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Classroom tech began with punch cards, dial-up and floppy discs
President Steve Scott compares the array of devices that are now contained within a smartphone.

Classroom tech began with punch cards, dial-up and floppy discs

When President Steve Scott opened the 20th annual Technology and the Classroom Conference on June 3, he took a moment to remember some of his early experiences teaching about the use of classroom technology.

When President Steve Scott opened the 20th annual Technology and the Classroom Conference on June 3, he took a moment to remember some of his early experiences teaching about the use of classroom technology.

“I’ll never forget doing a workshop on the Internet and we were on dial-up,” the president said, describing in detail the pain of waiting for images to slowly appear on the screen. “It was a different era.”

Scott, who as dean of the College of Education founded the conference, said his journey with classroom technology began with punch cards in the basement of Hughes Hall. He recalled a steady march of technological advances, including the Commodore 64 and floppy discs and showed slides of various devices that today have been replaced by smartphones and other mobile devices.

“Think about how life has changed and our language has changed over the past 20 years,” Scott said.

He told the nearly 200 K-12 teachers at the conference that one of the most powerful developments in recent years is the use of video.

“Today, it’s all about the video,” Scott said, “and it’s all about mobile.”

He noted that thousands of people view the videos that the university produces for its website and 60-70 percent are doing so on mobile devices.

The pace of technological change may have slowed a bit as the Internet and mobile devices have begun to saturate markets around the globe, Scott said, but the impact of technology on our everyday lives will only continue to grow.

“In today’s world, everyone needs a high level of technology skills,” Scott said.

He urged the teachers to embrace classroom technology, but to do so with a critical eye.

“The use of technology should focus on its appropriateness and effectiveness,” Scott said. “It has got to add value and it has got to make sense. Be open to trying new things. Be adaptable and agile. Be willing to fail and be willing to reject technology when it fails, doesn’t add value or detracts.”

Following the president’s remarks, the participants spent the remainder of the day in small-group sessions where they learned about the effective use of technology to improve teaching practices and student learning, research-based best practices for classroom technology integration and project-based learning.

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