Rethinking Technology in the Classroom

 

Leonardo da Vinci – Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

While Umzuzu has successfully helped people Go Google on six continents (steep discounts available for anyone in Antartica), our headquarters is in the Kansas City area. Last year our community was fortunate enough to be named the first recipient of Google's Fiber iniative, bringing 1 gigabit Internet speeds to many area residents and schools. This is an incredible opportunity for Kansas City and just about everyone is very excited. Last week members of the community and business leaders held another town hall to discuss the potential opportunities. 

Education is typically a topic at these type of events. During the discussion it was clear that there is a big gap in people's perceptions about modern technology and the reality. The concept of a "computer" many of us are carrying around with us is outdated. In 1982, instead of naming a "Person of the Year", Time Inc. named the personal computer "Machine of the Year". In 1985 Microsoft released their first Windows computer with a GUI (Graphical User Interface) and a mouse. More than 25 years later this is still the basic form factor most people think of when they think "computer".  It's time for a new definition. It's time to start thinking about the "computer" and more specifically "computers" VERY differently. It is critical we change our thinking because it is required in order to realize the potential at our disposal. 

It's all about the Internet. The class of 2012 will be the first class to graduate that has never known the world without the Internet. Today you don't have "a computer" you have millions! The idea of a computer we carry around in our mind is little more than a distant memory. The modern Internet is full of modern Apps. Modern Apps do not run on a computer - they run on the Web. This is easy to say and write but it is extremely difficult and often impossible for many people to grasp what this actually means. This is not something that's "coming" this is the reality, TODAY. 

THE MODERN CLASSROOM OF TOMORROW LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE THE CLASSROOM OF TODAY. You don't need a computer lab, you don't need servers, you don't need expensive software (Google Apps for Education is free!), you don't need to bulldoze your way through upgrades, you don't need any of this clutter -  you just need the window. The computer doesn't matter. It's just the window to the Web.