This may appear to be off topic, but the mention of how kids (and adults) can get "easily distracted from their real purpose" had me thinking about what I have witnessed repeatedly over the summer - people texting/talking on their devices while at the wheel, kids sitting in the back of a vehicle while watching "t.v." monitors fastened to the back of the front seats, unable to hear the front passenger who was trying to point out some historical landmarks that they were passing, kids on a requested "playdate" only to sit 10 feet apart from each other, totally consumed with their game-playing on their i-pads, (and the purpose of that playdate was????), pedestrians walking and talking/texting at the same time as they are crossing busy intersections -- I saw more than a few near misses.
I nearly got run off the road by a driver that was more interested in watching the moving advertisement on the big screen off the side of the highway than on keeping an eye on the road. If I hadn't been able to make it safely to the shoulder while honking at this driver, I doubt my children and I would still be here.
Technology is both a blessing and a curse. I believe that the challenge lies in appreciating its usefulness fully while maintaining some sound common sense, consideration and awareness of all that surrounds us at the same time.
There is a live web chat on this topic today from noon to 1 pm EST. Royan Lee, a teacher, should have some great perspectives to add. This link should get you the details and you can also add/type comments now:
Thanks for posting this, Sheila. Royan has also posted some of the advantages of technology in the classroom. You can read more about it on his blog at http://royanlee.com/?p=518.
I come from a Board that has gone totally wireless in all their schools, both elementary and high schools. The board supports staff and teachers with a strong IT department which works with Student Success Department offering extensive PD. I am not sure how popular cell phones/ipads and electronic devices are in our Ontario elementary schools (at least to grade 6). I would think these numbers will grow but for now, teachers and Principals don't want to be responsible for expensive gadgets brought to school by younger children. However, once in high school, I know that the numbers of electronic devices grows significantly. I am interested in how parents can "join" the social media generation and use it for a way to connect with their son or daughter and not end up like Janet has described a bunch of people completely consumed by a gadgets and not interacting socially with the people around them. Great topic!
Hi Sofia, Joanne is with the Ottawa Catholic board. Regarding your question about teachers handling the cross-over, I think you are going to find a wide variety of uptake/acceptance of technology by teachers in every board. There are lots of 'veteran' teachers who have wholeheartedly adopted technology and use it effectively to support their program, while others (both new and veteran) may be somewhat more hesitant. It sounds like the Ottawa board provides lots of tech support and training, and that will help to increase comfort level and tech skills.
Thank you for your response to my questions. I was recently in touch with the Ottawa Catholic Board for a program I run every summer for students struggling in mathematics. I was told that they are now a fully 'paperless' board. Kudos! Earlier today I had the opportunity to chat with Rayon Lee, who was referred to earlier in a previous posting. He was quite excited about the direction the York Region school board is also taking in effectively integrating technology. He did mention however, that this transition is on-going. Thank you Sheila for sharing his link.
Thanks for starting the conversation, Sofia!
Pleasure Sheila. Incidentally TVO has been hosting a mini-series on education and technology entitled: Learning 2030. The focus on this series: How our education system will continue to evolve to accommodate a new age of tech-savvy learners (I often joke about how my children twin 3 year olds and a six year old were born with a mobile device in their hand :). I believe the next show will be at the end of September. A great series and quite thought-provoking. The link to their site is: http://ww3.tvo.org/special/tvo-road-learning-2030. I was hoping to participate via twitter during their next live program.
I am wondering about the burden on school boards as far as the need for greater bandwidth to support all of these devices. I know that at Western there are days when I have trouble maintaining a wireless connection during the day because of all of the thousands of devices that are using the network and I know that IT has had issues with keeping up with the demand.
With finances being such a huge issue, how will the infrastructure measure up to the burden of all of these electronic devices?
Very good point Summer. Newer tech companies are focusing a lot of their energy on creating connections via the internet using multiple servers. The main advantage of having multiple servers for high traffic content (e.g. facebook, twitter etc.) is that it prevents unnecessary downtime and ensures a smoother experience for users. The problem with this type of format is that it is quite cost-prohibitive for most organizations to implement. One can definitely argue that public school boards do not have this type of budget, but technology can be used without having to access wireless content. Programs can easily be downloaded on an iPad or mobile device and then used later in a classroom thus, the use of these devices should not be affected by any downtime on the internet. Also, while wireless access makes it easier to use devices virtually anywhere, most schools still connect their main devices (desktops, laptops) directly to the modem. Besides, most schools are much smaller in scale than larger post-secondary institutes, kids in public schools are less likely to use a mobile device unless they have been given explicit permission to do so. Great topic!