Pods of the Future and Automation

Pods from the Future School Built 1987 (3)I read the title of this post with my tongue firmly placed in my cheek. These pods at my school were made in the mid 80’s and really serve no special function other than retro aesthetic. I used the picture to make the point of how technology is always changing. I recall in 1997 when I started teaching in Santa Ana Unified, the computers were all early iMacs. Remember those ugly beasts? If it ate your CD-Rom, you had to send it out. AND they were inordinately heavy. We had the money to buy tons of equipment that no one knew how to use. It was often a drag when you wanted to scan something but no one had taken it out of the box yet due to ignorance. Still, we knew classroom websites were coming and we believed they would happen to us. Unofrtunately, with technology in education you have to make things happen. It rarely “happens to you.” Now, all these years later, similar bottlenecks stall progress. In addition, much technology lines the halls of storage rooms never to be used, now completely obsolete.

I wonder what the classroom of the future will look like. We have pitched so much. So many great and innovative ideas have come and gone down the pike never to have come to full fruition. I’m excited to say that the classroom website seems to be blossoming finally. Thanks to a colleague, I have made the leap of faith into running my own. My best advice to those starting is to just offer files of the basics like rules and rubrics and then check in at a reasonable rate. For me now it is once a week. Write an update to your parents. They appreciate that. If you have an extension and an email, leave that on the site so they have a point of contact. Voila! You have the beginnings of a successful website. I was just having coffee with the webmaster for our union local and we came to the realization that the summary of our technical meeting was one word: “Automation.” Somehow the designers of these pods thought they were moving toward that. The concept is timeless and it’s what everyone wants. The essential question of education and problem solving should be: “What is the shortest and easiest way to solve this problem?” That is called Occum’s Razor. We will inevitably see many things come and go in education but as long as you stay in “Occum’s boat” you’ll fare well. Bon Voyage as well all travel from the now into the future where the now will be most assuredly alive and well. I hope to streamline in once I get there.

Author: Damien Riley

Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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