In 1999, Disney released a film called Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century (IMDB rating of 6.5 by the way; although, my pre-teen self thought it was way better than that!) I was enamoured by the concept of living and working in a space station. The year was 2049 and the film showed technology of the future such as tablets and video calling. The children went to school by entering these rooms where computer workstations were clustered together and, in the middle, a hologram of the teacher would appear. Lectured lessons would continue from the previous day and students were able to research on their computers at the same time. The protagonist, Zenon Kar, inserted an ear piece and changed her computer screen to watch and listen to music videos. And thus the movie begins. . . Hologram teachers, what?!
Fast forward to today and we have the ability to Facetime or use Google Hangouts to hear AND see the people we are speaking to – like Zenon! I love it! I use it often so I can have Facetime dates with my puppy back home!
Will education as we know it change because of technology?
You mean changing – present tense. It is constantly changing and we have to keep pace. As a student, I loved library days because I was able to search for answers using the colorful encyclopaedias. But now, if we are curious about a topic or have a question about anything, we have Google at our fingertips. The information is instant! I have a Pinterest board dedicated to music education. There are numerous Facebook groups where we discuss pedagogy and share lessons. Twitter, although I’m still a novice, is a great space to share the latest and greatest. Curious: I find the timeline for learning a bit condensed. I sometimes wonder whether or not we truly have a deep understanding of our content because there’s so much out there, we’re always on the receiving end and there’s no time for contemplation. Do I sound crazy?
Where and how will you be teaching in 5, 10, 15 years time?
Considering my nomadic tendency as an international teacher, who knows where I will be teaching in a few years time. However, one can dream that in the future, a fine arts department would have private, soundproof practice rooms where instructors are beamed via hologram – wait. Do holograms “beam” like in Star Trek? But it’s my dream, so, yes! – and provide lessons to students who do not have access to professional instructors who already work in the building. If an ensemble were to play a piece of music, each instrument’s part, through some fantastical tech device, would then be transcribed or notated so that it’s written. I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators of Tapspace would be the first to create such tech. From my experience as a performer and using their software Virtual Drumline for composing percussion ensemble pieces, the idea doesn’t seem so far fetched. I mean, go check out the movie Drumline and watch the scene where music is written and printed by some sort of “machine” after only being played by the drummers. Someone HAS to be thinking of this tech already!
No child left behind
No, not THAT one. But think of places such as the far regions of the Amazon rainforest, where, as it stands, they have limited to no technology at their disposal. They live in what we consider an antiquated lifestyle, and yet, they seem content with their way of life. Do we have the right to impose technology? Maybe the introduction of a mobile device like a cell phone is what they are willing to embrace even though everyone else is light years ahead in terms of technology. How will we cope with this world wide technological divide?
Just some food for thought for the week. Happy April, everyone!