On the way to becoming a stand-up comedian and author, I became a school teacher. On way to becoming a tenured school teacher, I became a software architect. As a software architect, I became a manager. I guess the path to tomorrow is strewn with a lot of pieces of yesterday.
One of the things that drove me nuts as a school teacher was the reality of technology. I taught a computer class in summer school where the kids, using Apple’s HyperCard and a scanner (printer) that I purchased with my own money, created a series of Dinosaur stacks. The stacks included what the kids though the environment looked like, what the dinosaurs sounded like and pictures of every dinosaur. The kids from ages first grade to 5th grade worked together to create an amazing tool. If we had better tech, we could have created something beyond amazing.
Schools, teachers, and parents don’t always have access to not only the technology that would make their lives easier but also the training. The reality of the gulf between those that are exposed to technology and those who are not, through NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN is huge and growing.
It makes me sad. Many years ago, I started a teaching society called “The Society of Dead Teachers,” in part I was inspired by the movie “The Dead Poet’s Society.” In part though, I was terrified walking into the Mimeograph room and seeing one of the senior teachers in my school running off copies of papers.
“Wow,” I said, “you are really ahead of the game, running off next week’s worksheets.”
“Oh no,” the much more senior teacher replied, “I am running off next year’s.”
Boredom is what happens when we do the same things over and over, with no intent to change. The problem with education for me was the burnout of teachers. The frustration of parents and in the end no technical support. I started back in 1986 using an electronic grade book. All the master teachers at the school made fun of me until it was records day. I was done with all the required bookkeeping for the first semester in less than 20 minutes. The master teachers were still there, 5 hours later inputting information.
If you had asked me “is a technology the door education must pass through” when I first started the DTS all those years ago, I would have shouted yes. I have realized since then, that technology isn’t a door. It is a window. It is something every classroom needs to be able to open, and circulate new ideas, new things easily.
As a parent, I’ve armed my kids with Technology. Why? Because schools don’t have the chance to do so and it is sad. The future is more and more technology, it’s time we help schools get there!
Cool Technologies Schools will want:
- Equip the wonder of children http://shop.raspberryshake.org If you decide to buy one, please add my discount code rsend17. Classroom Seismograph, awesome tool!
- Littlebits http://www.littlebits.com Allows kids to create, connect and build IoT devices!
- MeeperBots: http://www.meeperbots.com Opens the creativity potential for building and creating robots.
- Jibo: http://www.jibo.com allows for interactive books, connections and the ability to personalize a tool in the classroom that interacts with kids based on recognizing them!
Here is the thing, you can actually donate all of these to your school. They are amazing starting points for kids to being an exploration of the art of the possible!
Technologist and founder The Society of Dead teachers