Guest Post: Orwell Kowalyshyn, ICT Helping Teacher with the Surrey School District.
After reading this (the previous post), it reminded me of an interesting comment I read recently from teacher and blogger Fraser Speirs who stated in a tweet that students today will, for the rest of their lives, be carrying a computer in their pocket. I would add to that, a networked, instant-on computer, available 24/7.
The lifetime implications of this, if you care to think about it, are enormous. The convergence of a number of key technologies has created this “perfect storm” — a mobile internet tsunami, to quote a popular financial TV host. What has been often talked about and theorized for the last fifteen or so years, since I was an undergraduate, is now firmly reality.
Two to three times a week, I commute by public transit. For 35 minutes each way, I am amazed at the number of people – young, old and really old – who are reading, listening, and writing on these 150g computers. I can tell you from months of observation, its not a small number. And the numbers would seem to indicate the technology is obviously meeting a particular need. Many, I’m sure don’t use it to the extent they could, but then nobody has probably taught them how.
Personally, many of those 70 minutes are my PD time. I engage with and contribute information, however insignificant, to what a colleague has referred to as the “known universe”. For me, it’s a very intriguing and intellectually fascinating part of my week. The point is, the genie is out of the bottle and it will never go back in. Its also not about the technology. It’s really invisible, fading for the most part into the background.
It’s about taking the opportunity to work with students or any learner on making meaning, extending thought, and connecting the dots from information that is just a tap away.
As educators, we need to engage and figure out how to ask better and harder questions given this new reality. We have students now who will be living this way for the next 60 or 70 years. In 2081, some of our students will be in their 7th or 8th decade of living in a socially networked and fully connected world.
You really have to stop and think about that. Giving them a bit of a head start today just might be a good idea.