Spread the love

Rereading the 2nd blog post which I wrote as an educational community blogger in 2007  I was both prescient and naive about the impact of technology on education and on me.

A pile of books surrounds me — Will Richardson’s great Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms; Julie Mendoni’s Blogging in a Snap; Robin Williams and John Tollet’s  Podcasting and Blogging with GarageBand and Iweb;  Michael Miller’s YouTube4You and his Googlepedia: The Ultimate Google Resource. Though I read quickly and regularly, I know that even as I read these books, some of the information is already outdated. George Orwell’s 1984, on the other hand, is timeless.

I downloaded some neat software tonight for both my Mac and my PC. I learned about the programs by reading JSOnline, from several listservs I subscribed to, and from 2 magazines that arrive at the house monthly.  Now I need to carve out the time to master the programs, use them fully, and keep them up-to-date—the dream of Curious David.

How can I best stay abreast of the latest technologies? Should I even try? How do YOU keep up with changes in technology? To what degree is it important to invest in technology or technological education in schools? What are the best practices in technology education? What should every student know how to do with technology? How can I avoid chasing after fads? What empirical evidence is there that professed educational innovations truly enhance learning?

Will this self-professed bibliophile (heaven forbid) lose his love affair with printed books and become enamored with the ebook? Should I be alarmed or amused that when a very bright student today sought my advice in finding  someone’s address (after failing to find it online),  I had to introduce him to the use of the white pages of a telephone book?

Thomas L. Friedman’s national bestseller The World is Flat: a Brief History of the 21st Century touches upon how “workload “and “open source software “are flattening the world.  He understates the case—and his book has already had to be revised!

First lab computer, TRS80

When I first arrived on the Carroll campus in 1978, I was enthralled with my TRS80 Model I Level ii microcomputer with 16K of memory and the cassette recorder that stored its data.  I still have that original machine, and I visit it every once in a while out of nostalgia. Today I’m rarely out of reach of a Mac or a PC laptop as I try to know at least as much as my students.  Students today expect electronic access 24 /7 to the Internet and even, to a lesser extent, that same degree of access to me. Sadly some students seem to neglect or be ignorant of the possibility and desirability of face-to-face interaction. Instead, I’ll e-mail you.

Nearby is piled today’s mail. It includes paper copies of the Chronicle of Higher Education  Education Week and The New Yorker. Should I read the online version or the paper copy? Are the two ways of reading identical? I suspect not.  I tend to read more quickly but superficially online, more contemplatively from the paper text.  I’ve already read today’s Milwaukee Journal and New York Times headlines online.  Is that superficial reading enough to be educated?

This is homecoming week at the college. I know it is also or has recently been for several of my high-school -age fellow educational community bloggers. Will the day come when a homecoming is scheduled for which no one comes because all members of the academic community are online participants?

We must guard against technology seducing or controlling us.  Veni,  Vidi, Wiki. I came,  saw, and collaborated interactively, but did technology conquer me?

The above was written as Curious David for the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007