From Cutting Edge to Just Cutting

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My mind typically races at a million miles per hour all day long.  It makes it great for having creative thoughts, horrible for my memory, and makes sleep nearly impossible.  How does that apply?  Let my walk you through the frightening neuron firings of my mind!  Last week I listened to a replay of the PrincipalCast podcast, during which @DrSpikeCook mentioned some really cool things one of his teachers was doing with Augmented Reality.  I also started reading a lot of information from Eric Sheninger about digital leadership.  This week we also filled out for our CSA a “Dream List” of things we wanted.  Mine included a new multi-user smartboard, document camera, and many other resources.  What I later added a 3d printer and 1:1 iPads.  Next came a Tweet from @MisterMinor asking what we use technology for in our classrooms and if I could use it for something else, what would it be?  All of this got me thinking… When did schools go from cutting edge to just cutting?

When I used to hear about the first computers from my dad, where could you find them?  Schools!  When I was young and we got our first computers, they came from schools! When I first saw a “lap top” where did it come from? Schools!  I got my first iPod and started using digital files, where?  SCHOOLS!

Now I take out my iPad or my phone and my 6-year-old students have the same or better technology in their house.  In a district that is nearly 50% free and reduced lunch, most students have better technology than my classroom.  I am lucky to have 3 working computers.

My answer to the previous question from @MisterMinor was simply: right now I am using my technology as a visual aide and a manipulative.  I would rather be using technology to create and investigate a learning environment.

As I explored the concept of Augmented Reality (digital overlay over top of the real world around us) and realized its potential in SCHOOLS is limitless.  Imagine a true classroom environment where students can explore content and indulge their inquisitive nature.  Create an activity that when looked at, creates links to limitless knowledge and resources for students with ideas and questions.  What educator would argue that a classroom like this is not their dream?

Where did we go wrong?  Who should be learning to manipulate these amazing new technologies?  Could anyone argue that entrusting the learning of these technologies to children is the best way to invest our time and resources?

As educators we need to be open once again to embracing the newest, most dream defying technology so that we can help children unlock its true potential and develop the dreamers of the next generation.  In return, we need an investment in using that technology throughout the school system and reinvigorate students and schools in the process!

Thanks for reading!

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