Technology is the face of the future, as many say.
In elementary school, we were lucky enough to have laptop carts that were shared among other classrooms. There were desktops to use in the library, which were not available for every student, and could only be used during scheduled library times. In high school, laptop carts and library desktops were again the norm.
These were my experiences at fairly wealthy schools, so I'd assume that other less-fortunate schools had less technology around the same time.
For high school homework, I didn't need any fancy programs other than Microsoft Word, so I didn't use a laptop/tablet until Grade 12, which was shared with my family. I used it only to type Chemistry lab reports (which were the death of me).. Never again. High school was also when I was given my first cell phone, grade 9 to be exact. This was disappointing for me at the time, to say the least.
My younger sister, who is only 2 years younger than me, had the exact same experiences as I did in school, but doesn't know what a floppy disk is. I have used them for games on our home desktop for years. My sister's lack of knowledge of this technology has been a recent source of laughter in my family.
The increasing technological items that students have access to, way before grade 9, I might add, is astounding. Grade 7 and 8 students that I taught this year have their own phone (and not just for emergencies), and have had a phone for a number of years. Their phones make a daily appearance at school, with few exceptions. In my pre-internship, my first considerable teaching experience, with grade 7/8, I realized that I was entering a world of technology that I wasn't equipped in. From my experiences, to those of the students I teach, there are gaps. And, as I continue to teach, the gaps will only become larger, and even more important to close.
In EDTC, we compared the evolving experiences of consumption of technology over decades.
Michael Wesch, who speaks in "An anthropological introduction to Youtube," highlights this too.
I have never been overly interested in watching Youtube videos for hours and hours, so the stats were extra shocking to me. In 2008, 9232 hours of content uploaded each day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I would guess that it's at least doubled by now. What do we think?
So, students that were born in 2008, some of which I have taught this year, are experiencing that wealth of content on Youtube. Of course, not all of it, but it's available. And that is what has evolved in our technological world. Wesch states that every 6 months there's a new tool that can do new things that weren't previously imagined (6:42).
Wesch summarizes the craze of Youtube, and, subsequently, technology consumption, nicely; "It starts to look less like an infectious than a new cultural order" (4:16). Little did we know at the time, that is what technology would become. Not only part of our culture, but a form of empowerment (4:55).
Students and adults alike can use technology for empowerment. Empowerment to showcase interests, events, passions, hobbies, gatherings, and anything else you can imagine. This is a path that I would take into my classroom. Teaching students to properly use technology to empower them, in appropriate ways, can offer students confidence as well as new ways to learn. Utilizing technology as a safe way to participate with peers, have discussions and show learning. The potential of technology to hinder and grow is very real in today's world.