Obsolete Technologies.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Laurie Hansen!]

Times have changed and some of our “hot” technology quickly becomes obsolete. And so, it makes me wonder what stories of “technological hardship” will we tell our grandkids? “When I was your age, I had to actually type an email, letter by letter—using a keyboard! Ah, those were the good ol’ days!”

The author of 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020 was, in fact, inspired by 21 Things That Became Obsolete This Decade.

While reading 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020, I observed that we are already witnessing everyday items becoming passé. But desks? Really? My generation had desks in school, my parents had desks in school and even my grandmother had desks in school.

As I relate to online education, I found entry #1, “desks”, intriguing as these entries:

1. Desks: ” …network-based concepts of flow, collaboration, and dynamism help you rearrange your room for authentic 21st century learning.” (Does this remind you of a familiar commercial?) However, I think this rationale sort of fits in with #6.

6. Differentiated Instruction as the Sign of a Distinguished Teacher: “The 21st century is customizable. In ten years, the teacher who hasn’t yet figured out how to use technology to personalize learning will be the teacher out of a job. Differentiation won’t make you ‘distinguished’; it’ll just be a natural part of your work.”

17. Parent-Teacher Conference Night: “Over the next ten years, parents and teachers will become closer than ever as a result of virtual communication opportunities.”

I think number 17 says a lot about virtual education. Some may think teaching and learning virtually causes a disconnect between teachers and students. However, as we all know, it is quite the contrary. Virtual communication and other technologies present opportunities to foster relationships.

Given that the author’s site is called “Teach Paperless” , number 21 seems apropos:

21. Paper: “In ten years’ time, schools will decrease their paper consumption by no less than 90%. And the printing industry and the copier industry and the paper industry itself will either adjust or perish.”

No more desks? Really? Hmmm….



2 responses to “Obsolete Technologies.

  1. The one thing they have forgotten to mention is that many school districts can not afford this type of technology. I worked for a school district that in 2008 was using machines from 1998! Seriously, the machines had been upgraded, but you could still see the original windows 1998 sticker on the side. Not only is money is an issue, many school buildings can not handle the infrastructure to handle new technology. I have worked for 2 other school districts, one had not built a new school in 35 years, the other had not built a new school in 42 years! So I do not see some K to 12 school districts moving this fast at all! Lastly what about dialup? There are some rural areas, where the student’s homes can only receive dial up and going completely electronic will wreck havoc on the students being able to complete their homework, considering if only multimedia rich information is provided for them.

  2. Jessica, your comment highlights how the digital divide will have increasingly more impact on education as technology advances. This is not just a digital divide but an economic one.

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