Sunday, April 10, 2011

Software when you need it most

I spent some time last week with a leader from one of the many schools devastated by the earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand, and he raised a really good point about access to learning tools. He pointed out that not only are many Christchurch (or Japan's) schools' servers, laptops and desktops locked away in buildings that are too dangerous to enter, so too are all their software licences. One of the many tragedies of the earthquake is that if a school has 5 licences for a piece of software, and that software is for lost or permananetly inaccessible to staff and students, the school has very few choices but to pay for more licences or not use the software. I'm sure some insurance companies or software vendors would be able to provide replacement licences in cases of demonstrable hardship, but timeliness is the key. Staff and students have been without digital learning tools since the quake on 22nd February, and can't afford to wait for paperwork to be completed. Using software that is free to install on any computer a student has access to gets around this problem and helps us take one further step towards any-where, any-time, any-device learning. Not only can students use digital tools outside of school hours in places physically distant from the school, they can also continue learning in times of crisis.

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