Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Tools of the Future

One fact that rattles through my brain constantly... we have no clue as to the technology that will be available to us in 10-15 years. When I think back to what the world was like 15 years ago, I am amazed of the changes that have occurred.

Then...Cell phones were only owned by people with money, the Internet as we know it was non-existent, most homes did not have a PC, music was available at the record store on tape and limited Cd's, and MTV actually played music video's.

Now... 5th graders have cell phones, the Internet is a world of publishing and creativity, most homes have multiple PCs, music is available at the touch of a button, and MTV is unwatchable.

Many more changes have occurred. One fact will remain the same for the remainder of time... we do not know what is coming next! We can assume and make predictions, but, the technology of tools is moving at an exponential rate. This sometimes can be quite frightening. To think of the future and the new literacy's we are faced with as teachers makes me wonder... As an education system, are we ever going to catch up? When will we start to recognize, as a whole, that kids are learning in an entirely different world.

One example is our publishing capabilities. I grew up in the 90's. This was a short time ago. Being "published", meant you had to go to school to be a writer. Then, by a stroke of luck, you had to write a great book that people would buy. Then you would take this book and pitch it to a publishing company. If the book had potential, they may write you a book deal.

There were many "ifs" in this process. Now, there are many online publishing tools that can be used on the Internet. Publishing is as simple as having a creative idea and creating it with software on the Internet. You then click a button that says PUBLISH, and there you go. I created a 52 page book of pictures with commentary in a few hours, and had it on my doorstep in a week. It was a great alternative to a boring picture album. Now, I have a published book of my own pictures on my coffee table at home. I'll have to admit, the book was published with professional quality. It is also available for anyone to buy. The possibilities are endless with tools such as lulu and blurb.

What tools do you think will be available for us in the future?

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