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The Future is Here

by Paul Kelly, October 6, 2010


       Have you seen a Telus commercial lately?  You know… the ones with the funny animals that sing, dance, jump, and smile.  I love these… and the music is always so catchy!  What really gets me, though, is Telus’ slogan, “The Future is Friendly.”  This is a fitting statement for a digital communication company.  Well, Heritage Christian School is also in the business of communication – visual, oral, and digital.

Pastor Greg is always reminding our staff that our current Kindergarten students will be graduating in 2023.  Wow, what will this new world be like?  Will reading, writing, and arithmetic still be the core of what High School graduates need?  Will schools still use paper?  When bored, will students create ways to doodle digitally?  Hmm, just imagine…2-0-2-3…that seems like a long-ways off into the future.  But, see if these examples send you daydreaming down memory lane.

Remember when it was cutting edge to have a Sony Diskman (1984) or to have an mp3 player (1996) with more than 512mb of storage?  Do you remember when your family purchased its first home computer or digital camera or colour TV?  Was it an enormous event?  How many have you purchased since then?  How many do you have in your house now?  Do you remember when cell phones were just huge and chunky?  Oh boy, would heads sure turn if your children nonchalantly pulled that old beast out of their pockets now-a-days.  Perhaps you still have a box of floppy disks hanging around in your computer room… holding on for nostalgia’s sake… just in case the 3.5inch 1.44mb (1984) makes a comeback.  Or, maybe you still settle to pay long distance fees when calling people in other cities rather than “Skyping” for free.  If this is you, ask your kids (for help) about Skype.  How long will it be until scenes from Star Trek don’t seem that Sci-Fi?  Ok, finally, how about sliced bread?  It was first sold in 1928, advertised as, "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped".   As a 31 year-old my first reaction to that was, “Are you kidding me, there was a time when bread wasn’t wrapped?”  Yup… the world is definitely changing!

To build upon Telus’ statement of, “The Future is Friendly” I would offer that, “The Future is Here!”  The digital age is upon us – upon you and me and your kids in our school.  It is our desire to be ahead of this digital revolution as it reshapes schooling.  Change is happening too fast – it is not an option to be left behind.  Students at our school must and will be ready to enter a digital work force and must and will be given the skills to not only to create wonderful projects and presentations, but also to be given the tools and training to market their message with contemporary resources. 

This year Heritage is taking a huge step in this digital-direction.  We very excited to provide Netbook computers to all of our Grade 10, 11, and 12 students.  At first, and at the most basic level, these tools may be used for simple word processing.  But, our goal for these computers is much, much larger.  We desire to augment our courses through the infusion and production of digital content.  Each student’s school experience now includes having instant access to Google, watching and responding to relevant and current video content, interacting with others in meaningful, yet digital, ways, and producing material abounding with digital flair.

Now, this pilot-project will not be without its challenges.  Classroom management, appropriate audio and video content, face-to-face communication vs. digital, charging stations, and having 67 student Netbooks on the network at the same time are just a few of the issues that have been considered already.  But, none have outweighed this educational opportunity to be leading our students through this changing digital world.  In fact, this is more than an educational opportunity – this is our educational duty.

 

Paul Kelly