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Big change. Looks little.

posted Dec 12, 2008, 3:50 AM by Eddie Woo   [ updated Dec 25, 2008, 8:58 PM ]
Over on the apocalipticDESIGN page, there's a tiny visual adjustment that actually represents a very big reality. If you look closely you'll spot it. I've added a tagline to the header, which says: "unveiling a world of possibilities".

I've received a whole lot of questions about the name that I'd chosen for our class (as a professional team of information system developers). I wanted something with the letters "ipt" in it (for obvious reasons), and realised that in English we generally use the letters "ypt" in our words (like Egypt, or cryptography). So I was open to mangling a word a little bit so that it would have our subject name hidden within it.

But I didn't want to have a completely random name. Names are meant to convey meaning (they end up doing that regardless of whether it was intended - names like Osama bin Laden, Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt and Nelson Mandela are now filled with meaning, whether we like it or not). So I wanted to choose a word that say something about the purpose and function of our group.

I chose the word apocalyptic because, as has been stated, means revelatory, unveiling, or illuminating. The idea behind the word is that something is hidden - an apocalypse refers to when it is revealed, disclosed, made public, or brought into the light and made visible. (Incidentally, that's why it has come to refer to the 'end of the world' - but that's a story for a different news post.)

My goal for this group - which hopefully it will achieve by means of this major project - is for it to unveil things to our school and to the world. Unveil what? I'm glad you asked! I hope our group unveils:
  • What is possible when students are given the opportunity to direct themselves in creating a real information system for real people with real needs, rather than just a contrived product with no actual use.
  • What is possible when genuine power and choice are placed in the hands of those who represent the main users of so-called "technology for learning", which is so often anything but when it is controlled by unskilled, unmotivated, non-engaging teachers.
  • What is possible when a school intranet is actually filled with content that is useful for (and desired by) students, and enables them to regulate their own learning according to the pace and volume of work that suits them.
  • What is possible when our intranet becomes an avenue not just for information, but for participation - where students are encouraged to collaborate with each other and learn together in a medium that transcends space and time.
  • And a whole lot more that I haven't thought of yet!
I hope that gives you a sense for what I'm trying to do here. You might think these are pretty high goals - but frankly I think the main limiting factor on most students (at least in our school) is that you aren't given nearly enough meat to chew on. So have at it and see what you can unveil to the watching world - I know I'm certainly looking forward to see what you're capable of!