Skip to main content

Swinging a sack of doorknobs

This past weekend, the traditional Fall ritual took place, of stuffing hundreds of dollars of school supplies into backpacks that will then be placed on my children's backs, giving them a hunchback that would make Quasimodo jealous. As I was trying to cram in just one more 1.5-inch 3 ring binder, I started asking myself... "Self, why in the world are we teaching these kids to subsist on physical media still???" I didn't bother to answer my own question, because that would have made it a 2-way conversation, and I think there's supposedly something wrong with talking to yourself. But, I did start to take stock of all the paper, pens, pencils and composition books, and realized that maybe our education system needs to start embracing technology beyond learning PowerPoint, and playing Math Blaster.

OK, I realize I'm being a little harsh there, but my point is that when I look at how I use technology in my work and personal life, it's very often as a productivity and communication tool. For example, one of the most common uses for an iPad around my office, is running Evernote, and using it as a virtual notebook for meetings. A tablet is a great tool for meetings because it's not as distracting as an entire laptop, but it can get the job done for most meeting tasks. So as I packed one more composition notebook in my son's bulging chiropractor-financial-support-device, I wondered... shouldn't our kids be learning to use tablets for note taking now? Before they get into the workforce?

Then I started having memories of last Spring when school ended. My son literally threw away his entire backpack on the last day of school. Ya we weren't too happy about that, and had to go back and retrieve some stuff, but the point was that 90% of what his backpack was filled with was notes that he didn't need anymore. I then remembered the box in the basement that contains my graduate degree files. It's filled with folders and folders of notes that I don't ever look at, and probably never will again. That's reams and reams of paper that will just hit the recycling bin and be made in to paper again that will get notes written on it and then thrown into a recycling bin...

So maybe the time as come to trim back to school shopping lists. I'd love to have a list for my kids that looks more like this:

  1. Pack of Pencils and one notebook (Still need an occasional physical note)
  2. DropBox.net school sponsored account for cloud storage of documents
  3. Tablet computer with a school sponsored package of software
I realize this is a tall order to change things so dramatically, but I'd love to see it happen in my kids educational lifetime. To start, it will require heavy sponsorship of the technology in areas where families can't afford a tablet or a home computer, but I think the pay-off would be incredible in equipping our kids for the workforce of the future.

Popular posts from this blog

Push it... push it real good...

The other day I got a chance to play with the new Apple force touch trackpad. This is a new design that Apple has put on their laptops for non-mechanized clicking on trackpad. When you press on the trackpad it senses the force that you're pressing with, and when you reach a certain level, you feel a 'click'. If you keep pressing, you feel a second 'click'. The unique thing is that these 'clicks' aren't physical in nature. The trackpad never moves at all, but the click that you feel is from haptic feedback. In essence, when you press with enough force, the trackpad clicks back at you. You feel the sensation of clicking, but it's simply the trackpad responding to your pressure.

I got to play with this for a while, since the Apple Store rep was talking with us about soccer, and after a short bit I was getting the hang of it. I feel that it would take quite a bit longer though to really feel comfortable with this new paradigm. I'm someone who has a …

The beat goes on

Yesterday Apple revealed their long awaited entry into the streaming music field. They were able to do this quickly because of the acquisition of Beats last year, and the systems and intellectual property that came with that purchase. Considering that the music reveal was pretty much the only big news out of a pretty benign developer keynote, I'll take a few moments to talk about what I think about it.

Apple was perhaps the defining company in the music revolution of the past 20 years. With the introduction of the iPod that revolutionized portable music, to the creation of the iTunes store and the eventual death of DRM, Apple has been at the forefront of digital music. This leadership comes with high expectations to continue to lead, and so many people have long questioned Apple not getting into the streaming music business quicker.

For the past few years new companies have come forth to lead the change in the streaming music evolution. From Pandora and its ability to create uniqu…

CES 2015 quick notes

One of the fun technology events every year is the Consumer Electronic Show. I've never had the opportunity to attend this in person, but maybe now that I have family in Vegas I should try and make it out some year. CES is a huge event that highlights some of the cool and crazy stuff that all the big consumer electronics companies are working on, and attempting to bring to market. Since I've been laid up sick for the past day and a half, I've been catching up on the news feeds of all the stuff that's currently coming out.

Although CES isn't strictly laptop and computer focused, computer companies still play a major role. This year, I'm seeing a lot of emphasis on thin and light computing devices. ASUS and Lenovo have both released some exceptionally light weight laptops, and hybrid tablets, that give the MacBook Air line a run for it's money. Additionally, HP is building off the success of it's Stream line of Chromebook competitors with an HP Stream Min…