In February of 1957, a young pastor and his wife gave birth to their first child, a son they named Douglas. This same year, Russia launched a dog into space, Elvis starred in his first film, West Side story debuted on Broadway and Paul McCartney and John Lennon met for the first time. And … though we joke about it, there were no dinosaurs roaming the streets.
Jumping from that barely analog time to the digital now might be a stretch but, hey … like the Beatles sang, “They say it’s your birthday!” I think of birthdays (and epic ones like the one I just celebrated) as vantage points to view more clearly where I have been and … where I am going. It's kind of like my personal New Year.
Looking back on the year, there were so many moments that stood out. Drones made some clear advances. Our cars continued to “become smart”. The VR wave continued to crest with apps like Pokemon, Go becoming buzz worthy for a few moments and robots well … there will always be robots.
Personally, my family went through a bittersweet season of saying goodby to my brother in law who passed away Dec. 4. His life and passing remind me daily to find the wonder in each day even and … almost always in the midst of the regular.
In higher ed, with each new semester, the door gets opened another crack integrating a bit more of the digital tools we use in our daily lives into traditional learning spaces. The more times we find a strategic way to utilize laptops, tablets and smartphones in our pedagogy, the more the lines between the classroom and the rest of our lives become blurred. This area alone has the potential to foster a new ownership of information and experience aquistion for the learner in education.
So, now what? How will this year compare with the past one? Often the questions we ask are more important than the answers we seek so … here ya go. Will academic technology find more of a home in classrooms? Will we all learn to balance our tech tools better - finding more strategic uses for them in business and education, while also turning them off more often to have deeper in-person dialogue? Will I find a better office time versus dog walk ratio? Will we all treat each other with more kindness and offer each other more grace despite our differences? Will there finally be flying cars?
The birthday balloons and cake are all gone, but I am still in the mood for celebrating. So … who’s with me? I know that these are challenging times like we have not seen in many years but … more than ever it all makes me want to appreciate the day and claim the good where I can find it.
This is my birthday new year and you are welcome to join me.