Dick Tracey Revisited

I’m sitting at a coffee shop in Sidney. The ocean air is sweeping up off the water and it’s easy to see why so many have stopped to relax in the sun. The story of the Malaysian passenger flight being shot down sits on the sidelines of my thoughts and I’m reflecting upon how quickly the technology has allowed the stream of fragmented pieces to string together a story of the atrocity it represents.  We live in a world where the plight of its peoples is at our finger tips and I wonder how, in this day and age, we just can’t figure out how to get along.  The laid back calmness that surrounds me is a sharp contrast to the hornet’s nest that has been stirred up near the Ukraine.

I stopped in to visit my sister on my way here. She’s the kind of person that everyone likes to be around. She exudes positivism and her energy is a wave that lifts spirits. She was wearing a device on her wrist that connects to her phone via blue tooth – Dick Tracy’s sister. Her calendar, email, text messages and phone calls all attached. This may seem trivial but my sister suffers from a disease that sometimes limits her physical abilities. She’s fallen a few times and been hurt bad enough that those who love her are concerned when she’s alone. Now, that goes away as she’s got the connections she needs always within reach.  And that’s pretty cool.

What happens to our classrooms as BYOD comes into play and every kid has the world’s news on their wrist and every text message and tweet is a blinking light beside it. Kids are telling us in BYOD pilots that damage and distraction are the two greatest concerns. What happens when the news of the Malaysian airline crash blinks on and that child’s grandparents are in Amsterdam flying to other parts of Europe? What does that do for teachable moments and classroom control.

In our classrooms there’s work to do to prepare for the inevitability of wearable technology. BYOD will be a buzz word of the past as it will just be the way things are – personal tech embedded in clothing and jewelry and eye glasses.

The best tool for success is engagement and as educators our investment into learning is best placed in that realm.

(recently updated to repair errors from blogging on a phone…)