As a fourth grader, I patiently suffered through many monotonous school days eagerly awaiting my turn to journey back to the pioneer times of the mid-nineteenth century. Loading up my virtual conestoga wagon, I led four fictitious settlers on an adventure across one of America’s most storied routes – the Oregon Trail. Even though I typically died of dysentery within ten minutes, I learned two very valuable lessons:
Never drink dirty water.
One device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc) can impact a classroom.
It would be great if every classroom was a one to one learning environment or at least had a class set of computers or mobile devices, but until that day arrives, we are left to use the technology we do have to our advantage.
Stone Age societies lived and operated completely independent of other existing civilizations, but five thousand years later, our students should not still be living and learning that way. Our students need to be hunter and gatherers of a different sort, hunting for information and gathering tools that allow them to meaningfully interact with the curriculum. Yet, many popular digital resources have been around since the 1990s, and in terms of educational technology, that might as well be the Stone Age. The technology our students use needs to evolve with their abilities, expertise, and overall proficiency. We need to be preparing students for the next levels of learning with technology. We need to be preparing our students for the Bronze and Iron Ages – not a second Stone Age.