A nation’s economy can be divided into different sectors.
If you took away technology from the primary sector (raw goods) of our economy – agriculture, mining, forestry, farming, fishing, quarrying – the work of most employees in most locations would shut down immediately. The sector would be at a standstill.
If you took away technology from the secondary sector (finished goods) of our economy – automobiles, textiles, chemicals, engineering, aerospace, energy, breweries, construction, shipbuilding – the work of most employees in most locations would shut down immediately. The sector would be at a standstill.
If you took away technology from the tertiary sector (service industry) of our economy – retail and wholesale sales, transportation and distribution, entertainment, restaurants, clerical services, media, tourism, insurance, banking, health care, law – the work of most employees in most locations would shut down immediately. The sector would be at a standstill.
If you took away technology from the quaternary sector (intellectual activities) of our economy – government, culture, libraries, scientific research, information technology – the work of most employees in most locations would shut down immediately. The sector would be at a standstill.
If you took away technology from K-12 or postsecondary educators, who are part of the quaternary sector, the work of most employees in most locations (i.e., teachers and professors) would remain fairly unaffected. Although there would be a few hiccups or inconveniences, the core work of core employees – teaching – could proceed, business as usual.
The only industries that I can think of that would remain similarly unaffected are the custodial and residential construction industries – folks with mops and hammers.
You wouldn’t think so in our district. The calls start coming in less than 5 minutes after a network problem.
While most of the work effected would be administrative (attendance, grade keeping, finance, IEPs, test taking, data access, etc.), this infrastructure allows teachers to teach. With more and more teachers using online resources, data projectors and SmartBoards, and requiring electronic work submission, the classroom is being impacted on an increasingly larger scale as well.
If you are interested, you’re welcome to come down to Mankato tomorrow where we will be doing through-put testing on the WAN, requiring each building be off-line one hour sometime during the day. You might find the phone calls interesting 😉
For what it’s worth,
Hi Doug, I appreciate your constructive comments. I think I’m trying to stress the fact that, a few Internet sites and SmartBoards aside, most teachers’ instruction wouldn’t suffer if technology disappeared. Your points about the administrative technologies facilitating their teaching are well taken – thanks for keeping me honest! Now if teachers would only do more meaningful tech integration (or if more districts were like yours)…
I agree we need to see more instructional uses of technology on a daily basis. We certainly see many administrative uses of technology, but I don’t think many of those have really transformed teaching practice. That is certainly not the case in the classrooms of innovators, and it sounds like Doug has many of those in his district. From where I sit, however, I don’t see many folks like this….
I like your ‘take no prisoners’ style. You are deadly accurate.
Hi Kris, who’s taking no prisoners? Me, Doug, or Wesley (or all three of us)? =)
Sorry guys, but I was actually referring to Gwynne. I just discovered this blog and I like the way his posts cut to the chase.
Kris, Gwynne is a journalist. I absconded his quote, which is actually from his book, War, because I thought it so aptly fit the K-12 educational technology scene. If you like the posts on this blog, most of them are mine – you can scroll down and click on the Who am I? link on the navigation menu. Glad you’re liking what you’re reading!
(head smack.) I really should spend a bit more time understanding a site before I go spouting off – especially since I have you on my blogroll now 😉
THanks for the correction, Scott.
Yesterday one of my kids wasn’t able to check a book out of the school library. She said the computer check-out system wasn’t working. Apparently there isn’t a backup (computer or non-computer) system. I’m sure everything will be repaired as soon as possible. Things like this are a priority in our district. I was just disappointed that one computer problem made it impossible for a whole class to check books out of the library for this week.
That is disappointing. If students had tablet PCs with e-books, or some kind of electronic ink device like the new Sony Portable Reader, I wonder if this issue would disappear (or just be replaced by different technical glitches!).
My students are currently using online databases on their 1 to 1 laptops to research information about topics related to Shakespeare. While we could go to the library and use books or other materials, I would have to say we would mostly be at a standstill because there aren’t enough of the print materials for every student. Also, there wouldn’t be copiers to make copies or the checkout system on the library to take materials home. However, the most important thing that would be missing during the research task without the laptops/technology would be the kids’ MOTIVATION! 🙂 They love learning with technology.