Education Technology: A Crisis Of Relevance
“If you want to work on this at home email it to yourself as a Word document”
This is the advice I often hear teachers giving students after a lesson using word processing (Microsoft Word) on computers (desktop PCs running Microsoft Windows) in an “IT suite”. The students have usually been using the computers to research the Web, gather information and type up an assignment that is usually printed at some point….in education writing an essay is a well established model as is the use of IT suites with desktop PCs running Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office.
Reports, assignments, essays, email, Microsoft Office,Windows PCs and IT suites are all familiar and comfortable for education managers and teachers .. after all they have spent and continue to spend the majority of their working lives with these things.
“Can you share that on Whatsapp”
This is the advice I often hear students give to each other … I never hear students talk about emailing each other let alone using Microsoft office .. instead they will choose from a diverse range if communications apps on mobiles .. often in a communication rich and sophisticated manner using images, symbols, abbreviations and codes.
We are in the Post PC age already
2014 marked a tipping point – there was more Internet traffic from mobiles than from PCs. PC sales remain flat while mobile sales continue to grow .. these devices aren’t “pocket PCs” they are a new type of thing and capable of so much more .. maybe PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) is more appropriate term than smartphone but pocket they certainly aren’t.
Mobile and social media are well established and have become a “rite of passage” for teenagers and people in life yet is not only ignored but actively blocked by an education system still firmly stuck in 1999 and and fearing the “Millennial bug”.
“Can you block Facebook”
Maybe nothing represents the disconnect of education technology more than the call to block Facebook .. something which is now more relevant to “old people” than to our students.
Is it possible for education to stop fearing our young learners and to connect with them in ways that are meaningful to them rather than the institution?
By the way .. just to prove a point .. I created this blog post entirely on a smartphone using Google Docs and the WordPress Android App. This may become my preferred method of blogging now – it is so much more enjoyable and non intrusive – I was able to write this in many locations at many times – it suites the way I like to work.
While it’s primarily an essay form it does show that even this can be accommodated in a post PC world. However, a post PC world us capable of so much more.
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