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ICT - When new turns to old

What the lesson is about

If you once spent hours typing code into a BBC Basic computer, or recall browsing through cassette tapes when shopping for computer games, you will know how technology has progressed in the past 25 years, writes Matt Tippon. When I was 12, lessons in workplace technology would have involved understanding the mechanics of a typewriter and a bottle of Tipp-Ex. So, when I am teaching pupils how to use today's software and hardware, I wonder if they will look back with nostalgic humour.

In response to "What's the point of ICT, Sir?", I explain just how integral a part of their life technology is and how that will only increase. But how best to prepare them for this? Should we make an educated guess about what future technology will look, sound and feel like?

Should we discuss with them the possibility that within their lifetime technology may become "aware", that Kurzweil's "technological singularity" may be reached and the rights of "artificial intelligences" may need to be considered?

The problem is that students are unable to comprehend technology beyond their own time. I juxtaposed a cine film camera from the early 1970s against my smartphone. The students laughed and asked whether the old camera was used to film dinosaurs. But equally, they cannot imagine the technological possibilities of the future or how they may be affected by them.

All we can do is raise awareness of what may change and work with what we have.

Taking it further

See what other schools are doing to define an ICT vision of the future on Teachers TV.

Experiment with robots in the classroom by using Irobyn's Bee-Bot lesson plan and activities or QCDA_Resources' collection of floor-turtle tasks.

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