We spent a good part of the day at a NECC (now just ISTE according to the opening remarks) presession sponsored by the Constructivist Consortium. We received some great software at no cost and had an opportunity to explore what the new products had to offer. Mostly, though, it was a opportunity for like-minded folks to catch up and talk shop.
I spent most of my time exploring Transform from LCSI (remember Logowriter from the old days), but also at least opened Animation-ish from FableVision. What these tools have in common is a very open design allowing students to create a range of projects. PBL and creativity are key concepts for these folks.
I spent several hours exploring Transform – mostly simple things and seeing what I could remember about LOGO. My sun moves slowly across the sky and the cow appears.
I wonder about the future of desktop-based educational software. Everything I saw today was pretty cool and clearly more sophisticated and capable than what we used 10-15 years ago. Perhaps programming as problem solving or programming as as computer literacy will make a come back. With clould apps, netbooks, and tight budgets, will cool software generation the necessary traction to attract of critical mass of schools/teachers? I don’t have a position on this one. I am inclined to suggest that there are open source and cloud alternatives (Squeak, Scratch) that will attract those willing to explore in this space.