The Apple Store always amazes me.
Regardless how many times I have been inside these stores, I always leave with an excited smile on my face, giddy about the technological experience I just had. Today was no different. I went to exchange a Christmas present, and was immediately greeted by a handy salesmen who was eager to help me. After telling him my problem, he took total care of me, showing me where to find what I was looking for, and even assisting me in making the decision! When I was done, Mr. Mac-Employee pulled out an iPhone-ish device, scanned the bar code on my receipt with it, plugged in my contact information, and e-mailed me a receipt all on the same handheld contraption.
And that was it!
That simple. No standing in line, waiting for things to print, searching through the computer, or handwriting information; just a scan, a quick e-mail, and I was done.
Walking out, I couldn’t help but smile because yet again, technology had proved to be the fastest and easiest thing to use to make everyday situations somehow smoother.
But that wasn’t the only thing this experience made me think; my brief trip to the Apple store was a perfect example of how we should be using technology in schools.
The technology in the store was a tool, a compliment to the sales worker, and a way to make him and what he was doing more efficient- it did not take the sales worker’s place. And that’s exactly how it should be viewed in schools! No one wants technology to replace the teacher; it should be a tool to help the teacher’s instruction be more effective and meaningful for the student. Technology is not a substitute for good teaching (or good sales tactics- my salesman was still knowledgeable and friendly), it’s to be used to enhance learning, expose and open student’s views, and create an instant, collaborative learning environment for today’s children.
Too many teachers fear technology will make them obsolete, make their jobs, their curriculum, their area of expertise not needed, but that is not the case. Technology, used correctly, should not replace the teacher. It should improve the learning and motivation in the classroom, and help prepare our kids for the 21st century world where all sales clerks will have handheld devices that scan barcodes and e-mail receipts to customers through their online address book.