The problem for Scottish teachers, and almost certainly for those elsewhere in Europe at the moment, is that the R&D of today is taking place in the same countries that jumped on our bandwagon. I feel we’re seriously missing the boat on the information bandwagon through our education system’s reluctance to adopt ‘risky’ (in their eyes) solutions that have potential. Meanwhile, our students are living in a vacuum of knowledge – the knowledge that really matters to them in their futures – because their elders are not actively seeking to put in the effort to make risky projects work. Like John Logie Baird, Alexander Bell, James Watt and all these other Scottish inventors who took huge risks in their projects.
This very British relationship with the computer goes back to the computer’s inventor (yes, he was a Brit, too). Having made a prototype of the Difference Engine that did very little but which had obvious potential for the early 1800s, Charles Babbage needed a benefactor to test it out on a larger scale. He ended up getting the money and spending it on something he thought would be better. He didn’t share this with anyone. He spent all the money and died a lonely, detested, mocked man.
If he had been able to share his knowledge with a wider community in the way that we can now someone would have left a message on his blog telling him to go with his original thought. If he wrote back and refused they would have bought the idea from him and done it themselves, saving the human race the 200 year wait, the Industrial Revolution and two World Wars. With a blog, a podcast maybe, his sources and plans bookmarked in del.icio.us, he would have been liberated, empowered, faster, better and more successful in making his project work.
And so why, when we have the tools, do teachers, Local Authorities and national authorities refuse to use and endorse them?