Steiff Bear

“(Our) reason for starting ode (was) to make a difference, to create something awesome, to celebrate what technology can do in the modern classroom for the modern student and, of course, for the modern teacher.”

I spoke to a very happy Mr B the other day and hence I’m not surprised by the heartfelt entry that he posted last week (even though he’s supposed to be on paternity leave). Not being a daddy myself, I guess I don’t really have quite the same perspective on why we’re doing ode but I definitely agree with the quote above from his previous post.

Why the teddy bear picture? Well, I was recently in Munich where I purchased a little Steiff (creators of some of the first teddy bears) teddy for the newly arrived Little Miss B. It occurred to be that when she gets it, this bear will be not just a new little friend to chew on…it will be one of the first teaching aids in her young life.

The swing tag on the teddy says:

“Babies discover the world every day anew and the Steiff baby articles help them to do this….By touching, feeling, probing everything in reach…babies are also learning to “grasp” the world…The toys are made of easily cleaned, robust materials…allowing each growing child to make some of its early discoveries in safety.”

That got me to thinking…Knowing her dad and also the age we’re living in, she’ll have her first Internet connected device before too long. I’ll be interested to see in the years (or weeks!) to come how soon technology starts to influence Izzy’s education.

At the moment, the humble teddy bear provides the type of development that a digital resource cannot provide. Will educational technology ever provide a replacement for the teddy bear? My natural reaction was, “No way” but then I recalled the “Shift Happens” video that was going around a while back and that you can see below…

Here’s the link to the US version

Figures such as, an estimated 40 exabytes (4.0 x 1019) worth of information was produced in 2006, which is more than in the preceding 5000 years combined and that we currently have the technology to transmit “10 trillion bits per second”…That’s 10,000,000,000,000 bites per second or 1,164 gigabytes per second, down a single optical fibre strand, taken at face value are amazing.

Meanwhile back in 2007, whenever I come across anyone who doesn’t “get” ode…and that is less and less frequent these days…I tend not to worry too much. Safe in the knowledge that what we’re doing now is only the tip of the iceberg as far as educational technology is concerned. While we’re not quite up to 10 trillion bits per second bandwidth for each user, it is getting better all the time. Wireless and handheld technologies are becoming more widespread and educationally relevant too.

Hopefully, in a flattened world ode will develop alongside the convergence of fast data transmission, cheap storage and other effects of the commoditisation of IT. Further to the premise of the Shift Happens presentation, the service that we launch in 2008 will be barely recognisable in 2013. Maybe, when Izzy has children of her own, maybe they will have their own digital, teddy replacements…perhaps some type of electronic environment that stimulates their developing senses that she downloads from ode??? Or maybe they’ll use their mother’s handed down Steiff teddy!?

Hey, that’s the end of my first odeworld blog post in quite some time! Did I make sense?