There are some downsides to this integration. I can't tell you how many concerts I have been to where it seems half the people are either taking pictures with their phones or tweeting about this incredible time they are having (but are actually missing). I am guilty of this for sure in the past and I do my best to experience those moments without distraction now. A perfect example of this was a few years back I was in a touring act called, "Star Wars Live". There was a touring orchestra, but they picked up a local choir to sing in each stop and I was a ringer for the choir. Anthony Daniels, who plays C3P0, was the host and we got to meet him before the show. As he was speaking to us, there was a young lady who was texting to her friends that she could not believe she was talking to Anthony Daniels. He actually had to go over to her, asked her to put her phone away and told her, "Please try to live in the moment, dear." Burn!
Jennifer Stewart- Mitchell recently wrote in her latest blog about the ability of technology to empower. With some pretty basic hardware (an internet connection and a smartphone) anyone can access the same information and resources our class can access. We sometimes take the privilege we have of being able to communicate via the internet for granted. We have a voice while many others around the world do not. We also assume everyone we teach in our schools have similar access and this is not the case. While Jennifer's example spoke about her class connecting with student's across the globe, there are many people in Regina who could benefit from simple access such as a smartphone and an internet connection.
Going back to Michael's presentation, I too was a little dizzy afterwards. While it was cool to watch in real time, I was a little intimidated. Sometimes the best way to learn is rather than a complicated method of wait and I will take you through each step, Michael and the class just went for it. It did show me the potential for Google apps or other similar interactive, collaborative technology. My school system has gone to an Office 365 environment and I am still trying to get my head around that. I am coming off two full days of technology presentations at teacher's institute when all I really want to do and need time for is to play around with what is out there. From Michael's introduction to Google apps I just need some time to try those apps out and see how I can use them to deliver my classes.
In conclusion, this is an exciting time we live in. There is so much potential and I really feel the kids are ready, but the thing holding most of us back is the attitudes of the teachers. There is fear of getting outside of our comfort zones that are stopping many of us (including me) from discovering some great ways to engage in a more meaningful way with our students. It is time we take Michael's, Jennifer's and Kelly's advice and just dive in!