Change is hard! It requires some paradigm shifting; that is, a rethinking of the “why” in order to decide on the best “how.” A new technology, such as the ability to put a computing device into the hands of every student, offers tremendous possibilities. However, unless it’s coupled with new thinking, it could just produce a fancier version of the same old approach. This dilemma is not unique to schools, however. Here’s a fun look back in time . . .
With the invention of the gasoline-powered engine came the “horseless carriage,” better known as the automobile. Prior to this, people used horse drawn carriages to travel. The picture below is of a 1902 Lambert, among the first automobiles to be manufactured.
Note that this automobile was steered by a tiller, fastened at the front center of the passenger compartment. Prior to the development of the gasoline powered engine, the driver held the reins of the horse and moved them from side to side; so now the driver had a metal bar to simulate that movement. Of course, without the horses, there was no need for this sweeping left-right motion, but it felt comfortable and perhaps it was hard to see another way. Within a few years, steering wheels replaced tillers. Note the headlamps. Rather than hanging lanterns on the front of the carriage, the new automobile sported headlamps that looked just like those lanterns. Again, they were soon replaced by larger, round lights.
This picture is a fun look at how, as humans, we tend to fit new technologies into our current way of thinking. If you’re involved in a 1:1 technology initiative, be careful to avoid fitting those computing devices into your current “how” of learning. They’re not pencils, books, notebooks, or teachers. They have the power to allow us to rethink classroom processes to meet the needs of all learners.