Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Tesla, the Toaster and the Teacher with a Tablet

Electric car,
1895 (Wikipedia)
Technology is advancing education, but this is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Consider the Tesla, the Toaster and the Teacher with a Tablet. Tesla cars look high tech, but underneath the streamlined body, there are four wheels driven by an electric motor and drawing power from a battery, just as electric cars did 100 years ago.

Toaster, from 1910s (Wikipedia)
Similarly a modern toaster has a streamlined plastic case, but this hides a steel frame with heated wires, and functions the same way an electric toaster did one hundred years ago. The toaster has a tiny electronic control board added to make it smart, just as the Tesla car has computers added to the hundred year old electric car design.

Stereoscope card illustrating
3D for home education,
1901 (Wikipedia).
In education, as in toasters and cars, a small amount of computer technology is added, to improve performance and add new features. But e-learning's shiny touch screens are built on a proven framework of pedagogy. Even something as new and advanced sounding as a 3D display for distance education, is more than one hundred years old.