Friday, April 20, 2007

Corraling School Crises

I am an ardent advocate of adding technology to our schools and I spend countless hours on a soapbox saying so at every opportunity.

I happen to love the stuff that Google has done with email, the embedded Writely program, shared calendars and spreadsheets and the branding they make available. Of course, getting our school up to speed is one of the most frustrating exercises in Ludditism you can imagine.

Nonetheless, months ago I tried to partner EO Smith up with Google repeatedly to no avail.

During that period I sent Google a number of, what I believed were patentable, ideas that I hoped would whet their appetite. I never heard a word back.

Given the Virginia Tech tragedy let me explain something I proposed then that still needs formalization. When I look at Malls and bars and see the inexpensive deployment of flat video screens I imagined that schools could be outfitted with a similar deployment that conformed to potential lock-down perimeters.

During normal school days these could become video presentation centers akin to digital bulletin boards allowing teachers to experiment with flash class group learning techniques. However, during a crisis they could become interactive status monitors dispensing critical information to individuals trapped within perimeters.

The devices need to be smart enough to offer two-way commandeering with a centralized entitlement policy service that could grant exclusive use to certain agents. In a classroom, the teacher. In an emergency the teacher, students, and authorities in wireless fashion and assuming discretionary target destinations.

On a campus of 100 buildings, those not under siege in situations like Virginia Tech's would be able to establish safety corridors that applied police to the correct locations and identified safe haven to those who were unsure.

If Google isn't interested maybe someone else is. It's still a good idea.

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