Where’s the foresight??

I love spring in Christchurch – over the weekend I walked through the botanical gardens with my wife and enjoyed the acres of yellow daffodils growing among the mature trees. We began discussing what a wonderful vision it was that the founding fathers of the city had to plan for such a large area of public park area and gardens right in the middle of the city – so that here, 150 years later, we are able to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and general atmosphere of this place. As walked we came across this sign:

It explains how all of these daffodils got here, and is an inspiring story of collaboration and foresight (note the use of this word in the final sentence).

Today I visited a local secondary school that is in the midst of a significant “makeover”, with almost every part of the school being re-built! I was asked to share with them some of my thoughts about the role of technology in the future of education, and its links to the curriculum etc. Discussions inevitably led to sharing ideas about ubiquity, and the need to ensure that school buildings have the appropriate network infrastructure (cabled and wireless) to support students gaining online access anywhere, at any time and with any device.

At the end of my presentation I was told that this school will find it difficult to provide such access for its students, for, despite the fact that it is having so much work done on it, there is apparently no provision for a robust fibre backbone and classroom cabling in the plan. Why? Because, as a ‘re-build’ (as opposed to a new build), the codes and specifications don’t allow for it. Where is the foresight in that???

3 thoughts on “Where’s the foresight??

  1. It seems that this is just one area of lack of foresight. The irony is that those in 1938 had an excuse. There was less of information available to them. The rate of change did not provide the same pointers it does now to careful consideration and planning. It strikes me to that if there was no plan for classroom cabling and fibre there was likely no plan for learning? The spaces that make up classrooms in my mind should also going through change: be more open, less desk based cater for community display, group display, movement etc. Albert Einstein “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” This resource is worth a look http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/learning-space-design/dsel

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  2. Kia ora Derek!

    Now you wouldn’t want an education authority to re-build a school above code would you? Not!

    ‘Twas ever thus. I guess bureaucracy has to live up to its historical reputation. I love Dave Winter’s Einsteinian quote.

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

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  3. It’s really disappointing to read about this. At our cluster meeting last week, we were all discussing the need for infrastructure and hardware to support the teaching methods we are promoting in line with the ideals of the New Curriculum and the 21st century learner. How can the MoE be so blind. On the one hand they are saying “All children must achieve”, and put out documents like “Enabling the 21st Century Learner”, and then revert to 1950’s style bureaucracy when they have the opportunity to really make a difference without having to build a whole new school. Surely something could be done – speak to the local MP, hell why not phone Chris Carter himself.

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