The Steelcase Learning Lab is the model for our beta classroom. The technology tools and infrastructure are the least of my concerns, however, as there are very capable people managing that project. What concerns me is how to use what's being provided.
I've not been an early adopter of any technology. Late to cell phones and computers, I do not use the full functionality of any technology; I use only what seems effective or efficient...or what I'm required (by someone else, of course) to use. Were I to be completely honest, I'd admit that the Learning Lab technology is more than a little intimidating. Using technology well is impressive; using it poorly (especially in the presence of Digital Natives) does not inspire confidence in either the user or the observer(s). I can learn the technology; in fact, I'll be provided the "opportunity" within the next two weeks. And it will remind me how it feels to be a novice. So why would I do this?
It's easy to teach students who love to read, who love to write, who love learning for the sake of learning...the ones we all want to be and the ones we all want to teach. But even when we find those near-perfect students, few of us have the luxury of esoteric discourse ranging from neural networks to computer networks, with a sidebar about The New York Times book review of Jonah Lehrer's Proust was a Neuroscientist (which I thoroughly enjoyed, by the way). I teach undergraduate business students at a state-funded university, students who are being recruited and hired for a wide range of abilities. I don't get to choose which ones I teach, I have very little time with them, and I need to reach them as quickly and as effectively as possible. Will the technology help? Teaching well matters enough for me to take the risk. And the willingness to learn--which is what we expect of our students-- does seem to require some willingness to risk.