I would describe myself as someone who finds technology both exciting and somewhat scary. I love my Apple Mac and my new iPad and would be lost without them. I’m useless with my mobile phone, either leaving it at home or forgetting to switch it on. I’ve got a Twitter account which I use mainly to follow-up other people’s fascinating links. I’ve tried Face Book but can’t quite get my head round it. As a retired educationalist I think that technology is the way forward if we want to make teaching and learning relevant in the 21st Century. A chap called Marc Prensky has coined the terms ‘Digital Natives’ & ‘Digital Immigrants’ these groups are defined as:
Digital technology has been the norm, part of everyday life, for many years now, so logically there’s a whole generation of individuals for whom concepts such as the Internet and wireless technology are just humdrum, because they’ve never lived in a world where they didn’t exist. These are the so-called digital natives, generally anyone born from 1980 onwards. Digital immigrants are their antithesis, being the folks born earlier who, either reluctantly or enthusiastically, have adapted to the digital world and incorporated its tools into their lives.
We undoubtedly live in a digital age but there are still many who don’t want to fully accept this. Did you know that:
- In February 2010 Twitter were reporting that they were having 50 million tweets per day, that’s 600 per second! I find this exciting – the thought that so many people, across the globe, can have access to such instantaneous networking.
- At the same time Face Book were reporting 60 million status updates per day, that’s 700 per second. Whatever my thoughts on Face Book that’s a heck of a lot of people ‘talking’ to one another.
- Google had 34,000 searches per second, that’s 121 million per hour, 3 billion per day! I use Google all the time if I want information, but you need to stop and think, “Who did we ask before Google?”
In my 21st Century Learning blog I wrote about my 5-year-old nephew and the difference he faced between learning at school and learning with technology. Next week I’m off to a big Handheld Learning Conference in London & then the BETT Show (BETT is the largest education technology exhibition in the world.) I know I will come away both excited and having had my mind blown to pieces. (I will blog more about the experiences next week.)
My present technological dilemma is whether or not to embrace ebooks? I’ve downloaded some on to my iPad and they are great, but …… do I prefer reading a ‘real’ book or an electronic one? At the moment I’m torn between the two. I know that there are people who will say that there is nothing better than the feel and the smell of real books and, to an extent I agree. But times are changing. I use a dishwasher at home, because it is easier, I never say that I would rather wash up by hand because, “I like the touch and the smell of the soap suds and the feel of the dirty dishes between my fingers.” Whether we like it or not more and more people are switching to ebooks and to reading the newspaper on their computer, iPad, mobile phone, etc.
My next problem is – ‘paper & pencil’ or ‘iPad’? Should I get rid of my various journals, throw away my pens and pencils and use my iPad all the time to scribble down my notes. It will allow me to easily sort my notes, have as many different journals as I want, save these notes to the ‘cloud’ so that I could then access them anywhere from any computer. But ….. I like the feel of a pencil or pen, there is something therapeutic about making intelligible marks on paper, I can cross out and doodle and there is a strange sense of achievement when you look back at the number of pages you have filled in a writing session. For now I think I will stick with both.