Education in the Electronic Age

I finished school high school in 1984 and the greatest electronic challenge I had to face until my tenth-grade year was learning to work in reverse on the overhead projector film. During my junior year, my high school was granted a computer lab and I was selected to enroll in the class. There were twelve computers and over 400 students. Space was limited and spots in the classroom were prestigious.

Each computer in the lab had a cassette player where we manually pressed record to save our work. We were required to remove our assigned cassette and turned it in with our assignment. The instructor was required to insert tape after tape into his own cassette recorder to review our work. He needed to hold them all. Thankfully, late in my senior year, the lab was upgraded to a network and he could flip a switch to look at each individual screen in the lab.  

Fast forward to 2017 where my teenager is in her sophomore year. She has been issued a computer device each year since 5th grade. She carries a computer rather than text books and has full access to them online. She completes her assignments and submits them by 11:59 p.m. for full credit. She works on a group project from her room via Facetime and consults with a student in Russia via Skype.  

We are in different educational worlds; different eras. Education has been transformed in this electronic age. Knowledge, or at least the access to it, is at the touch of a button or swipe of the finger. Our children have the advantage to accomplish more at a faster pace and have much cooler tools to do it with.

Students in the current era are more connected in many ways. This places a yoke of added responsibilities on the education system of keeping children safe online, monitoring online activity and keeping the mass supply of electronic devices in good working order. With advancements certainly arise new tasks for our school systems and educators. We find “where there is much given, much is expected” to absolutely ring true in the arena of education.