, by focusing on technology for education, are policy-makers ignoring the so-called digital divide? Will ICT4E exacerbate the problem or present the solution?
We look forward to moderating the important conversations that surround the use of ICT in education and hope you will join us by submitting suggested topics or debaters, adding your voice in the comments, and subscribing to the site.