It won’t have escaped your attention that technology is changing rapidly and if you are one of our many new learners, new to the tablet or the laptop or the desktop computer you may already wonder what possessed you to want to learn how to use one of these yourself.
Even if you have been a computer owner over many years you are likely marvelling at the innovative gadgets now on offer, the must-have or can’t-live-without devices, then you recognize that it isn’t just the new hardware one must learn about, but also the
new operating systems, the various softwares allowing you to do all the promising things, the socalled apps, and of course the various Social media like Facebook or Twitter.
Enough to make you tired just thinking about the apparently endless stream of new learning needed to just remain part of today, and when you add the obsolescence which for many apps are almost instant, then your smartphone on contract on the usual 2 year term will seem as forever because newer and better models with better technology will surface several times during that term.
When Google invented a way to search the mass of webpages on the net about 15 years ago we could not readily have imagined that 15 years later that would have developed into new products like browsers, an operating system for devices called Android to run tablets and smartphones, storage in the cloud for your personal use, and face to face communication with their ‘Google+ Hangouts’ now even surpassing passing Skype users, and not forgetting on-line learning channels, maps with Street views, virtual Museum tours and earth satellite views and of course an enormously powerful way of finding information for you.
That is just one company, and they are not alone, so the impact on our younger people, whether still in school or studying, will significantly change habits, behaviours and what ‘normal’ life is regarded as, with digital literacy outpacing academic literacy. That may result in the purely academic standards declining and likely losing credibility to be replaced with more visual representation of visual data in place of the numerical data.
Expect that open source material availability will outgrow the closed source and provide the nursery for innovation in learning to move us close to cloud-based education not just of technology but across the board, and yes, we may see learning simulations to replace some teachers, and schools as we know them or knew them will be very different places with incredible technology to provide learning based on a whole new model.
For the not so young the challenge is and has been exciting, but not always easy to cope with. The fear of hitting the wrong buttons, the apparently many things to be learned before we get the hang of it, and then the pleasure and delight when we realize that the ‘thing’ did what we wanted it to do. Finally the recognition that the computing device is just a dumb, mechanical thing that needs to be told what to do and there is nothing to fear, that is the learning curve everyone goes through.
Think of technology as a tool, a tool to help you learn and to get more out of life, much more, and whilst you may argue that one can learn without technology it is a fact that no learning designed in our age is without technology.
Here at Kapiti SeniorNet the writing was on the wall when some years ago it was realized that our tutoring method also had to take advantage of the teaching methods and technology available in order to provide up-to-date best results for our member students. Coping with the continuing technology and software changes will continue to stretch our abilities and skills, but our great Tutors long ago saw the advantages to be gained from keeping abreast and better being able to help our member student to get the most out of their chosen courses.
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