Yesterday was the first day of the three day conference in Innovate 2010 Schools ICT Conference held in Cape Town at the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology. I first started working at this conference in 2001 (when I was still in high school) and today I am presenting for Project Umonya.
The first keynote speaker of the day Masha du Toit discussed Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. I'd never really considered the difference or that the distinction existed, I'd sort of accepted that I was born when computers became ubiquitous but that others had an affinity to technology that could have existed in any age (someone had to invent the stuff)
The second keynote speaker for the event was Johannes Cronje from CPUT. He spoke about the Seven Ages of Technology in Education. It was a highly entertaining experience as he traversed the world of Shakespeare for examples.
During the afternoon I sat through what could have easily been a marketing pitch for Apple. I own an Apple MacBook and still felt both bemusement and despair of the missed opportunity to showcase a proper message. The Parklands Apple One2One project is an experiment in introducing laptops into the classroom. Teachers promoted iLife as the solution to all the learners problems. They forgot to mention that everything they trumpeted on iLife is available as Open Source software (and hence less expensive than buying a MacBook).
The Parklands teachers and IT specialists missed a key opportunity, one I hope others will correct over the next two days, that of user generated content. The team spoke about the learners enthusiasm at generating new content but this doesn't have to be done on a MacBook. I despair that the message was completely lost as the teachers attributed all success to the technology itself.