That's me with my twins. 12 years ago.
I remember the day our resource team was issued laptops. This particular one is a Compaq. Overnight it doubled my workload. I've since wondered why school districts haven't adopted this strategy more widely. Some are considering it. I mean, really, at the time I didn't seem to mind. Kind of like having a mobile phone issued from work nowadays. There is a felt-sense at the outset that one needs to be accessible all the time.
As a self confessed gadget guy, (I'm counting, at first glance on my desk here about a dozen or so technology gadgets smaller than my hand.) I blame my dad ever since he took me to his office in the late '60s and showed me his gadgets: a nifty one was a magnetic device of some kind that erased cassette tapes. Hold the tape against the device, rub it around a little and the cassette is wiped and ready to go again. Another was a large metal rotating drum. It was a fax machine where you had to plug the receiver end of the phone into it to send the fax.
My gadgetness was not lost on my kids. Notice the zen-like look on their faces. They're zeroed in. Every couple of years the district would refresh our laptops and phones and we had the good fortune to be able to purchase cameras, microphones, portable this and portable that. My kids were always playing around with the likes of some kind of gadget when they were young. And of course they had to test all the software before I tried it in schools. My son, although he doesn't remember, could beat Castle Explorer by the end of Grade 4. And my daughter drew the most amazing pictures in Kid Pix. Of course this was all before social media and Macs.
I'm not sure how my kids would learn and connect nowadays without their devices. Oh, they would struggle through. But I think of how having a laptop has helped with the writing process for both my kids. This alone is worth it. My two have been fortunate to have had ubiquitous unfiltered wi-fi access at their school since grade 7. And since the end of grade 8 have had 1 to 1 computing too. So they haven't had to "power down" when they go to school.
I spent my first summer in 12 years without a laptop the last two months. Was it difficult? There were times when I wished I had one. But until my new one arrived yesterday I had forgotten how much I missed it. I keep saying to my kids.. look what I have... their response is "Oh, that's nice dad". My friend Andy talks about how technology and the internet are like "oxygen". So I guess my trying to get a rise out of my teenagers is like trying to get a rise out of them by breathing. Not impressive. "Get over it, Dad."
So now the fun begins. Using our tools for learning during the school year that is almost here. I'm back in the classroom and hope to be able to use my laptop in my school. Wi Fi is on the horizon at my school and we have a bring your own devices policy. Can't wait. It will be exciting. And like my kids I don't want to have to power down when I get to school.
Here's hoping, if you've read this far, that your tools for learning help you out along the way during this school year.
They sure have for my kids and me!