I just finished some email correspondence with a client, an upcoming presentation to teachers in the mid-west. Brenda had sent my AV needs PDF, and the client wrote back saying that everything was well within their means — except for Internet, no Internet available in the venue.
Being the polite and ever-conciliatory fellow that I am, I responded that this would be no problem. I can harvest all of the sites I need for the presentation and finesse myself around any online demos that can’t be easily simulated. This is my standard reaction and this is what it should be. After all, even with the best and most progressive of intentions, we are still catching up, and we’ll likely continue to be catching up for quite a while. Even though I often speak at venues that are not primarily education oriented, and many of them have adequate to exemplary technology in place, there are still those that
pat themselves on the shoulder because they can wheel an LCD projector out for your Powerpoint are simply not there yet for a variety of reasons.
Accepting that, I got to wondering, what if I was a 12 year old, a member of the ultimate customer base that we are all serving. What if they’d invited a game-playing, text-thumbing, Facebook browsing youngster to speak? How might she have reacted?
No Internet? Wait a minute. You want me to talk about how my generation thinks, how we interact with each other, how we play – and work – and learn, what we care about and where we do it — and you want me to do it without the Internet?
Actually, I am not sure that “Dude” is quite the expletive that it was a couple of years ago. ..and a reaction like this would owe itself mostly to the petulance that comes naturally to many 12 year-olds. But I suspect that a more important part if this response — the part we need to be paying attention to — is that preparing today’s children, within today’s prevailing information environment, for an unpredictable future, should assume a networked, digital, and information-abundant learning environment, regardless of whether it is the children who are doing the learning, or the educators.
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