The Future of a School

My school is in the process of building a new Media Center. We have held and continue to hold meeting with the architects, planners, consultants, etc to try and create a building for the 21st century.

I have had some great conversations with my Deputy Superintendent over the future of technology. Yesterday she sent an e-mail with the following question.

What will be out there 5 years from now in the world of information technology that we will want our facility to accommodate?

Great question and one I’m glad we are asking. The issue with this question, I believe, is that there is no concrete answer of what technologies will influence education the most 5 years from now. Hardware continues to change, so trying to develop a media center for hardware that doesn’t exists yet is difficult. Sure there will be laptops, tablet PCs, and a variety of other things, but they probably will not look the same, act the same or even run the same programs as computers do today. I feel the best we can do is build an infrastructure that allows flexibility to adapt to changing technologies.

That being said there are some things I feel will be out there 5 years from now that I think we must consider, but none of them are hardware based. The Internet continues to expand exponentially, creating more information then we could possibly consider. What will be here 5 years from now is information. I feel we need to create a space that allows for the flow of information. With the development of web 2.0 and tools likes Blogs and such that are bring the read/write web to life, our focus needs to be on accessing information and information literacy. The hardware will change, the programs that we use to access the information will change, but the growth of information will be constant. It’s difficult to build a new media center without focusing on hardware. Hardware is important after all, it is what we use to access the information. But more importantly we need to look at what tools will students need to access this information. Today we talk about laptops, LCD projectors, SmartBoards, etc. But in 5 years those tools will be replaced by smaller faster, easier to manage machines. Creating a space that is easily adaptable to new technologies is the key.

We also need to look at the formats in which information is being distributed. podcasting, blogs, videocasting, wiki, and ebooks are all fast becoming vehicles of information. So we must look at what tools are needed to allow students the ability to access these types of information, and create spaces where students cannot only access this information, but a place where they can produce it as well.

Our focus needs to remand on the 21st century student. No longer are we the teacher the gatekeeper of information, we need to design a media center that allows the students easy access to the information they want, be it a web page or a podcast, and allow them the right to be an active member in the information age by being able to produce information for a global community.

Just my thoughts!

1 Comment

  1. Okay, so you gave her a philosophical answer, but what about a practical answer? What should she tell the architects when they are drawing up their plans?

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