Monday, January 10, 2011

Thanks to Technology

This is my lighthouse. Well, not really, but it is called Whiteford Point Lighthouse and it's just off the coast in South Wales, not far from where I grew up in south-west England. I probably never would have known about it but for technology. I can even read all about it at Wikipedia and find out that it is quite a famous early cast iron lighthouse.

The increasing role of technology in Education is quite remarkable. Children now have email accounts in some kindergarten classes and there are some schools where all students should be able to construct a PowerPoint presentation and use it in front of their peers by the time they finish fourth grade.. There are National Standards for Instructional Technology as well as State Standards and local School District Standards

The SMARTboard has made the whiteboard obsolete which, in turn, made the blackboard obsolete. I sometimes sneak into one of the few classrooms left at St. Mikes that has a blackboard and just write a few things in chalk to remember what it used to feel like. The blackboard (which was actually green) in the classroom I which I taught fourth grade in England was painted directly on the wall so that every time I used a blackboard compass to draw a circle a large piece of wall plaster would fall out. The entire board was dotted with painted over potholes that would rip the chalk from one's fingers.

Students now have their individual computers in many classrooms in many elementary schools and of course, they nearly all have cell phones by the time they make it to fifth grade. Students can shop online, download their favorite songs, listen to music wherever they are, create endless forms, cards and other printed matter on a home PC, and visit anywhere in the world that has been captured by GoogleEarth (which has to be one of the best teaching aids ever devised) ; not to mention kindle, moodle and twitter.

And this is all now when they are 10 or 11 years old. What will it be like by the time they are in their twenties? One of the things we need to focus on even more now in our education system is helping individuals understand and cope with the dynamics of change. The abilities to think, reflect, adapt, respond and create seem to be so important. Perhaps it's time to revisit Edward deBono's lateral thinking ideas.
Hmmmmm, I wonder what else there is in the name of Whiteford; Whiteford Fire Department, Whiteford Baseball, Whiteford Township, looks like Whiteford Road in Sylvania is still closed,

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