Do you need a faster horse?

Henry Ford is famously quoted as saying: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Now except for the obvious criticism that the statement does  not give enough credit to the role of customers in the business world, it does make one think about your use of technology. I am wondering how many faster horses I have in my closet… (and you?)

Seth Godin in this post emphasizes again that “a car is not merely a faster horse”. This made me think about educationalist and their use of “new” technologies…

  • Do we see e-mail as merely a replacement for the postal system?
  • What about Instant Messaging systems and mobile messaging such as Mxit. What about twitter?  Are all of these just faster e-mail?
  • Do you see Sharepoint as just another way of sharing documents? What about so-called Learning Management Systems such as moodle or blackboard?
  • Is YouTube just a convenient place to find some nice videos?
  • Do you use Facebook as a noticeboard or just another e-mail system?

Do you think these technologies have a place in education? Do you use it for something more than just “a faster horse” (replace faster with cheaper, more convenient, … and it still works).

I do believe that the proper use of “new” technologies can help creating a better learning experience, that is enhance the learning opportunities that we created for our students. Do I have all the answers? Unfortunately no…

Therefore, do help me and leave your comments, ideas, and suggestions in the comments below.


2 Responses to Do you need a faster horse?

  1. Laurie says:

    But some of these new technologies now have different uses than originally planned. According to Mxit’s corporate website, Mxit started as a sms based multiplayer game – and then turned into an mobile IM system.

    Twitter seems to have become more of a broadcast mechanism instead of a facility to allow friends to keep in touch with each other.

    And even the car has become much much more than just a “faster horse”. Look at drive through fast food, motorhomes, and DVD players for the back seat passengers.

    • rabotha says:

      Indeed, my point exactly. We plan for a faster horse, but get…? My question then is how do we turn these technologies into more than just a faster horse, specifically in education…

      Of course, you already have one brilliant idea i.t.o. Dr Math over Mxit… definitely not just a faster horse…

      The question is, what else?

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