I was sitting beside my partner in the computer lab. The teacher asked if we had chosen our floppy disk for this class. It was those 5 ¼ inch ones, not the smaller version that my teacher called a “diskette”. There was a box of these floppy disks, and each one of them held a new and exciting educational game. The computer screen was small, but the monitor itself was big and bulky. I was in fourth grade, and this was my favorite class.
Three years later, I was back in the computer lab. It had changed. The room was larger. The monitors were smaller. The computer screens had doubled in size. The teacher asked us to find the “Tap Touche” icon on our screen. We were learning to type. A large piece of laminated paper was place above my hands so that I didn’t cheat. I loved this class.
The room was larger. The monitors were smaller.
Today, the computer lab is home to a daycare. There are only three desktop computers in the entire school: in the principal’s office, in the library and at the reception desk. Everyone in the school uses laptops. So much has changed in what seems like so little time. I am 32.
A few years ago, the library in my school needed a major cleanup. My colleagues and I sat around a large table on which were piles of old, outmoded books. Someone asked what we were going to do with all the encyclopedias. The older teachers immediately counted off all the reasons why we needed to keep the encyclopedias on the shelves, so that the students could have access to “all this information”. BUT WE DON’T NEED THEM ANYMORE. What about the dictionaries, thesauruses, atlases, and other reference books? What about the Bible? I have all of that in my pocket.
My daughter is 9 years old, the same age I was when I was playing simple games on a floppy disk in a computer lab. Yesterday, she asked me if she could send an email to some of her friends. I was a lot older than she is when I sent my first email.
Technology is evolving so rapidly. And we have no choice but to evolve with it. Today, my school does not offer typing classes, but my students can type. I learn more about technology from my high school students than they learn from me. “Hey madame, I’ll just airdrop this very large folder of photos and videos to your laptop, so you could use them for the end-of-the-year celebration.” Airdrop…?
By the fifth century, there had been some considerable advancement in the way information was transmitted. The King of Egypt had some major reservations about written versions of information replacing oral transmission, saying it will “implant forgetfulness in their souls.” (Bates, 2015) His hesitations are justifiable, in my opinion. Change is sometimes hard to accept. Neil Postman’s first idea in “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change” is that “for every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage”. (1998, p.1) What are the disadvantages of technology changing so quickly? How can we keep up?
It is becoming more and more important for our younger generations to “keep up with” technology. As educators, we need to embrace and be willing to use the new and improved educational technologies in our classrooms, much like my fourth grade teacher who made time for games on floppy disks.
Bates, A. (2015, April 05). Teaching in a Digital Age. Retrieved September 23, 2018, from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/chapter/section-8-1-a-short-history-of-educational-technology/
Postman, N. (1998). Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change. 1-5. Retrieved September 23, 2018.