Cominius, a medieval Philosopher of education, believed it was important to know things but it was most important that we could put what we know to work.
The wall from classroom is filled with maps, pictures of writers and other important people, and artwork. If students just learn to recognize the maps and such without knowing about what is important about the maps and such and how to make use of that knowledge to enrich their daily lives these pictures on the wall are not worth much no matter how pleasing they are to the eye.
This is a value of the iPad (or any piece of technology that enables students to read, write, and research from their desks). Students can explore instantaneously what piques their curiosity and curiosity is the teacher's best friend. Students may think to lookup these things later, but, just like most of their teachers, when they leave the room and the images no longer exert their influence, students are likely to forget to check these things out.
Today I asked students to look at the quotes, pictures, maps, and posters and select one to investigate. They then used their iPads to investigate their selection. If, for example, they selected the travel poster for the South Seas they may want to investigate the South Seas. They are then to report back on what they found especially meaningful to them about that which they investigated. I am hoping students select something that truly captures their imaginations as curiosity and excitement improve retention. In the poster on my wall (the same as the poster to the right) I think the airplane, the geography, and the water, among other things, very attractive. Those with an interest in business might be curious about Pan Am Airlines and what has become of it. There might be a lesson there for future entrepreneurs. We have also been trying to figure out ways to send documents back and forth and experimented with apps called Catch and Move with a modicum of success. We are continuing to work on this problem, but have not as yet hit upon a satisfactory solution.
Technology can take us in many directions. We can learn the nuts and bolts of it, how to fix it,how to use it, and how to improve it. This is all very useful and necessary. But we should also be considering how the technology shapes our lives, for the better and for the worse, and where the technology can take us. If the technology is to be used effectively to make our futures more meaningful and pleasant we need to think carefully about its potential use and misuse, but also about its power as a tool of creativity and the imagination.