I didn’t have a mirror on hand during our last TALL session, so someone else will have to tell me – did I turn shades of purple when Jim mentioned the article about brick and mortar bookstores becoming defunct?
As a true-to-the-end bibliophile, I can’t envision a world without books (or, for that matter, bookstores). A world where the unadulterated joys of turning physical pages and handling the heft (yes, it’s a good thing) of a physical book are absent is a world I would rather not be in. I understand that e-readers have made the process of reading much more convenient, but I believe the ease with which an act is carried out doesn’t necessarily make it more enjoyable. Hiking, for instance, is a long and arduous process and I’m sure someone might tout the installation of an airline roadway on a nature trail as more convenient, but I don’t think it would make the activity better.
That’s just my personal philosophy on books. The use of technology in classrooms is quite a different matter. I can see all the ways in which devices like iPads and laptops enhance the processes of teaching and learning. The Apple video that Alissa posted certainly made that clear. The one thing that concerns me, however, is that if a teacher wanted to maximize the benefits of technology as the teachers in the video had done, they would have to 1) become experts with their devices, to the point where they could wield them with comfort and unthinking ease, and 2) teach their students how to use them until they could also use them readily. To do this would take considerable time, and I suspect much of this would subtract time from what could have been spent on ‘low-tech’ skills such as note-taking, paraphrasing, and doing foot research. Additionally, if technology is progressing and spitting out new iterations of today’s devices so rapidly, would it be worth it to get them fully trained and acquainted with one, when a newer and better might come out the next year?
Or will paper and pencil someday go the way of Borders bookstores, making technology the sole vehicle for learning?