Monday, November 03, 2008

Election time!

I am probably not the only person on the planet to address the American elections today ;-). Looking at the results of different polls and surveys in the Netherlands there seems to be an overwhelming support for Barrack Obama to win today's elections. I've never witnessed such a devistating gap between two candidates before, but let's not claim the victory before this day is over. Last Sunday, Felippe Massa also thought he was going to be the World Champion Formula 1, until Lewis Hamilton caught up with Timo Glock in the very last lap and became the youngest F1 world champion ever....
Today, the interesting issue for me is what will be the benefit for education when (or should I say 'if') Obama wins the elections. On his site there is an overview on all educational issues he stands for. Also take a look at his technology issues. No need to repeat that here, but I would like to point out some of his issues. In my opinion he is setting clear goals that (higher) education should be achievable and affordable for everyone. He believes in the openness of the internet and a connected, communications infrastructure. Moreover, we need to prepare our children for a 21st century economy. Well you might ask whether the term 'prepare' is right. It's more like coaching I think, because the teens of this time - in general - are 'technology enabled'. We have more trouble in catching up with them, instead of the other way around. However, what we could contribute to, as a parent, is on critical reflection: ask yourself what information you have found, what's the source and value of this information, are there any risks involved? We can also create a belief that they have to process the information they find: just copy&paste any content and then submitting it as 'your work' won't create a large learning effect.
Anyway, I think Obama stands for creating a right, modern context in which the so-called NetGeneration will be enabled to develop themselves in the best possible way and be interconnected with eachother. A democratic vision in which every member can contribute (isn't that the underlying principle of Wiki's?) and has a freedom of choice, meets the demands of the current networked user.

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