It is an amazing time to be an educator in 2013! There are so many choices and decisions that we make on a daily basis, as we strive to prepare our students for their future. How times have changed from the days when I was a high school student. I had never even seen a computer until I entered university.
We live in disruptive times due to the exponential changes technology has had on society in general. Think about the dramatic changes in our phone service and dropping long distance rates over the past ten years. We can Skype or Google Hangout with friends, family and colleagues from around the world, almost for free. Education seems to be the last bastion of change in comparison to the fundamental changes occurring in all other areas of society. Moore’s Law which helps explain the rapidly increasing power of computers in conjunction with dramatic price drops continues to this day. The power of the computer in our “smart phones” is thousands of time more powerful and cheaper than the computers that helped send man to the moon back in 1969.
My school is in Year 1 of a One to One BYOD program, starting with the school’s Grade 5 students. It is hard for me at times to fathom the fantastic rate of change we face as educators and learners with the tools at our disposal. As I think back to the tools I had as a student, and compare that to the tools my students have – it is truly mind boggling.
Although my school is embarking on a 1 to 1 program, the reality is that many students in my High School are 3 and 4 devices to 1 learner. Many are fortunate to have a smart phone, a tablet, and a laptop. Moore’s law coming into play again. Just think, you can buy a Raspberry Pi computer and accessories for under a $100.00. In the past two years as we have opened up access to Wi-Fi to our students, so now there are times in my class that a student is sitting at a school PC, and is surrounded with their other tools – selecting the best tool to accomplish a given task.
The image I created for this post is the current ICT technologies I have at my disposal. As you can see I try to be device agnostic, a Windows 7 PC, iOS iPad 2, Android 2.2 phone, and the latest tool I am learning how to use – a Google Chromebook that has just become available in Canada.
As an educator, it is a challenging time to learn how to best prepare our students to take advantage of these powerful tools and to mitigate the negative aspects of technology. As with anything this important, we as educators and lifelong learners must make the time to become comfortable with these society changing tools, so that we can guide our students.
For our students, having access to ICT tools is not really that big of a deal. They have always been surrounded by technologies that give them access to the Internet and each other. What they need, is the guidance to leverage the power of the tools, to be able to thrive in our technological powered society.
A special thank you to all the teachers I had in school. They instilled in me a love of learning and critical the thinking skills necessary to prepare me for my future. I hope that I have paid it forward.