I know this isn’t strictly an educational post, (until the end), but I think it might highlight a few lessons we as teachers can learn about the power of technology and how we can use it. It also, I think, is a nice story.
Last night, after the CESI meet in the digital hub, halfway home, my wife realised she had left a bag of shopping underneath the table we were sitting at. After the initial panic, we began to think about how to sort it out and redeem said M&S bag. Back in the day, one would either turn back and see if it were still there, or since the advent of mobile phones and 24-hour security, possibly ring the venue and plead with them to look. We chose the latter. A nice security guard checked out the venue and confirmed that the bag was not there.
At this stage most people would telephone the organisers of the meeting and see if anyone would have it. But we didn’t have any of the organisers’ phone numbers.
iPhone at the ready, using an intermittent 3G connection on the N7 (I wasn’t driving btw), I logged onto the CESI website and clicked on “Contact Us”. There was no phone number. Bugger. Next stop, Twitter on the iPhone. I use Echofon (the new name for Twitterfon) and I tweeted “Bag left at #cesimeet. Anybody have it?”
Ten minutes later, one of the organisers of the event tweeted back saying he was almost sure one of his colleagues had picked it up. I used Twitter to ask for phone numbers. Obviously Twitter being very open, he decided it was safer to email me the number. I then checked my email and copied the number. As it was fairly late in the evening at this stage, I pasted the number into my texting app and sent a message. Five minutes later, I was told that the bag was in the safe hands of yet another colleague who was going to another meeting (Scratch Saturday) in Dublin today. I then texted my sister, who lives in Dublin, and asked her would she go to Tallaght to pick up the bag.
Tomorrow, I’m heading to Dublin to meet my sister and my wife will be reunited with her shopping.
All this was done without a word spoken. Between Twitter, Texting and Email, technology has really become a real-life tool for almost anything. The weird thing for me was this was all too natural for me to do. I didn’t feel like an uber-geek for doing any of that stuff on my iPhone because I’m pretty sure lots of people are using these tools everyday.
So where’s the educational link? Well, my wife had a problem. We used technology collaboratively to try and solve the problem. Other users of technology helped us to solve this problem and by working together in completely different parts of the country, we have now solved the problem. Wouldn’t it be great if our children were given the opportunity to think like this in order to solve educational problems? Wouldn’t it be great is there was a network of pupils around the world ready to help answer questions from other children just like we now do in the adult world? Finding out information in the 21st century is so different these days yet once our children enter the doors of our schools, they’re not being given access to all the tools they need.