What is our heritage?
I remember when I was about 12 years old, my homeroom teacher talked about the chalkboard, once considered to be the latest technology. I laughed; in fact, we all did. I thought to myself, a chalkboard is not wired, it doesn’t play music or play movies. Technology is Walkmans and VCRs, not chalkboards! Now to start with one of my biggest lessons on how everything blossoms from something. An idea can be far removed from the realm of our day-to-day existence at first. It may seem impossible, but with like minded people, we can put the idea into motion.
I am 35 years old and grew up in a time when there was one computer laboratory for a school of 1200. Since computers were the new technology, we would huddle around it, trying to figure out how it worked, how it could play games and interact like a human. However, whether it was because of choices the school made or because computer technology was in its early stages, we used the computer mainly to develop our typing skills and to make our essays prettier.
Now in 2016, there’s an endless source of services available to help create student engagement and save teachers time. I know that these are just tools for teachers to have in their toolbox, but it’s amazing how far e-technology has come. Blended learning is now standard practice for classrooms; creating independent learners is now a realistic option for all students. Helping build student confidence is now achievable with on the spot rewards for effort. I think back often to my homeroom teacher Mr. Harvey and when he talked about the chalkboard being the latest technology. We all laughed, just like we all laugh now at the idea of virtual classes centered around Google glasses.
What does the future hold for our classrooms? Does it make sense to put district money into Apple products because of the applications, or does Chromebook make more sense because of the cloud? One thing we all know is that we’ll always need great teachers to inspire, challenge and stand strong with the students. We know that math helps predict the future and that education helps us navigate our way to success, but what tools will classes use in the future?
At Netmath, we make it a priority to keep history alive with our missions. We want students to learn with Aryabhata, Euclid and Professor Quetelet. We believe that history is as important as the future. We work very hard to harmonize the two. By doing this, we create student engagement in a gamification way. This always puts a smile on teachers’ faces, because it is done in a way that is rooted in exploring and discovering. Whether we work with chalkboards, projectors or iPads, we’re all in it together, and we all will learn.
Peter Kopp, one of the wonderful brains behind Netmath