Embrace Simplicity,Extend Complexity

Given the authority, the power to make a binding decision, what software would you have in schools today? If technology is a tool(box), what specific choices would you make as essential for students?  Kobus van Wyk provides the inspiration:
The "less is more" principle could also be applied in our choice of software for schools. It has been observed over the past years that some impressive software packages are installed in schools but are not used. . .In a well-meaning effort to cover all the bases, teachers may be swamped by a bewildering array of products. The result? There are too many different tools to learn; the road of least resistance for some teachers is to give up.
Yet, were we to start listing our tools in the Read/Write Web world, it's clear that we would all be overwhelmed. There are thousands of tools, and trying to figure out where each one would fit in is lunacy. In watching a video of Vicki Davis' Flat Classroom I'd downloaded to use in presentations (5 gig video library and growing), I was astonished at all the software tools her class had used. What was even more amazing was that Vicki mentioned she'd be using more tools with students, allowing MySpace, YouTube, etc.

I don't pretend to know a better approach, but we're certainly moving beyond the carefully designed learning environments that are tightly controlled by the "creator-teachers." Simply, students have access to a wide variety of tools, know how to apply them--or are willing to embrace and extend. Yet, teachers have few tools they know. Why not embrace simplicity in schools?
In some ways it makes the FOSS debate in schools null and void. Certainly Linux OS with Firefox because they are free and provide that terminal like apparatus needed to access the online services. So where is the need for other productivity software like Open Office, GIMP, Inkscape, Thunderbird, etc when the technology is emerging for us to just do it online?
Source: Waraku Education
Provide the minimum tools, low-cost to our students and teachers IN schools. This saves money. Then, allow students to embrace this simplified selection of tools, then extend them with the plethora of web-enabled ones, achieving a level of artful complexity that is beyond the creator-teachers design?

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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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