This morning I will be working for the ThinkQuest International Partner, the College of Continuing Education, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, delivering a keynote for the ThinkQuest awards event. If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know what an honor this is for me. The box to the right is an RSS listing of 2¢ Worth blog posts that mention ThinkQuest. I suspect that no other single experience has impacted so much on my philosopies about education today.
When preparing for my AV-free presentation (scary), I was reminded of a Nicolas Negroponte quote that I often used in my ThinkQuest presentations in the middle nineties. I had it printed on a small piece of paper, and stacks of them planted with people throughout the audience. They were instructed to hand out the sheets when they heard me say “Negroponte.” The quote, from a 1994 WIRED column, said:
…the average age of an Internet user today is 26… I expect that number to drop to 15 by the year 2000. ((Negroponte, Nicolas. “Learning by Doing: Don’t Dissect the Frog, Build it.” WIRED Magazine 2.07Jul 1994 12 Sep 2008 <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.07/negroponte.html>. ))
I would ask the audience to fold the piece of paper, slip it into their pocket book or walet, so that they would run across it at some point after the presentation. Then I asked that they take a minute, upon running across the paper, and reflect on the implications to teaching and learning.
It seemed outrageous at that time, it’s ligitimacy coming only from the reputation of the MIT Media Lab’s director and chief evangelist. I don’t know what the numbers ended out being by 2000, but the impact of that quote and teachers’ reflection on the prediction have certainly born out.
Anyway, wish me luck on the speech. I think I also have to stay behind the lecturn. Yikes!