This week, in my super-rockin-awesome teaching class, we had our first in person meeting. “What?” you exclaim as you have at this point undoubtly done a spit take that has covered your computer monitor in your fancy coffee (no refunds). “This guy is studying to be a teacher, and the classes haven’t even met!” No, we have met for 12 weeks now, through the magic of the internet! The professor was doing some good work in Haiti, but was able to conduct an interesting class over the internet.
I use this as a nice segue into the idea of technology in classrooms. This has been coming up in the media a little bit lately, and I thought , “If only I had a forum to discuss this, I would… and online web log would be interesting. I know! I’ll call it a blog!” Then I realized I had one, and here I am.
To get a good idea of technology in the classroom, think way back to the 90’s when we were all wearing flannel and collecting those priceless beanie babies that will never go down in price while taking care of our state of the art virtual pets, and other 90’s things. Remember Napster? Remember how the RIAA just embraced the idea that people could consume music now in a digital format and force me to buy “Glass Houses” for a third time? Or do you remember how the RIAA responded by suing 7 year olds and fighting tooth and nail to keep CD’s alive? Because I remember the second part being true. (Oh, and this is all about the technology aspect of it. If you want to debate the stealing music aspect of it, then you should probably go to a music blog.)
My point with this is we have a solid example of what happens when we try to fight technology. We are living in a technologically advanced time. Sure, we don’t have flying cars or silver jumpsuits just yet. I’m sad about the jumpsuit, but no so much for the car because I’ve seen how people drive. But none of that changes the fact that I just had an entire semester of a class taught online, with real time meetings every week. Was it perfect? No. But the first car didn’t have a roof, so let’s give technology time to advance and be played with a little bit.
I understand there are many different things to consider with technology, including the cost and availability. These are more hurdles that have to be crossed, particularly in a day and age when the solution for a school that is failing is to pull all funding and hope it closes. But we have to embrace technology. Students are generally the early adopters. Ask any early 90’s comedian that made the joke about having their kid as tech support. (We get it. Computers were scary back then. You’re still not funny!)
But there has to be an embrace of technology in the classroom. There are limitless possibilities in using technology in the classroom. Speakers from overseas. Books available at the swipe of a finger. The meaning of a difficult word right in the text. Virtual tours of places described in books. Videos of cats playing the piano. Performances from the Globe Theatre, beamed right into your classroom! (See what I did there? Shakespeare reference. Score!)
If we don't teach our students to keep their robots three laws safe, THEN we have to worry about a robot uprising.