Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Schools will be "Peace, Love, and Happiness 2.0"

Module 5 of our Teaching Tech Training
Reflection Question: Think back a few years to how you used to use your computer. Describe any changes you've noticed over that time. Finally, make some predictions about your computer use in 2013.

My first memory of a computer was in high school writing "loop" programs. It was frightening and I had no plans to pursue any career that depended on an overgrown calculator. The next memory was in college on these great artistic machines called "Macs". These computers opened up more creative doors for my photography and graphics. And as an Apple user through the 90s, I felt like I had the creative edge. 

Then in 2006, something shifted. I realized that web 2.0 was going to change the way we did almost everything. Our students were going to be living in a world where most information would be accessible. Take away the control of information and we are looking at a higher level of humanity. The free flow of information has spooked corporations and governments worldwide. Jobs have evolved or been eliminated. Poorer countries are leapfrogging developed countries. The way the system worked is not going to work in a world of mass sharing.

For educators - we are living through this "transition", and it is either painful or "no big deal" depending on which side of the digital divide you are on. By 2013, most new teachers and (some) administrators will not even notice technology. It will just be part of the landscape. Within 10 years, we will see both a leap in "personalized learning" and "hands on" learning. The more technology we get, the more we will crave and appreciate "real" experiences that make us feel connected to a community. Schools will hopefully see their role as a place to foster "real" - to get out of our heads and back into our humanity.

I do not foresee schools with kids stuck in front of screens immersed in second worlds. I see a future of school where screens become part of the walls and outdoors - to be used in the physical space to solve a social need. Connecting to nature, cross-generational, international teamwork, and focusing on good citizenship will be on the agenda. All the great educational ideas of the 60s and 70s that never made it mainstream because they weren't "profitable" will make a come-back in our technologically rich, but environmentally poor world. "Profitable" will be substituted with "sustainable". Bring on the peace, love, and happiness!

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