It’s not about Technology — It’s about Information

Several weeks ago I walked into our TV room and found my son on the couch, hooked up. My office is in the next room, so I grabbed my camera and shot several pictures. The situation was nearly a caricature, except that it was completely true.

Let me take you on a tour. The white wires that plug into his ears are his iPod. He is a peculiar sort of kid, in that he is probably listening to classical music instead of a guitar band. He wants to become a professional musician.

In his hands is a game controller. I believe that he is playing with an Xbox, but he also has a PS2 and a Game Cube. I’m impressed with myself that I can even list his game systems. You may see a head-mounted microphone and ear plug. Many of the games that he plays are multiuser quest environments where he works with a team of other players, through the Internet (some do not speak English is their first language). He can chat with them orally if they also have broadband Internet. With those who do not, he chats with the black keyboard that also came with his Xbox system.

The silver laptop is an old Mac, with which he is chatting with local friends using AOL Instant Messager.

The point I want to make is that when we look at this picture, we see technology. He has practically surrounded himself with tools, that he uses to play, and sometimes work and learn.

However, when he thinks about this experience, he doesn’t see technology, he sees information. The technology is nothing more than the window, through which he is accessing, interacting with, and expressing information. It is the information that gives his experiences meaning, and it is information that:

  • Moves,
  • Changes,
  • Comes from far off places (almost instantaneously),
  • Interacts with him,
  • and it Glows.

This is why we, as educators, need to stop thinking so much about integrating technology into the curriculum, and instead, think about this changing nature of information, redefine what it means to be literate in this new information environment, and then integrate that. If we can accomplish this well, then the appropriate technologies will come along on their own and for their own best reasons.

Exactly 2¢ worth!