Smartphones . . . they have quickly become an unquestioned and pervasive extension of the countless new technologies that have changed our world exponentially over the past two decades. In a recent conversation with a Board member at my school, I appreciated his comparison of our age to that of the late 1800’s when American life changed forever with the introduction of electricity. In his words, “Electricity touched everything; in the same way today, technology touches everything.” We are directly and constantly connected to information and to others, making many daily tasks and interactions easier. Truly, it is an exciting epoch in which to be alive; as an adult, it is an equally humbling charge to shepherd the next generation from childhood to adulthood in an age so vastly different than the one in which we were raised.
At the cutting edge of educational technology are two exciting new technologies, AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality). Both have a place in the future of education and the world. For day to day use, AR is the one to keep your eye on. But, let’s start with a brief look at what these new technology acronyms really mean.
In the IT field, an organization’s collection of computers, infrastructure equipment, and software is often referred to as an “environment”. However, in my own thinking process, it sometimes helps me to envision it as a box or collection of boxes, as this approach helps me to select the right equipment and software for our students. Each box in your collection contains tools that can hold, process, and/or communicate some data. That data, for example, could be pictures from the last field trip, grades, or GPS data on the wildlife roaming nearby campus. Each box has its own limits of what you can and can’t do based on the nature of the box, in other words, what tools the box has built inside it and what can they be used to do.
Kindergarten students learn to share, and as adults we try to remember those early lessons. Middle School students also love to share, but they enjoy sharing information. A group of sixth grade students was asked to review videos on the site TED-Ed and to recommend their favorites through a class blog. Students previewed videos here, and shared their favorites with their peers. Find some student recommendations below: