ITSE 2011. ECTACO: Do kids like the jetBook Mini? Why don’t you ask them…

By Jerry Cimadomo.

I saw something quite amazing at the ITSE conference just recently and I wanted to share my experience. At this conference in Philadelphia PA tons of companies came to show off their technology for use in schools and other educational settings. There were tons of exhibitors with loads of software and hardware solutions to “help” students learn. I couldn’t help but notice the majority of the exhibitors were offering boring solutions which seemed to be geared towards teachers and not the students.

In the middle of my second day I noticed a crowd of students walking down our istle, without thought they ignored the $3000 interactive projectors, organizational software and even colorful interactive computer games. When they arrived at our booth they came to a screeching halt, I had to make sure we didn’t leave candy on the table! Each one of them grabbed for and started scrutinizing the vibrant jetBook Mini; intrigued they started asking questions about eReaders, how it worked and even where to get one. I quickly grabbed my camera to capture the moment. After a few minutes their chaperone was hurrying them along so they wouldn’t miss anything.

I feel like there is, and always has been, a big disconnect between students and teachers. The best teacher is one who can see through a student’s eyes and understands what’s interesting to them. Quite frankly, a task like reading is found to be boring my many younger students, and with high-tech items like 3D TV’s, video games and movies we can’t blame the students for being uninterested. The stimulation level is a mis-match, it’s like asking a person who just sky dived from several thousand feet to play a game of chess. Certainly they won’t find it as exhilarating.

Pairing cool technology like the jetBook to such a low-stimulus task like reading is the perfect way to elicit interest and learning. This acquisition of knowledge through reading is one of the building blocks to a better education and a successful life. As Harry Truman put it “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

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e-mail: alex.p@ectacoinc.co.uk

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