Monday, March 26, 2007

Bluetooth, podcasts, wikis, DVR’s, Web 2.0

Last week, the two year contract with our cell phone provider was up – and one of my sons was very interested in getting to the store the day that we were able to “upgrade” the phone. Unfortunately, we found out when we got there that only the main line (my wife’s!) was eligible for a free phone. My phone and the phones of my two oldest sons were only eligible for a discount. Therefore, they didn’t get the Razor, Chocolate, or Envy phone – but they did get a nice enough upgrade.

I, on the other hand, did pick out the slim Razor phone. And, I treated myself to a Bluetooth headset connection – I was getting a bit embarrassed by the cord that connected my old earpiece to my old phone! Imagine.

I know this Razor phone and the Bluetooth earpiece are not new items, yet I find them amazing – to make a call you simply need to press the button on the side of the earpiece and indicate “Call Home.” Next, the phone, which never comes out of the clip on my belt, dials my home number. I remember when similar voice recognition software required that you first had to record your voice so that the system would be able to “match” the sound. Now, the phone simply recognizes the correct number from the spelling of the entry!

Smaller, better, easier. But it is hard to keep up with all the technological changes. These same technological challenges exist in the classroom. As educators, we need to continually ask what and how we should be teaching our students.

It is said that we must prepare students for a future that we cannot even imagine. We are therefore left with the important goal to teach students to be creative thinkers and problem solvers. Ultimately, it will be these strengths that allow them to be the ones who fashion the technological (and other) advances of the future.

Bluetooth, podcasts, wikis, DVR’s, Web 2.0. These are part of the technology syntax of today. Each forces us to change our thinking, alter our approach to instruction, bend our understanding of technology and learning.

New technology can be exciting and overwhelming. With the new phone, it tips toward the exciting -- almost like something out of Star Trek. In many ways, these technological advances have added similar excitement to learning.

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