[media-credit name=”stock.xchng” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Budget cuts. And more budget cuts. 21st century skills. And more 21st century skills. How do you successfully teach the latter while grappling with the former? I dunno. The unfortunate fact is that many of the new ISTE standards require some form of physical technology. It’s hard to collaborate globally when you don’t have a computer or other device. I’ve been coming to grips with own technological ‘fuddy-duddiness’, for lack of a better term. I love technology, and am fairly cutting edge when it comes to knowledge of current options. However, I’m finding it’s really a stretch to think beyond the known realm. I have futuristic inhibitions.
What would you say if someone asked you if a student could use an iPad, or even an iPod Touch, in lieu of a desktop? Is it possible? My initial reaction was “No way!”. Then, I started thinking. (That always gets us in trouble, doesn’t it?) What do elementary students need in order to create, collaborate, explore, and learn? You see, I think they would be fine with an alternate device, like an iPad. The problem lies with the inhibitions of adults. We rely on our keyboard. We don’t like a keyboard on glass. We want to have our little mouse in our hand. We have futuristic inhibitions… and here we thought we were being all tech-savvy!
I’m suspicious that here is yet another case of preparing students for our past, rather than their future. I really think that we will be moving away from a PC as a computing/collaboration platform of choice. Sure, there are some industries where they will still be needed, but for the everyday person? I could do 98% of what I need to do on an iPad, comfortably, if I would just wean myself away from what I think of as ‘normal’.
Case in point: right now, I’m typing this post on my MacBook, with my iPhone sitting right next to me. I discovered this week, that using the WordPress app is so incredibly easy when creating a blog post. I can snap pics and post them immediately. The app resizes said photos, and uploads them. It’s faster, easier, and looks better than using the web version of WordPress. And yet, here I sit. I’m comfortable with what I know. I think I’m going to have to force myself to change. (Just like I’m forcing myself to adapt to reading ebooks rather than physical books… and I’m forcing myself to learn to blog without feeling like every entry is an essay paper that must be edited, tweaked, and re-read.)
The cool thing with all this? Our students don’t have those inhibitions. They’re just as comfortable texting as typing…. maybe more so. And a glass keyboard? Not a big deal to them. Tapping on a screen instead of using a mouse? More intuitive in their eyes.