March 15, 2018
Emerging Technologies students gain a big perspective on tomorrow's tech
Over the last decade, parents and educators have been truly challenged to discover ways for children to interact with technology in a positive way. We all experience the considerable pace of communications technology advances, but we seldom get the chance to consider how current and emerging technologies will shape society in the future. Yet this is exactly one of the several main goals of the Emerging Technologies elective at the Senior High. Thus far, students in Mr. Amante’s class have experienced some cutting-edge educational technology, defined personal learning goals, and have begun to consider the societal impact of advancing technologies. Mr. Amante has been opening his classroom to several guest educators and is avidly designing some additional learning experiences for the weeks ahead.
Students began considering the impact of technology implementation on the first day of class. They did so by considering what the experts in the technology field say may be the best ways to prepare for a future increasingly reliant on technology. Students learned that many experts in the fields of research, technology, and business believe we are entering a Fourth Industrial Revolution, one focused on artificial intelligence and its role in everyday life. “Students are conducting ongoing research and presenting it to their peers,” Amante said, “essentially learning from each other about how, as just one example, robotic automation is changing manufacturing worldwide.”
Based on a classroom poll, students have shown a significant interest in drone technology, and as the seasons turn from winter to spring, Mr. Amante will be able to allow students to explore those interests more fully with the use of the district drone. “Even though it’s an elective course, I think it is essential,” New Hartford junior Thomas Moe said, “because clearly our future relies on technology and this class helps us to determine what’s coming and how it will impact us.”
The class has also tested the effectiveness of emerging educational technology. For example, the class had a chance to test the HTC Vive Virtual Reality experience with Derek LaLonde of MORIC Model Schools. Students conducted their own demonstration of Google Tilt Brush, a 3D art software that saves artworks to their Google Drive. LaLonde explained that the impact of these virtual learning experiences comes from students being immersed in unique locations and situations. “It is one thing to see an image in a book or on the web of a shark or the Great Pyramids,” LaLonde said, “and there is a base understanding of what these things look like. It is another thing to be virtually placed in these same environments where students can experience the true nature of what they are learning about.”
Ultimately, students will discover how emerging technologies align with future job and lifestyle opportunities. Soon, students will have a chance to visit several community leaders in the field of high tech. Will these students end up contributing their own ideas to the world of technology? While that remains to be seen, the class was inspired by MVCC thINCubator Director Ryan Miller to use their class time wisely to begin the development of the next great idea now. “Don’t wait to be discovered,” Miller told the class, “put your plan in motion today because you’ll wish you had ten years from now.”