Saturday, July 25, 2009

Portable Collaboration Networks on the Flash

Catching up on my million articles in the RSS reader--all from Stephen Downes, sigh--I was struck by the juxtaposition of Helen Barrett's highlighting of electronic portfolios image (created by Sonia Guilana) below:

...and the idea of EduApps. EduApps is described on the web site as:

EduApps is an initiative developed by the JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East and expands on the already very successful AccessApps. EduApps extends the AccessApps philosophy of free portable software in your pocket to include bundles of applications specifically designed for teachers 'TeachApps' and learners 'LearnApps'. Currently we host over 90 open source and freeware software applications which can be entirely used from a USB stick on a Windows computer.

I find the juxtaposition curious because as we move towards the Read/Write Web (a.k.a. Web 2.0), the power of folks to build their own personal learning networks using free tools "out there," something my colleague Dan Rezac is particularly thrilled about, the thought of running apps off a USB flash drive is...funny.

I see that the cloud is a flattener for education in many ways. I believe that all students, poor or rich, deserve the same quality of education and deserve to use the same tools. The playing field should be level. The most promising sign of this level playing field is in the offerings of the cloud: Google Apps for Ed, drop.io, schooltube.com, edu20.org, wikipedia.org- all of these online apps and tools are free (right now, anyway). Take into account the netbook and in a very, very short time- technology education will be more accessible to everyone, granted there are qualified teachers to shape it.
Source: Dan Rezac

Will digital equity be ensured if we all have access to EduApps or some version of that? Will we be expected to maintain our digital portfolios on our handy flash drives or just keep them "out there?" What will the flash drive of tomorrow be? Will it be my mobile handheld internet device that can be hooked up to a digital projector and syncs any computer I work with to create MY virtual environment?

In a world where Internet access is restricted--that's K-12 schools--USB flash drives are needed so we can boot and escape the strictures imposed by all-knowing network gods, legislatures, etc. Is this perspective a valid one?

I don't know, but that's the point, isn't it? On the one hand, I have an infinite digital portfolio online of my work (http://mguhlin.net) and I also carry around a flash drive with my most needful content (encrypted, of course). Sometimes, I have full access and sometimes I don't. Either way, I'm prepared.

But is it enough that I'm prepared? The process of bringing others on board is arduous...and my motivations are not their's. How can I help them better see the need for ubiquitous access to Read/Write, communication/collaboration tools?

Instead of PLNs, is it PCNs? And could Portable Collaboration Networks really be encapsulated, based on USB Flash drives in real ways?



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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure