Computer envy: I wish I was in Grade One…

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The kids wrapped up school for their summer vacation yesterday and with that came a passing comment from my seven year old daughter that she’d be using the little computer at home for next while. Whoa. Average computer display sizes have continued to expand in the two years since I bought this model (my wife isn’t buying into that argument, so no 24 inch iMac for me), but I don’t think we’re at the point where 20 inches is considered little, yet.

But it was a pointed reminder of just how quickly things can change. The kids’ school has been installing SMART boards in the classrooms for the past few years, so the computer that they use on a daily basis all school year has a display that measures around seven feet as opposed to the piddly 20 inch thing at home. And the one at school lets them use finger input to manipulate data and digital ink pens to draw onscreen and practice their handwriting.

The cool factor and the sheer evolutionary aspect of this technology at that age level is probably even more apparent to me than most people my age; I’m not that old (40 is the new 30, right?), but I grew up in Stratford, a rather quaint city that was thoroughly fixated with all things Shakespeare. Which meant that all through primary school, I was forced to use a quill pen and an inkwell (not the Mac handwriting recognition software) whenever I wrote anything –Shakespeare certainly didn’t have access to a ballpoint pen, after all. I don’t think Shakespeare ever played lacrosse either, but that didn’t stop it from being a mandatory component of Grade Seven gym at King Lear school –I think the school board had consistency issues…

So, we are talking extremes here, but from my perspective, this is what Grade One classroom technological advancement looks like within the space of a single generation. I just wish we could get a few of these SMART boards for the office. Then maybe we could hire my kids to come in on a consulting basis and teach us how to use them…
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