Let's have a little competition at school and get ready for the
I will use a laptop and you will use paper and pencil. Are you
I will access up-to-date information - you have a textbook that is 5
*Ok, while you are waiting for your laptop to boot and your
crashed graphics application to start, I'll sketch out my ideas in a handy,
expressive, easily edited media that fits in my pocket. Some of our
greatest designs started out as "napkin sketches," you know. Oh, and did
you realize that the story you quoted yesterday has already been debunked as an
I will immediately know when I misspell a word; you have to wait until
*Your spelling's not so good? Too bad. I try to
learn how to spell the word correctly in the first place, because it's important
I will learn how to care for technology by using it; you will read
*Yes, it does seem that I have more time for reading than you
do. Perhaps it's all the time you spend on the computer, or the time you
spend working to afford the computer and its Internet connection?
I will see math problems in 3d; you will do the odd problems.
*I see math problems in the world, not on the screen.
You cannot create real 3D on a flat screen.
I will create artwork and poetry and share it with the world; you will
share yours with the class.
*I'll be able to sense people's responses in real time.
I'll see their expressions, hear their laughs, feel their tears. I'm sorry
that you will miss that experience. Oh, and I'll know that someone really sees
it and that's it's not just buried on a web page somewhere, lost in the
I will have 24/7 access; you have the entire class period.
*Yup, I'll be riding my bike, watching a movie, communicating
with friends, singing in the chorus while you are still typing.
I will access the most dynamic information; yours will be printed and
*Yes, I use paper-based media that works in any environment,
can be quickly accessed and has low-value, so that I don't have to worry about
leaving it on a beach towel when I feel like getting my toes wet. I'll
admit, it does take a little more organization and planning but then, I am not
restricted to only that information that is digitized.
I will communicate with leaders and experts using email; you will wait
for Friday's speaker.
*Um, don't you mean that you will be ignored by and get more
canned email responses from leaders and experts? I usually get very
thoughtful replies to my letters.
I will select my learning style; you will use the teacher's favorite
*Perhaps we have better teachers at my school. They have
mastered the ability to teach to multiple learning styles. I have learned
that it is good for me to do at least some of my learning in styles that are not
my first choice. Why don't you ask your teacher to take a workshop in the
McCarthy 4MAT system, or one of the other excellent approaches to teaching to
multiple learning styles?
I will collaborate with my peers from around the world; you will
collaborate with peers in your classroom.
*Collaboration. Is that what you call that instant
messaging, forwarded jokes, junk email, online gaming and virus-laden
software that you are always interacting with while the teacher is trying to
introduce the day's learning in that computer-based class that you are
I will take my learning as far as I want; you must wait for the rest of
*Yes, they are still looking at the mastodon skeleton in the
other room. My group decided to go through the horticulture of other
countries exhibit instead. You should have smelled those flowers!
Oh, sorry. I guess you can't do that through the Internet, can you?
I'll send you a photo. The flowers are really a lot smaller than the
Mastodon skeleton, though they will probably look the same size on your
--Steve Barner, voted "Miss Applied Technology" at the last
drag queen contest
Rae Niles, Director of Curriculum and Technology
Schools, USD 439
Sedgwick, KS 67135
You Give a Kid an iBook"--a one-to-one laptop initiative in Kansas
can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink---unless
you salt the
hay! Striving to use technology to "salt the hay" on a