Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tech Transition Moments

I was traveling internationally recently. Before my flight, I was prompted to check in early online, only to find out that I needed to go through the same thing at the airport and get paper boarding cards! Finally on the plane, as we approached landing in the US we were all handed a US customs form to fill out. I filled it out as I have done many times before wondering when we will switch to a digital form. After we had landed I found my answer. Customs have already switched to digital and at the airport we used a scan of our passports to recreate the form through a digital station (we still got a paper receipt). The transition is happening all around us but at least right now it is creating duplication with paper and digital causing redundancy. It could very well be that agencies are afraid to pull the plug on paper just to find some critical flaw as did Health.gov and other digital enterprises.

Something similar happened in my son's sixth-grade orientation. Our school district is moving into 1:1 with Chromebooks starting in sixth grade. After explaining all of Chromebooks and the useful things they can do, the teachers shifted to talking about the paper planner and how crucial it was to keep it updated. Sarah, my wife, took one look at my expression and signaled me to hush. And so I did. But the thought of using a paper planner when all students have access to a digital one that is far superior seemed like an awkward transition. I figure that this transition is going to take awhile and will depend on the way teachers are using technology. My guess is when teachers use a digital calendar they will see the utility for students considerably faster. I am also aware that I am doing this from my bias as a user that is thoroughly digital; perhaps I am biased. The two questions are: 1. will students be able to use a digital calendar effectively to assist learning? And 2. Which format will be a step in developing their workplace skills? Said another way what will be the workplace expectation when they graduate college about a decade from now?

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