Leonardo's Laptop Published 2006-06-26

I was reading a summary by Mike Muir of a session from AALF 4i Annual Conference titled Leonardo's Laptop: Educational Tools for Collaboration and Creativity (by Ben Shneiderman). The session description included the following which I found to be very interesting:

The old computing is about what computers can do; the new computing is about what people can do ... and therefore the new education is about collaboration and creativity ... The goal is to have students working in teams to create something of value to someone outside the classroom, and something that endures beyond the semester.

Dr. Shneiderman is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland. So I suspect that this statement is mostly directed to the study of computer science. Or is it?

The first part of the session description speaks to me as a educational technologist. I am constantly trying to explain that the technology is not the important factor, it is the innovative methods employed by teachers (perhaps using technology) that is exciting. Blogging is the hot educational topic, but it is how blogging is incorporated into the curriculum - how teachers and students use blogs - that will make the difference.

Furthermore, the last sentence identifies key learning objectives that I and many others have been promoting:

  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Authentic Assessment

These objectives are integral to innovation. Innovation is about taking inputs from a wide range of people and disciplines, looking at these inputs critically and coming up with a creative idea. For true innovation, this idea must then be nurtured and developed into something others can share.

Finally, the idea of extending students' work beyond the classroom and that "endures beyond the semester" is critical to promoting both pride and enthusiasm for learning.