This was our presenter computer setup in Stilwell, Oklahoma, last week for a Celebrate Oklahoma Voices workshop held at Maryetta School.

New technology on top of old technology

The room where we held the training was outfitted with a Lightspan projector, which can receive a video signal wirelessly from a computer running special Lightspan software.

Lightspan projector

Unfortunately, Mac software was not available to use, so we just ran a VGA cable down from the projector to the laptops we used. I used both my MacBook Pro and a school-provided HP laptop to lead the training. The HP is shown in the first photo above.

I thought the juxtaposition of this “new technology” (the laptop and all the digital curriculum for our workshop) on top of the “old technology” (heavy, large, expensive textbooks) was an apt metaphor. In this workshop and others like it, we are helping educators learn to integrate and use digital technologies on top of and alongside of (in many cases) the existing, “analog” or paper-based curriculum. Without the “support” of the printed curriculum, in this case, the presenter laptops could not have connected to the projector and have been used effectively to communicate. While we may at times want to entirely replace the print-based curriculum with digital alternatives, I think in many cases this type of literal juxtaposition of digital on top of analog is both needed and beneficial.

One of our participants brought an old cassette tape recording of her brother playing the harmonica, and recorded it from a cassette player using a new Sony UX-80 mp3 digital audio recorder.

Photos and a Cassette Recorder

Her brother had been murdered about 15 years ago, and she created a touching tribute video to his life. She hasn’t published it to our learning community yet, but plans to soon. The draft she shared with us at the end of our workshop during our “show and tell” time was emotional and powerful.

Again in this case, we saw the analog and the digital come together. New technologies can and do co-exist with old technologies, and in some cases (like this one) literally breathe fresh life into old recordings as well as memories which might otherwise pass away and be forgotten. Through the power of digital storytelling, these stories live again.

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2 Responses to New technology on top of the old

  1. I regularly have a setup like yours in the classroom. I’ll have three or four random textbooks — they always seem to be lying around because kids respect them about as much as we teachers do (which is to say, almost not at all) — propping up my projector, where I’ve used PowerPoint or Keynote to create a slideshow with the relevant content for the “understanding” portion of a lesson.

  2. Good to see those literature textbooks being put to good use.

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