Friday, February 18, 2011

Putting Things In Perspective

My Netbook use is quickly becoming "old hat" to me. I use it every day, so I think nothing of it most of the time as I go about my daily tasks. Today, Grandparents Day at our school, I was given the job of demonstrating our Netbook program and our Mimio electronic whiteboard tools to the grandparents who visited our school. I use a Mimio tablet all day long with my Macbook Pro. Today, I combined the Mimio and Netbook and brought only my Netbook to school. The Mimio software was running and visible on the whiteboard, and in the background Pandora provided music over my self-installed little Bose speakers. Of course, we played some "grandparent" music which the kids didn't particularly like (they're 10 years old), but the grandparents were impressed. With all of this set up, all I had to do when a student brought in his grandparents for a demo was to hand them the Mimio pen and let them "play" on the "board". The students did the demo while I visited with their grandparents.

Today, I learned my lesson for the day during conversations with the grandparents. Many of them are my age (I'm the proud grandparent of a 2-year-old), but several are a decade or so older than me. They reminisced about some of the same memories I have of fifth grade back in the day. However, some came from a two-room school, some attended a country school they had to walk to through snow and rain, and several other "old-fashioned" stories were told during the morning of visits from grandparents.

They were amazed and delighted to see the students demo our "21st Century Chalkboard." Later in the morning I used email, first on my Netbook, then later I followed up on my smart phone, to coordinate the retrieval of a forgotten student netbook with the parent of a child who had forgotten his when he went to McDonald's lunch with grandma and grandpa. I began to realize how much things have changed. The "good ole days" are gone, and we're in a new age.

Even though I've been using these tools for quite a while now, I'm still amazed at the changes that have occurred over just the past few years. Maybe some of the older grandparents will never go on the Internet or send an email, but their grandchildren carry a Netbook to school like we used to bring our books; and, they think nothing of it because it's just part of their growing-up experience. My grandchild was born into a home with two wireless laptops, and he comes to see grandpa, who has several laptops running 24/7/365. He'll likely never smell chalk dust, maybe not even Expo dust from a whiteboard. He does have his own set of Crayolas, though, so some things from the "good 'ole days" are still with us.