A Brand New Day in Toronto

I’m sitting at the official Toronto launch of Windows Vista, the theme of which is “A Brand New Day”. If ever I saw someone totally miss the point of what technology means for education, it’s the guy speaking right now from the Toronto District School Board, Jey Jamarararmasomething. When asked what he thought was the best things about Window Vista, and what he thought were the most important new features of Vista, he said that it will help manage the students who bring USB keys between home and school, and it will engage them in learning better because they seem to like the “wow factor” of the new interface. Now there’s a couple of great educationally sound reasons for implementing new technology… not! Where was the conversation about enabling a more connected learning environment? Where was the talk about enabling deeper, better quality learning through the use of technology?

We then had a guy from Microsoft showing a demo of Vista, and we got “wowed” by Gadgets and Flip3D and System Wide Search… (Mac users can just think Widgets and Dashboard and Spotlight – we’ve had that stuff in OSX for years now).

Apart from the eye candy, I honestly can’t see any value in Vista that isn’t already offered in the current version of XP. There are a couple of new ideas there, such as the unified mailbox which allows you to have all your messages, email and voicemail in one place, but the demo of the Outlook voicemail system failed when the voice prompts could not be recognised and the system kept telling the presenter that it could not understand him and to repeat himself. In the end, he just gave up, which is a big call when you’re demoing it in front of a crowd of 3000+ people!

There was a lot of talk about security and inbuilt protection for spyware and malware and phishing, something that is desperately needed for Windows. As a Mac user, none of that stuff worries me too much, so again, not too much value-add there.

More posts to come on this….

CC BY-SA 4.0 A Brand New Day in Toronto by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.