Becoming better citizens of the world

Published 8:49 pm Friday, July 31, 2009

You know, when you’re sitting in class with your Trapper Keeper on your desk—a fresh game of Tetris on your original GameBoy, using your calculator watch to do your calculus homework in detention, and listlessly staring out the window—wondering when detention will be over, you start to daydream and conceive of things to come. Will school buses become hover-powered or will everyone just glide into school in a little bubble like Elroy Jetson? Will school lunches come in pill form where one needs only to add water to devour a full meal of fish sticks, tater-tots, and applesauce?

Then, one day, you read about the lucky young pupils at Mack Benn and Kilby Shores elementary schools that are now using videoconferencing exercises to enhance their communication skills and you realize…Hey, 1992 was a really long time ago. Time to stop daydreaming. Times have really changed. (You also realize that maybe if you had spent more on calculus homework and less on Tetris and listless daydreaming, all these technological advances would not be so awesome to you now. But, whatever. Stupid Nintendo.)

Seriously though, I really consider myself as someone who moves with the times but uses technology as I need it. I don’t run out and get the latest phone the second it comes out or the giant plasma screen television that massages your feet while you watch it or whatever (though that does sound awesome.). But when I see technology doing more than just tickling the jolly buttons of the masses, I get a little excited about what this world is becoming. And getting students ready to engage the technology they will face in the real world is just such a good example of technology being used, not just enjoyed.

In my school days, videoconferencing was in its infancy. I always thought it would be awesome to confab with other classes, pick the brains of other students, in other schools. And perhaps, it will be the goal of Suffolk schools to use this videoconferencing technology to take students beyond Suffolk, beyond the U.S., and into other countries. A little exposure can go a long way in educating Suffolk students—who probably get little to no exposure to other countries—on the traditions and culture of other lands. Videoconferencing is a great step towards making students better citizens of the world. So, soak it in kids, the future is here. Don’t just enjoy it. Use it to your every advantage.

I just hope technology doesn’t find a way to collect on detention time still owed by former students. I’d hate to have to serve the rest of my time via videoconference.