When I got my first computer (some gray Mac from the early 90s) and began using it for homework assignments, my mom would always tell me how lucky I was that I could just hit the delete button on my keyboard to erase a mistake. I didn’t have to use white out or start a new page like she apparently did when using an old-fashioned typewriter. Years passed and I never thought much of the fact that I could just change whatever I wanted with just the click of the mouse and some keys. It seemed obvious that you would be able to edit your paper that easily.
As I got older, I began using the Internet for research and gathering new ideas and opinions. By then, my mother then would always ask why I rarely, if ever, went to a library. I would explain to her that almost every piece of information I needed could be found somewhere on the Internet and that my laziness made it much more appealing to read something off my screen than to get up and go to the library to find that same article or book.
The amount of times that type of exchange has occurred between me and my mother is countless. Whether it was her saying how easy and nice an IPod was compared to searching through a library of records and 8-tracks or her telling me I should be writing letters instead of emails and instant messages. The bottom line is that we, we being my generation, take much of the technology we use for granted. We don’t always realize that as little as 15 to 20 years ago, we would have had to take a pen and paper to a library, grab a book, and begin to read and write.
Despite my lack of great appreciation for some of today’s technologies, I am very impressed with the technology of Vanderbilt and our classroom in particular. I guess it’s because much of what we have in our room is very new and innovative stuff, whereas things like the Internet and IPods have become part of daily life in our society. Once new technologies become widespread enough, we begin to take them for granted. It is hard to do that for much of the technology in our room, unless you’re Richie Rich.
Right away, you walk to our room and along the way you pass a room with 20 screens on the wall, all showing a different channel and you wonder if you’re entering a CIA control room or a scene from Die Hard 4. Our room is equipped with great technology for promoting learning. The smart board is obviously a great tool that lets us see notes from class on the website. Also, the ability to use three screens simultaneously all showing different medias is both unique and useful as we could we be walking through a part of LOTRO together on the projector screen, while having a PowerPoint going on the smaller screen next to it. The coolest part of our room, besides the automatic shades (which don’t exactly apply to learning), is the real-time scanner that allows for us to put images and text from books and articles and to blow them up onto the smart board. All of the technology sometimes may be flawed or take a while to figure out, but once running it allows us to do a lot we wouldn’t be capable of otherwise and provides information in a way that will become more mainstream in all forms of society as time passes, including business and government.