Technological advancements and children

Technology has impacted the lives of all humans around the globe, but none more than children. Technology has reshaped the way we are able to teach and convey knowledge, allowing for information to be shared in mere seconds. As an adult student returning for a bachelor’s degree in computer science, I have a unique perspective on the applications of technology in learning for children. Technology was not as prevalent in my youth, and teachers would tell us we won’t have a calculator hiding in our pockets when we grow up; look at us now, Mr. Ford. I can remember my freshman year of high school, High Tech High San Diego, California; the year was 2000. We had just survived Y2K, and I was beginning high school at a new charter school focused on technology. Some of the things that they showed us, the concepts they brought to fresh young minds fueled by technological advancements of my youth, were absolutely mind-blowing to me then. There was: 3D modeling, where we created 3D animations for videos or games, applied Physics, where we built a hovercraft. I took a neuroscience class in which my partner and I dissected a whole goat’s head to learn about the delivery of blood to the brain and the lobes of the brain, and so much more. But Dr. Walters holds the trophy for blowing my mind with his technological predictions for the advancements of technology that benefit the realm of education. He challenged us to consider that there would be a handheld device, like a blackberry, only larger and more interactive, he told us, that would be able to visually teach us things with small video segments of learning instruction. He set us to design early instances of math lessons using such technology, imagining two bar graphs representing two wholes being combined to represent the sum of four wholes to display the simple 2+2=4 arithmetic in a visual representation. We implemented this concept using Flash animations, creating animated videos of small arithmetic lessons and compiling them together as a lesson plan. Today, my children are using large-screen tablet computers to complete their remote learning school lessons; and their video lessons contain advanced versions of the Flash animations we created 21 years ago in anticipation of these moments. It’s almost surreal to have been conceptualizing these things 21 years ago in school with my peers. Technology has come so far in my few years on this planet. Where once I would have had to spend hours at the various libraries throughout the city to complete my research for a project before high school, I now have access to all of the information I could ever need right at my fingertips. My daughter loves coding, and I can only imagine that, to some degree, she will be involved in a similar process during her lifetime. Finding herself imagining the technology that her children might use to make learning easier and more accessible. I wonder if she will help to conceptualize the implementation of neural integration or applied quantum theories? Looking at where things are now, compared to when I was a kid, it seems that quantum computing could be the next wave that she or her peers could see brought into the forefront of access for their educational needs. Imagine being able to test your hypotheses in a quantum computer to complete your research documents. Oh, what a time to live.

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