I love my Mac. I love my Kindle. I happily use social media and email to talk with friends and colleagues around the world. I have a mental checklist of all my must-takes whenever I leave the house... phone? Check. iPod? Check? Kindle? You get the idea.... ;-)
I've always been an early-ish adopter of technology. See that photo above? That's what I would have looked like if laptops had been around when I was that young. Same expression on my face and everything. I'm just fascinated by all that technology can achieve, and how it represents the very clever side of mankind.
So, while I no longer fit into the demographic highlighted in the infographic below, I find what it visually represents really interesting - personally and as an educator. I get the close bonds students have with their gadgets, and this connection, I think, is important for teachers to recognise.
Students Love Technology
Technology in an Australian (school) context
- Children and income were the main determinants in access to computers and broadband internet according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics report Children of the Digital Revolution. It found 9/10 households with children had access to a home computer, 89% of homes with children under 15 had broadband access, but access to this technology was still sharply divided upon socio-economic lines. That is, the digital divide, at least according to most recent research, is alive and well, and affecting the lives of the students we teach. And that is not even touching upon the issues of download speeds and limits...
- 90% of 17-year-old Australians use a mobile phone regularly, according to 2007 government research, but again, this was less likely for children growing up in lower-income homes and areas.
- As seen in the American experience, Australians are becoming increasingly enamoured with social networking sites - Facebook, Twitter and the like. 2010 research suggests Australians spend almost a quarter of their time online checking their social status.
- Is the 'Digital Divide' an issue for your school's students? Does your school have particular strategies to bridge the technology equity gap?
- Have you used social media in your teaching? How effective was its use?
- What do you think about mobile phones being used as a means of communication between teachers and students?
Finally.... How much technology is 'too much'?
- Excessive and non-ergonomic use of computers can lead to eye strain, neck and back problems and long-term repetitive injuries. How many classrooms are ergonomically set up, with appropriate seating and lighting - not to mention the comfort level of using small-screened net books all day long?
- The need for adequate infrastructure and support - is there room and power to run charging cables in the middle of lessons? What happens when something doesn't work?
- Keeping students on-task and supervised while using technology in class - What strategies do teachers and schools use to manage these practical scenarios?
I look forward to hearing of other's views on this subject...