By now most of us have probably heard of Pink Shirt Day. If you haven’t heard of it — or if you’ve forgotten — here’s a brief description of the event that started a nation-wide trend of wearing pink in February:
Why Wear Pink?
The idea of wearing pink originated from a 2007 story in Nova Scotia where a Grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt one day.
That same day two students decided to take a stand. They went out, bought 50 pink shirts, and then that evening contacted most of their friends over social media.
The next day before school, these two students handed out 50 pink shirts to these friends and classmates. It was an incredibly visible way to show support for their bullied friend.
SEA OF PINK
Fair warning — this blog is a little long, especially with the embedded videos. You don’t need to actually watch the videos to understand the content, but they really do help to bring the information home. I suggest setting aside about 10-15 minutes for this blog. It’s long because I find this topic extremely fascinating. You’ve been warned!
I entered the incredible world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at a recent educational leadership event. I heard from and interacted with a number of highly respected researchers, thinkers, and leaders in the world of AI. It was a truly exhilarating learning experience.
As part of the presentation, the history of computers, the Web 1.0 and 2.0, AI and a number of other computer-centric advances were graphed for us as a function of their capabilities over time.
As you can see from the graph below, the capability of individual PCs and mainframe computers are well past their prime. However, the relatively recent presence of smart machines, analytics and big data have been gaining in strength, but are now slowly starting to level off. Look at the purple AI line. It’s becoming vertical — more so every year. AI is literally exploding into our world unlike any other computer-based technology — EVER!
At times, I felt uncomfortable hearing about AI and it’s influence on our world, but I was also excited at the possibilities that lie ahead.
With so many changes happening in educational technology, it’s particularly easy to get lost in all of the hype and hyperbole. New technology in education really isn’t the goal — instead, technology should be the tool or innovation we might use to more fully achieve the learning potential of our students — increasing their engagement and personal empowerment.
Cool But Kind of Useless
Let’s be clear — some technology is just plain useless. We need to be ever vigilant to not head down the rabbit hole of “shiny and new is always better”. The tech needs to make sense. It needs to make learning better, not just flashier.
I’m not an expert on ‘everything tech’ — probably never will be. But, you don’t have to be an expert in technology to ask some of the important questions:
What does this technology ENABLE that wasn’t possible without it?
Does it truly INNOVATE the learning or just replace something that is ‘less-techy’?
Can it provide greater ACCESS for some students that wasn’t possible before the tech?