Random Thoughts

Technology to push teachers

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Some interesting conversations have come out of my last post “Goodbye to your job.

Now do I seriously thing that the Microsoft Surface is going to make teachers obsolete? No, but I do believe a product like the Microsoft Surface is going to push teachers to rethink education. Especially if students are already telling me “You won’t have a job.”


What excites me is not the Microsoft Surface itself but the technology. My favorite part of the video below is the part where the guy is standing and playing with Google Earth on a wall, or flat surface. That is the technology that will push teacher to rethink how to teach and what it means to interact with information.

I can not wait for the day when schools are buying Google Earth Pro accounts instead of pull down world maps that are out of date before they are hung in our classrooms, and then stay in our classrooms for years never to be updated.

In 1999 I taught 4th grade with a pull down map that still had USSR on it.

It’s not the actual device that excites me, it’s the opportunity it provides us with to interact with information on a whole new level. To be able to touch, remix, slide, and manipulate information like never before.

This technology will push teachers to rethink their lessons, rethink their teaching, and rethink how you arrange desks in a classroom where every wall is a learning surface. What will teaching be like in this new classroom?

Maybe that’s the reason why my students said “Goodbye to your job.” Maybe they understand that technologies like this are coming, and that if we do not change then school’s will no longer fit their needs. If schools continue to not embrace these changes then students will learn on their own with these technologies in their homes.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately on the single device that is going to do it all. The more I listen to podcasts, read stuff on the web, and look at new products coming out. I have to say the gaming console has to be the top of my list.

  • You can connect to the web
  • Download movies, songs, games
  • Join communities
  • Watch TV
  • Play Games
  • and they have a larger hard drive then my laptop.

As gaming consoles continue to evolve and pickup on these new technologies like multi touch interfaces I can see them becoming the all in one device in homes. You can already do so much with these new gaming consoles that many of the younger generations just have a gaming console and don’t need/want a computer.

It will be interesting to see where all this leads in the coming years.

[tags]gaming, microsoft surface, 21st Century Education[/tags]

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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Won’t it be great when technology is just taken for granted in our rooms. When I first moved to NZ from Australia I was teaching the names of the continents. I had always called the continent which included NZ as Australia, then it changed to Australasia. This is not the name adopted in NZ and I then found out that it was called Oceania. Man, all of my charts were out of date and quite offensive really to NZers who did not want to be called Australian :).
    Technology lets us change with the times, be up to date and teach the latest. Why do classrooms look like they have been furnished from garage sales and use computers that should have been put on the dump years ago? Shouldn’t schools be the place where technology providers support the use of the latest and greatest? Don’t you think this makes sense. We should be given one of these table top computers per school. That way these providers are getting their consumers at an early age 🙂 (It was worth a try).

  2. I think this would mean an even greater need for well trained 21st century teachers who could guide students to really think their way through the information, to make comparisons, to analyze, to create and collaborate. This is way beyond Smartboard technology. Imagine every student having this as his/her physical desktop to work on instead of the kinds of desks that are in our classrooms now.

  3. If you haven’t already done so, can I suggest you get in contact with Derek Robertson at http://hotmilkydrink.typepad.com/

    He is Scotland’s leading education researcher into using games in the classroom. I suspect the two of you could have a really interesting and profitable discussion… (Just don’t let him challenge you to a game of Guitar Hero)

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