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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Classroom Observations

     The ceiling tiles were yellowing.  They curled at the corners and bowed out in the middles.  Too bright fluorescent lights hummed, buzzed, and flickered at a frequency just beyond human sensory capabilities.  The room was warm and dry, but smelled like it had been water damaged at one time.  A mix of formica tables, plastic chairs, and single desks with attached plastic chairs clustered in twos and threes like awkward cliquish teenagers and faced an aging white board.  Once brilliantly new, it had replaced an aging wood-framed green chalkboard.  The giant erasers and chalk nubs were gone, replaced  with dust-free multi-coloured markers and a single hand-sized "cleaning tool".  Their role, to communicate in written and diagrammatic form - to educate, was the same. 
     Elsewhere in the school other white boards were being taken down, some only half a decade old.  New projectors with attached interactive screens were taking over.  Slim and sleek laptop computers crammed with libraries of information continued their conquest, amalgamation, and subsumption of all previous media. Knowledge now came from boxes linked together with plastic ropes.  It shone through a light onto a screen and reflected back into the learners' brains.  Learning was still a safety meeting - nobody moves, nobody gets hurt - but the interface continued to evolve.  How much longer until a direct link between the box and the brain?  No interaction required just a chair and an on/off switch. 

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