So...Are you still driving with the windows down and the air- conditioning blasting?

We spent the hot summer days at the beach for so many years. And on the trip home, we always did the same thing...jump in the car, blast the fan and dream of life inside a refrigerator.

But then I remember my first trip in a car with air conditioning! What luxury! Absolutely incredible to think about what was possible with technology.

The introduction of devices in education is very much like the introduction of air conditioning. Both require a change of habit and practice in order to realise its full benefits to transforming the environment.

If we still jump into the car on a hot summer's day, wind down the windows and

blast the air conditioning, we will not fully appreciate the change it could make to the environment. If you put your hand close enough to the air vent, you would feel that the air was cooler, but over time someone would realise that the new technology (air conditioning) was costing more to run and sucking the energy from the car, the financial costs and the energy-sapping factor would simply make air conditioning a waste of time in cars!

Another great example of how a change in technology has required a change in habit or practice is the development of the chainsaw.  Like an axe, a chainsaw is a tool designed to bring down trees.  However, if you use a chainsaw to hack at trees as you would with an axe, you will break the tool and not the tree!  Watch this chainsaw ad from New Zealand and see if you understand what I mean.

To buy a chainsaw just to use like an axe is a complete waste of money!

For some schools, this has been their experience during the introduction of devices in education. We have spent a tonne of money and effort on getting the tools into the school and learning how to use them but have not changed our practises within the classroom. We still drive around with the windows wound down.  If we took the time to wind up the windows and change some practices within the school now the technologies are available, we would reap the benefits of the changed environment.

If you settle on implementing new tools in the classroom at a substitutive level (eg, use the tools to do what you have always done in books), people will give up and not see the point.

Can you imagine buying a car without air conditioning or an axe to bring down a forest nowadays?  The new technology's success is only because people changed habits to maximise its benefits! 

Click here for another thought-provoking post on transforming education through devices