keep your head IN the clouds.

Clouds.

No matter where you are on Earth you can find them in some capacity.

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Clouds open the mind to creativity and hold a world of opportunity.

You just never know what your going to see, find, or do when your are working with clouds.

Clouds are also very interesting in that they can take different forms. They can span what seems to be a continuous blanket covering multiple communities, connecting everyone under the same conditions. Or they are simply dotted across the sky in isolated pockets.

Sometimes…

they are nowhere to be found.

They are always changing.

They influence peoples actions.

They are essential.

They can literally cause waves of change.

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They need to be embraced and honoured for the power they hold.

Sugata Mitra, he understands the power of the clouds. He even argues that we should “Build a School in the Cloud.”

After watching Sugata Mitra’s TedTalk it is apparent that mobile devices do belong in our learning commons and in the hands of those in rural communities and developing nations. Though Sugata’s video demonstrated the use of hardwired computers, it is the access to the cloud of information and world wide connectivity that makes integrating mobile devices so important.

This rings true wherever you are.

Stop watching the clouds float by.

Pull them down and start putting them into hands.

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It is important to know that wherever you go, you will never see the exact same cloud formation. The use, style, and format will be very different. Though this does not level the playing field it is a step in the right direction.

Blogger and research Wayne Kelly, reiterates this point when he reviewed and highlighted Cyrus Farivar’s book the Internet of Elsewhere.

He states that “the development and more importantly the application of the Internet is shaped by its locale and context. Different Countries = Different Internet Profiles.”

Thus creating different uses and endless opportunity.

He further goes on to highlight that “Different Communities = Different Internet Reality. To develop effective connectivity and adaptation of the Internet in rural communities, it is necessary to understand the community and its users. Understanding community characteristics and working with community residents to determine how they might use the Internet helps to increase the effectiveness of Internet infrastructure, skills and applications. The example below is one that sits closer to home. Looking at rural communities.

The Gold Trail School District in B.C. has done just that.

Connected Classrooms in Gold Trail School District in British Columbia from Rural Teachers on Vimeo.

A successful use of mobile devices and technology. The need for relationship building and accessing living libraries from surrounding community members was needed and achieved. Those implementing the use took the time to understand the characteristics of the members involved. The power that was given to the young man at the end – fantastic!

Every cloud has the potential and ability to rumble.

According to Wayne Kelly, “digital planning in many rural communities (tends to) stop with achieving general connectivity, while communities should be developing specific digital plans that meets their infrastructure, skill and application goals.”

Furthermore, ITU Committed to Connecting the World states that, “telecommunication services are driven by technological and economic considerations. Setting up backhaul connectivity remains a high-cost exercise. Erratic power supply or a complete lack of energy sources is a major barrier…and…The requirement to maintain sufficient backup systems raises operational costs substantially.”

An article titled, Rural Public Libraries and Digital Inclusion: Issues and Challenges also speaks to the raincloud that follows the use of mobile devices. They also mention the difficulty in creating infrastructure to support broadband internet access in sparsely populated areas, as well as suggest problems surrounding slower connections speeds and less available digital training.

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Cost (infrastructure/ devices), power sources and profitability margins tend to be the hurricane cloud base that are standing in the way.  Sadly, the rural communities and the developing nations of the world have yet to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to rectify these challenges.

Therefore, they look for the silver lining instead.

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These include, government intervention initiatives and grants for libraries to be digitally inclusive (developed nations), and the creation of devices like the BRCK and the kiokit for developing nations. These developments came from understanding the members who would be using it and the need that needed to be addressed.

http://www.brck.com

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As our nations continue to trouble shoot these barriers, it becomes ever more apparent that the use of mobile devices within the education arena (whatever that arena look like) is a necessity.

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We need to stop listening to our grandma’s and mom’s and start “leave our heads IN the clouds.”

Man jump

Man jump through the gap. Element of design.

As long as we have the clouds and the ability connect we will be able to bridge the gap, and help all of our nations be active members of the knowledge-based economy.

Take the leap and stay in the clouds!

Cheers Ashlee

1 Wireless backhaul is the use of wireless communications systems to get data from an end user to a node in a major network such as the Internet or the proprietary network of a large business, academic institution or government agency.

Reference

Eng, K., & Walters, H. (2014, November 7). A rugged, mobile wifi device brings the web to schools in Africa and beyond, thanks to this TED fellow Retrieved from http://blog.ted.com/a-rugged-mobile-wifi-device-brings-the-web-to-schools-in-africa-and-beyond/

Kelly, W. (2011). “The Internet of Elsewhere” works for countries – how about communities? Retrieved from http://ruraldevelopmentresearch.blogspot.ca

Kelly, W. (2059, August 16). Ingredients for e-ready communities Retrieved from http://ruraldevelopmentresearch.blogspot.ca/2012/02/ingredients-for-e-ready-communities.html

Muñoz-Reyes P., M. C. (2014). Bridging the digital and knowledge gap in rural communities through mobile learning. wise ed.review. Retrieved 29 October 2016, from http://www.wise-qatar.org/mobile-learning-rural-communities

Real, B., Bertot, J. C., & Jaeger, P. T. (2014). Rural public libraries and digital inclusion: Issues and challenges. Information Technology and Libraries, 33(1), 6. doi:10.6017/ital.v33i1.5141

Rugged, portable WiFi Hotspot & battery Extender. (2016). Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.brck.com

TED (2013, February 27). Sugata Mitra: Build a school in the cloud Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3jYVe1RGaU

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4 thoughts on “keep your head IN the clouds.

  1. Fantastic post centrally connected with another amazing theme. I loved this and felt you captured the rationale and essence of the need to connect communities, people and classrooms. You’ve identified some exciting initiatives, examples and resources that can be implemented in developing countries, or remote locations and communities within our own province. Sometimes the clouds are not dark and foreboding, but instead light and full of rainbows!

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  2. You have included a lot of information in your post! I especially found the link to the BRCK and the KioKit interesting. I had not discovered this in my research and find the whole concept of mobile hotspots fascinating. I do wonder about the costs, beyond the purchasing of the hardware. Something to investigate for a little school in Guatemala that is near and dear to my heart.
    By the way, I love the fact that you have a new “header” related to the content of your post. Is this specific to WordPress?

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    • I tried to find the cost on the kiokit but was hesitant to go into the preorder section. As for the header I am not sure if it is specific to wordpress or not as I have not worked in another blog platform. There is a spot in wordpress that allows you to select a feature image. So I have been playing around with that. Thanks for noticing. Cheers Ashlee

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  3. Hi Ashlee, Thank you for introducing me to Sugata and his Ted talk. I’ve never heard it and it almost made me cry. He is making a difference for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Wow. I related to how he said he wants to create a “curriculum of big questions” where the teacher poses the question and then allows the students to self organize and to learn while offering them encouragement for effort and possible answers. I want to be that teacher.

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