Saturday, January 17, 2009

Watching History in the Making

Recently, I was lamenting the fact that our school district does not have the money or administrative support to create technology-rich classrooms. I am fortunate, however, that I was able to acquire a Promethean board through a grant. Since I also have Internet access in my room, another teacher and I have been planning to combine our two classes Tuesday so that we could watch the historical Inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama. Our first thought was that it would be easier to ask forgiveness, than to ask permission! Without going into a detailed description of the local community, suffice it to say that Obama was not a popular candidate in the 2008 election. However, we followed procedure and received permission to proceed with our plans. Another concern was that so many people would try to access live streaming of the event that it might not work at all.

I was extremely pleased to receive an email late Friday from our Director of Technology. Our district office has worked with ETV to install a satellite dish that will allow all schools to view live programming on four different channels directly from any computer on the network. If all goes well, we will watch ETV's live coverage of Barack Obama's inauguration without the potential problems of Internet streaming. As I consider the significance of my students watching such an important event, I recall how different things were when I was in school. I can remember our entire school population gathering in the gym to watch the launch of Apollo missions on a regular TV set. Unless you were in the very front, you couldn't see very much. On Tuesday, our students will watch the Presidential Inauguration in the comfort of the classroom on the large Promethean board display. They will join millions of people around the world watching this historical moment. I hope they will appreciate the technology that provides the opportunity to watch history in the making as much I do!

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