I was listening to Leo Laporte’s show TWIT the other day and he said something about “Cyber Monday.” That is the made-up Monday after Black Friday. Supposedly back in the ’90s and early 2000s, people would go to work on Monday to their “fast” internet connection and then find deals online.
What got me thinking is that I do remember the days of dial up internet at home and how frustrating it was to shop online before the days of DSL. And I also remember going to school to download large files from fellow teachers and others. Often I would have people email them to my school account because it was too laborious to download them from home. Often these files were for work anyway, but I would transfer them to a ZIP (100MB) disk to take home to read/use later.
Now, we are in the opposite mode. My home connection is often way faster than my work internet. I find myself forwarding large files to my personal email to download at home and then bring to school on a USB (4GB) stick. I also find myself searching for resources at home because so many blogs, web 2.0 sites and wikis are blocked by the school’s filter.
When did we get so backward in the education world? Yes, we have much more tech in my classroom and my school than we did 10 years ago. But in comparison to what most people have in their homes, in their backpack (laptop) or on their phone – we are falling behind in tech. We are falling behind in the speed and capabilities of our tech. At my school we still use Windows XP. With the release of Windows 7, we are now two full operating systems behind. It is the same in my Mac lab, where we still use CS2 InDesign and OSX 10.4 Tiger. Snow Leopard has been out for a while now (OSX 10.6).
I have students bring me docx files all the time. As far as I know, we do not have a computer on campus that can open that file. We are using Office 2003, which is now six years old. Sure it still works, but to most students it must seem nearly as old fashioned as an IBM Selectric.
I wonder how bad it will have to get before we do finally move forward. When will educators finally get tired of being able to do more with their phone than their work computer?
Ten years ago I had email at work, and one at home that barely worked well. I had a dial-up connection at home that got 33.3 Mps on a good day a 10-Base T Internet connection via Ethernet at school. I had an old Mac at home that could barely access the Internet. (an old LCII I think). But at school, we had two brand new Macs and 6-8 older ones that all accessed the ‘net at a decent speed. They were all running OS8.5 or OS9, while at home I think I just barely updated to OS8.0.
Kids must come to school and think – how quaint, an old computer. Some days I wonder if we should just start running DOS again as slow as our network can run.
I know that updating all of a district’s computers (we have 27 campuses) and software would be very expensive. I don’t doubt that is a huge issue. But what’s the cost of a student who is being educated to use tools that are already obsolete by today’s standards? Never mind tomorrow’s. I don’t have the answers. I wish somebody did.
I guess I’ll just have to go home and view some high speed LOLz.