Let’s drop the phrase “one-to-one” and refer instead to “one-to-world.”Alan November

Personalized digital space design is the orchestrated use of digital devices, web apps and services that help accomplish student-centered tasks in face-to-face and online learning environments. 

As mobile devices and web applications have taken the world by storm, cloud computing has created a centralized personalization and socialization of information. This personalization and socialization disrupts traditional K-12 practices with the teacher leading all the action at the front of the classroom. 

From a historical perspective, personal computers in most K-12 schools from the 1980's - early 2000’s were decentralized in the sense that they all stood alone with their local hard drive in one room. Computers in schools therefore needed to be clustered together in the same room, all having the same software, to be used in a teacher-centered environment. Much like the teaching and learning of those times, the computers where part of a learning environment that was contained within that space.

It wasn’t until cloud computing services came along in the early 21st century to centralize storage, applications and consumer services all together, over the Internet. This centralization through the metaphor of clouds as connected Internet servers allows people to personalize their own content USING any device they like- phones, laptops, tablets desktop computers, and TV's. By 2006, computer hardware was no longer a means unto itself, but now, a means to getting to the web apps and services in the clouds.

Within the last decade, mobile devices working within a centralized network have in effect infiltrated the traditional school curriculum by sheer cultural osmosis. For teachers and students, cloud computing has created new options to organize their own consumer IT for content creation. Teachers and students can now design much of their own digital space in the cloud rather than just use what a school district provides or tells them what they can use for devices, applications, and services.

Currently, we live in a time where even a larger picture of personalized technology is emerging. This personalization is evolving into a plethora of devices and things that are now distributed around one’s home, school, work, and community at large while simultaneously being connected with the centralized cloud. These devices are now commonly referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) with artificial intelligence (AI) of interconnected devices learning and interpreting data in a location or environment.

With technological innovations that both centralize content and simultaneously decentralize functions and appliances like in smart homes, or sensors in self-driving cars, students will continually have more control using technology that will deeply personalize that use as their own 'digital space' wherever they are. 

In this book, we will now focus less on what specific digital devices students are using, but more on their access to cloud apps and services as essential tools for learning in an evolving digital world.

Digital Devices

From 2009-2018, I devoted a whole chapter to this topic. I have since removed Chapter 7 from the book as I now largely feel that it really doesn't matter what device a child or young person uses to consume or create content. Our time in the 21st century has proven that children simply adapt to the devices they have access to.

I'll just include my summative thoughts from that chapter below and move to the more important heart of the matter for students and teachers using web apps and services to create content in their daily lives.

Summative Thoughts from old Chapter 7 

With digital devices, it commonly breaks down two ways now- from the bigger to the smaller, or the smaller to the bigger. We have two current general types of sensory input. One, what we see in the size of the digital screen. And two, what we touch to control what we see and hear on the device. Very simplistic but rather complicated when determining, for example, the merits of tablets versus laptops and laptops versus desktop computers for different tasks and age groups of students. Or the near future questions- the appropriate sizes of mobile phones for the age of students and moving to three-dimensional displays and controls.

I simply recommend to first focus on an age-appropriate learning activity to determine what device could best serve through its design to help complete a task. If anything, in the past fifteen years we have learned that one size doesn't fit all and school districts are going to need to be very flexible in managing the variety of devices in their schools and on their networks. I'll finish here with the first draft paragraph in 2009 I wrote below that motivated me to write this [former] chapter. It is based on my direct experience working in a large urban school district technology deployment.

Many educators have experienced the tremendous waste of using an institutional digital device deployed across a school district. They watch as many of these devices collect dust or lay in disrepair in classrooms because the selected device's form and function did not sync with current classroom instructional practices. My hope is that decision-makers in K-12 education will learn from their or other district's mistakes, and be reminded to "plan for learning" as the beacon in their technology evaluations and purchasing processes. 

Mobile Devices and the March of Technology

To create some perspective of why I eliminated Chapter 7, it's comes down to personal preference. That will be the measure as we enter the 2020's- will students be given the learner-centered choice to choose their device or devices?

Here (to the right) I will try to showcase the moving target of devices as technology hardware will always change every few years.

What to see in young people's hands in school soon - Foldable Phones
Web Apps and Services: TLC - The Learner's Cloud

Around 2006, I started collecting and curating web apps and services that students and teachers could use. The result to this day is
TLC - The Learner's CloudTLC is a collection of content creation web apps, digital media tools, and K-12 educational links. These hand-made directories are organized to assist students, parents and teachers personalize their own digital space experience.

I finish this book by providing TLC - The Learner's Cloud as a resource for anyone needing a good one-stop for web apps and services found mostly for free in the clouds. 
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