I posted earlier about the computer shopping that’s been going on in my family lately. Well, gadget lusts strikes again—the Beloved’s mother showed me a 900-page doorstopper of a historical fiction novel she plans to take on an airplane with her, and I commented that it would be so much easier to just take an -ebook reader with her. There proceeded a 20-minute debate about whether she reads enough to ‘justify’ the purchase, and if so, what sort of purchase she should make.

technologyPrivately, the Beloved and I concluded that, just as my own parents do with tech purchases, she is vastly over-complicating things. For the price of two hardback novels, she could have a brand-new Kobo Mini, and I could likely find her something suitable on Craigslist within the range of $20 if I looked. This is not a big decision.

Even if she only reads during the 12 or so weeks per year she travels, which is when she says she reads, it’s worth it. That new reader would amortize itself out to about $4 per trip.

It’s a curious effect of the fall in the price of these things; reading via e-book is just not that special anymore. And computer shopping isn’t really either. We used to weigh these decisions a lot more carefully when we were looking at a month’s worth of income to buy it. Now, you can get a basic low-end laptop for $200-300. Even with the unneeded version of Office and the CD drive they conned him into buying, my stepfather still spent under $400—and considering he averages about six years per computer, that isn’t much!

And it’s not just about cost, either. I saw a fascinating graphic on a blog called Teachers With Apps with the headline, “What Do You WANT Kids To Do With Technology?” It shows that teachers are finally moving beyond the task-centric ‘let’s learn Word, let’s learn Powerpoint’ teaching of content, and into a more critical thinking-focused teaching of skills.

We don’t need to teach ‘computers’ as a subject anymore; they are a part of everyday life. We all, even the kids, accept that now. So, instead of, “let’s learn how to make a blog,” it’s now, “let’s have a conversation,” and the blog is simply a tool that enables that. As the graphic says: “Technology is a tool, not a learning outcome.”

This, to me, is a welcome innovation.

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Source: Teachers With Apps


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