Bruce Dixon has spent a long time fighting for universal access to technology in education. As founder and president of the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation, director of IdeasLAB, and a leader in the Shape the Future movement, providing technology access to all students has been Dixon’s life’s work. So he understands the challenges inherent in addressing this issue and he’s even seen some success in his native Australia. But where education is concerned, he thinks we lack ambition.
“Our goals for the use of technology have been built around a very compromised idea of access,” says Dixon. “That compromising has compromised the opportunities for young people, and it has also compromised our ability to think about what technology makes possible.”
While significant progress has been made on universal access, Dixon understands that providing hardware and connectivity is only half the battle. How the technology is used – in teaching and in learning – is just as important.
“When young people have ubiquitous access to technology, the ways in which they can learn are very different from the past,” notes Dixon. “Too many policymakers look only at hardware, and that’s trivializing what technology makes possible. What matters is what we do with it.”
Where does ambition come in? Dixon believes that we need to think beyond the obvious and the comfortable. “Digitizing textbooks is anathema to what a computer can do,” says Dixon. “Technology is about inspiring and creating, finding new ways to learn.”
Do you agree that, when it comes to universal access to technology for students, we need to think bigger?
About Bruce Dixon
Founder and President, Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation
Fellow, Education Impact
Bruce Dixon’s background is as an educator, educational software developer, business and social entrepreneur, and strategic consultant. With those experiences, he has developed a unique niche in building effective strategies for educational leaders and policy makers around the effective use of emerging technologies.
Birthplace/date: Australia a long time ago
Current residence: seat 40C on a Virgin plane
Education: could have been better; been working on it ever since I finished College.
Person who inspires me most: Seymour Papert
Favorite childhood memory: the Murray River
Next travel destination (work or pleasure): probably Turkey
Favorite book: “Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas” by Seymour Papert
How would you define yourself: Strategic Education Activist