This week I am on the road visiting some of America’s most historical locations. Just in the past few days I’ve stopped in Monticello and Mt. Vernon. I must say that even with the handful of hours I’ve spent in these locations, I am awestruck on how efficient and productive their estates ran without the use of computer technology. There was no waste of any sort and they relied on the technological advances of their time to improve food supplies, keep the time, and communicate. Is that so different as what modern technology strives to do today?
Of course, I wouldn’t want to live in the “Good Old Days” of the Colonial era, but I do think that those Founding Fathers would have enjoyed and embraced the technological advances we have today. Both Jefferson and Washington were in desperate need of a copy machine. Jefferson invented the polygraph that would allow him to write two copies of any document instantly. The quality was definitely in beta form, but it did the job nonetheless. Washington, on the other hand, had to hire a personal secretary to copy every document for him. Talk about job security.
Secondly, Jefferson could have definitely a search engine with all the data he kept. Not only did he track the temperature twice a day no matter where he was, he kept records of every activity imaginable, wrote over 19,000 letters (boy that might be close to the number of emails many of us have written), and sold his personal 6,487 book volumes to start the Library of Congress. What would he have done with Google?
Today, I believe we are simply on the beginning stages of great technology integration with students. We are just discovering how to communicate and share with students great resources, history, and current events. We are scratching the surface of creating primary resources through Twitter and other social networks that document every thought and idea. The next few decades will take us where we cannot imagine, and I for one cannot wait to see what it will be. How about you?