Past, Present, and Future

The following is in response to a task I received asking for two experiences I had with educational technology in the past, one in the present, and one possible future scenario:

Fourth Grade Presentation
Technology: Tape recorder, stock photo slides, and carousel slide projector
Topic: Africa
Method: Describe stock photo slides on tape using my script. Say, “please advance to the next slide” as opposed to using a tone for some reason I can’t explain.

This was an imitation of other presentation tools that were common at the time and I wanted to make one myself. I look back on it with a little embarrassment, not that it wasn’t that good or bad, but a (female) friend who I admired made fun of me about it and I associate that with this project.

I learned how to put together media to inform and likely learned things about Africa I didn’t know before.

High School Sophomore
Year: 1975
Technology: DEC Model 33 ASR Teletype Computer
Topic: Basic BASIC
Method: Free exploration with text and tutor.

I lived in a wealthy town outside of Boston. We had all the toys. DEC may have donated the machine. It was my first opportunity to play with a computer and I liked it. As I look back I think it was one of the few times in high school that I felt pretty smart about something. If my personal/family life at that point hadn’t been so chaotic I may well have explored this further and been more comfortable using computers in college. I remember there being a key marked “X” with an up arrow next to it. Somehow I impressed my teacher that I figured out what it did (created an exponent) and he told me so. Later, in 1986, I used the first computer that really interested me and became a self-taught user.

I learned to use a computer in a non-threatening constructive way. Perhaps that carried over into my educational future. As an aside, both of these stories, boiled to their essence, reiterate the importance of people being nice to each other in school. It makes a difference.

Graduate Student
Year: 2016
Technology: WordPress 4.6
Topic: Personal Professional Development
Method: Reflection of learning, curating of resources, sharing information, and promotion of self as technology educator.

Throughout 2016 I have been working on learning how to use WordPress well. I first used it solely as a place to hold some of my assignments and blog posts and then I started finding ways to use it more fully. In the past weeks I have brought together two separate WP sites and am hosting one on my own domain. It has been a remarkable experience for a few reasons. I now can create a website without using an HTML editor, but can still use some of my html and css skills and can easily recreate what I have done for someone else in a style of their own choosing. I’m also pleased with the inherent review of all the work I’ve done this year. Categorizing the work, uploading videos and graphics, and documenting my processes has acted as a personal summative assessment of the work I’ve done. The site that I created is quite representative and I feel good about sharing it to further my professional standing and keep track of my resources.

Father of Graduate Student
Year: 2028
Technology: VR v.6 & HaloClass v.2.1
Topic: Dairy Herd Management – Dairy Genetics and Economic Analysis
Method: Biweekly class meets online using wholly representative avatars in a simulated classroom environment.

My daughter is attending a graduate program in which she collaborates with all of her classmates, all from agricultural schools around the world chosen for their specific ability and interest. They meet on a regular basis, twice a week, in a simulated classroom. All of the tools needed are at hand virtually and are available in both old school VR v.6 and in holographic 3D using HaloClass v.2.2. The term blended classroom has become antiquated. My daughter occasionally asks questions of what it was like to go to a graduate school in which one traveled, met face to face, and used something, embarrassingly enough, called Moodle and then laughs.

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