Technology & Connecting to The Environment

Today I am at the 2012 NESA (#NESA) Leadership Conference in Dubai. I was looking over the sessions, as you may remember from my previous email, and have revised my original plan. I am doing 4 hours of “School Security and Threat Assessment”. 

I am involved in planning and implementing technology, and that connects me to every person and department regardless of their use or perceived use of technology.

The other reason I decided to commit to this session is that models and plans that work in some areas also will work in my area. The perspective is very different, which helps to generate fresh ideas.

I find that often when I speak with people about IT and resources, they only consider things like laptops and software. I try to encourage them to look for new solutions instead of “technology”. I remind people that everything can be technology- such as the cotton-gin or the steam engine.

I am a firm believer that connecting to the environment around learning, the physical environment, is one of the most effective ways to impact learning in a positive way. Ergonomics, natural lighting, etc are very important. Sometimes just changing furniture and access to power is more important than buying tech-gear.

In addition to the physical space, the feeling in the space is important. People do need to feel safe, be able to express themselves…but aware that there are limits and crossing the limits that invade or damage someone’s personal space should be addressed swiftly.

Looking at the material ahead of me today I am sure I am going to have some dark thoughts when it is over. What is occurring to me now is to encourage people looking to improve their schools to start with physical environment. Consider technology when it makes sense as a tool or a means to provide more opportunities.

And remember throwing money and technology at a problem will not solve it. Just as adding a new floor to a building with a bad foundation will not make the building any better.

Tony DePrato


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