Imagine if you will a world with zero forms of written communications at all. I’m talking no pens, no pencils, no paint and yes even sharpies are out too. That’s a fairly challenging world! So in this mythical land the human race is somewhat different. For instance, the artist cannot use a painting to express themselves, the historian will have no primary evidence from a first-hand witness, the coach will have no lucky green folder filled with tactical plays and the mathematician, well they are in all kinds of bother! In this sense, the pen is mighty, it is mighty useful for countless number of ways for you and me to know more and to do more. That’s difficult to dispute. Yet, back in that mythical land of ours, can you stretch your mind to believe that it is not impossible for our artists, historians, coaches and mathematicians to exist? Their existence is tough, but by no means impossible. The main reason for this is the obvious point that the pen is the tool for these people and that is all. The pen does not define them in their individual roles, it is purely the means by which so much more can be achieved.
Pens, calculators, TV and video, personal computers, the Internet and now iPads (or insert another generic tablet device of your liking). As the world evolves it embraces new forms of technology and the only reason this technology supersedes is that it’s better at its job as a tool. So is the recent revolution in mobile technology mightier than the pen? Well, do we have more people engaging in an ever-increasing-range of artistic endeavours? Can the historian communicate and collaborate in real time with a colleague half way round the world? Is the coach able to analyse and deconstruct his team’s opponents with video precision? Are mathematicians and scientists inspired by designing cutting edge applications that can change lives? Again, these individuals are not defined by what it is they are using to do what they do. In this case the technology is the tool and with it so much more can be achieved.
So, teachers, what about us?
It is not uncommon for our schools and classrooms to be regarded as a mythical land, however in our mythical land it is technology, rather than the pen, that is nonexistent. The parallel continues because once again in this land of no technology it is not impossible for teaching and learning, in our case, to exist. But that’s not the point, although ironically it can be the problem! The message needs to be understood, loud and clear that this revolution is presenting us with new tools; ways and means for doing more and achieving more. We don’t need an iPad to teach an outstanding lesson, but in the same context we don’t need a pen either. The point is we can use it, and we can potentially do so much more with it.