Make Believe Today, Reality Tomorrow!

Posted on May 8, 2009. Filed under: General |

Jeff McCoy

I don’t know about you, but technology impacts every part of my life. There are days I curse it because it fails to do anything it’s suppose to do and then there are days where I can’t imagine my life not being surrounded by it!! I don’t usually consider myself a geek when it comes to technology because I’m not really technical. I really don’t care how it works as long as it works. Don’t bore me with the details. But, on the other hand, if you walk into my house, it is filled with all the technology gadgets I can get my hands on. My friends from time to time get annoyed with me because every time I see new technology, I immediately began brainstorming how I could see it being used in the classroom. I guess the teacher in me is never really gone. There are so many new and exciting technologies on the verge of being released that will have a profound impact on education today.

I always love seeing new movies because the technology always seems so futuristic. Many times it is, but realistically, the reality is usually not that far off from the fiction. As I travel around doing consulting work from time to time, district administrators always ask me what the newest thing is going to be. That’s always a hard question to answer because who would have thought we would be where we are today in such a short amount of time. I’m not sure any of us really predicted where we would be in 2009.  However, you can be sure of one thing, if you want to know what is coming, look to the movies. Hollywood has a knack for creating technology that seems to turn into a reality just a few years.

You might guess that thinking blocks sounds like something right out of a science fiction movie, but it is not.  A new invention by David Merrill called Siftables has the potential to change the way teachers define manipulatives. According to David Merrill, an MIT grad, Siftables are “computerized tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands. These future-toys can do math, play music, and talk to their friends, too”. Wow, toys that actually do math, talk to each other, and change based on the interaction with other Siftables? It would be well worth your time to watch this seven minute demonstration on the new Siftables. It is exciting as an educator to think about the potential this technology might have in education. Students can literally have intelligent manipulatives in their hands. This technology is new, but I have no doubt that in a year or two, it will be in classrooms and being used in great ways to educate children. The exciting thing about technology innovation today is that it continues to take children to the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. With Siftables, students are not only learning, but creating content as well.

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    The School District of Greenville County – Instructional Technology Department

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