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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Rolla schools leading the way into digital age

  • Covering Rolla Board of Education meetings a couple of times a month reminds me regularly that the world is moving quickly - but I am not.
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  • Covering Rolla Board of Education meetings a couple of times a month reminds me regularly that the world is moving quickly - but I am not.
    A case in point: The iPad pilot project at the middle school and high school.
    Learning together, teachers and students are feeling their way with the new technology. Although they're familiar with texting and sending each other pictures, students are learning to use these technological wonders to take notes and do some of their lessons. Meanwhile, their teachers are figuring out ways to integrate these tools into their instructional plans.
    Looking ahead are members of the school board and the administration, and Technology Director Ginger King, as they use the iPad pilot project as part of a larger movement to become more "digital" in the classroom.
    In other words, the board and administration want to use computers in all their manifestations - desktop, laptop, notebook, etc. - to teach kids. For years, children have been learning on the desktop computers.
    Now that computers are becoming more miniature, there are new ways to use them and new things to learn. This is a good thing, although every time I hear about going digital, I turn into a curmudgeon and think about my own high school years when I had a slide rule, not even a calculator. Why can't kids earn their lessons without computers nowadays? That is the question I ask myself.
    Gone are those old-timey days, I realize and as I remember that we live in a different age, eon, epoch today than we did back when I was in high school and dinosaurs roamed the earth.
    Fighting computerization, I have over time embraced technology to a certain extent. I carry a TracPhone in my pocket each day, mostly so I can call my wife to let her know that I am on my way home from work or she can call me and tell me what to pick up at the grocery store before I come home.
    Rare is the time in the grocery store that I don't call her and ask her a question. I guess the use of phones, computers and the other technological gizmos has made life easier and more convenient. I have experienced it, seen it and ear-witnessed it myself.
    Over the past half dozen years, I have several times been privy to the use of technology in the conduct of business in a most unusual way. I work by day at a big-box store where a lot of building contractors and their employees do business.
    Many times, I have stood at a urinal and heard a voice coming from a stall saying something like, "How many two-by-fours did he say we needed?" or "I've got the lumber. They're loading it now. Did he show up yet"
    Page 2 of 2 - That just goes to show that technology makes us more efficient.
    How amazing is the 21st Century? Truly amazing, for thanks to small, wireless pones, we can conduct business everywhere, even while using the toilet.
    Everyone probably has a story to tell about the unusual use of a cellphone, smartphone, netbook, laptop or whatever else they call these modern gadgets.
    Couple of years ago - no it was longer ago than that but it was in the 21st Century - I was in the restroom after watching a movie in a Springfield theater. From a stall came a voice that said, "I'd like to place an order. I'd like a large pepperoni to go. And a bottle of Coke. I'll be there in about 20 minutes."
    Really, now, can you top that? That guy just got out of a movie, had to take care of some personal business, but didn't want to wait to go to a pizza joint and place an order. He didn't even want to wait and call until he was finished with his business.
    And thanks to his miniature, wireless telephone, he didn't have to. He called the pizza parlor from atop the porcelain throne at the movie house.
    Perhaps that is what is meant by the term multi-tasking, for he was doing two things at once, taking care of personal business and taking care of pizza business.
    Please forgive me for being so "earthy" today, but I just wanted to share my observations on how deeply into our lives, the digital media have rooted.
    Earthy uses, artistic uses, literary uses, scientific uses and more - all are being investigated and used in our local schools as board members, administrators and faculty members embrace the digital age for the benefit of children.
    Rolla again is leading the way.
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