Why isn’t the future what it used to be?

I ran across this article on cnn.com, and it got me to thinking about my entry into the world of educational technology. This is actually something I have been thinking a lot about lately because I recently graduated and accepted a position at a university. This transition from student to professor has caused me to think back and wonder what it was that drew me toward this profession. The fact that just about everyone I meet has asks me the same thing has something to do with it, as well.

When I started teaching, I was already very much into computers. The World Wide Web was a baby and the only way I could go “online” was with the AOL software (I don’t think they even called themselves AOL back then.) I was fortunate to get my first teaching job at a district that invested heavily in technology. Looking back on the resources they had even in 1995 is still astounding. Just about every lesson I taught had some sort of technology in it, though in most cases the students just watched me play with whatever tool I happened to be using. But I never really had any expectations that using the technology in my teaching was making me any better of a teacher. My classroom was nestled in between two 30-year veterans, and I looked to them as the standard for good teaching. And they didn’t use technology … at all. In fact, I had to remind them every grading period how to enter their grades into the grade book program. Every once in awhile I would do something with technology that got their attention and they would want to know how I did it.

My point is, I’ve never really trusted technology to do anything for me. I’ve always seen myself as the creative force in the classroom, and I happen to like technology and use it to do my job. One quotation from the previously mentioned article really caught my attention, and it ties in nicely to this idea. It’s from Matt Verheiden, one of the writers for the recent Battlestar Galactica mini-series.

At some point, you can’t expect a miracle to come in the form of technology to save us. At some point, the miracle has to come from a change in attitude and a new outlook.

So while it’s entertaining to ponder whether or not some technology will be invented that seamlessly interacts with a student’s brain making the whole learning process both fun and effortless, I think there is lot to be said for hard work, creativity and collaborating with other people.