Last week I watched a news story on CBC about the great Twin Otter that was originally broadcast last February. I have been inspired by a blog post this summer by Wes Fryer who talked about airplanes and technology during his visit to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. After watching the story about the return of the Twin Otter, and spending an amazing morning with family and Hawk One I can now conclude that many teachers are like Twin Otters and Sabres when it comes to technology.
How? I see many teachers who are like these planes. They are beautiful, do amazing things and are workhorses. The Twin Otter is such a good airplane that it is now being rebuilt using original plans and documents for use around the world. Over 650 of 850 Twin Otters built are still flying today, a true testament to their quality and usefulness, however as they are being built from scratch on the outside, they are getting totally renovated on the inside. New technology including mode
rn wiring, communications and navigation systems are making this Twin Otter "2" a plane that is relevant, functional and safe to operate today. The Godlen Hawk has a GPS, a hulu girl and a new seat from another plane to make it safe to operate.
The same needs to happen with teachers.
That is our job as early adopters. To help the Twin Otters and Sabres to be refitted with new technology that will
help them to continue to be great educators. To help them see that without embracing the use of technology in the class they too may become like so many Sabres: left behind when newer planes (students) come in the doors of their classrooms and are demanding that the teacher catch up. This must be done delicately, but swiftly because education as a profession is already behind the 8 ball. Viking Air president and CEO David Curtis said in his interview with the CBC that their purpose is not to build a replica of the Twin Otter, but to build a contemporary aircraft. The same should apply to teachers and technology. If we try to replicate the use of technology in the classroom from 50 years ago to as recent as even 5 years ago, we will not be doing our best as educators. While it may seem that it is taking a long time and many of us want others to catch up, I need to constantly remind myself that many of these Twin Otters are already flying overtime and putting in long hours in the air. Giving them small, easy to install tools in their classrooms is a great place to start. I am also encouraged by how so many are taking it upon themselves to be refitted with new technology skills. These planes who are first in the hangar will eventually help to lead and pressure others to come in for an overhaul themselves.
Photos: Jack E Nichol (top), myself with Dan Demspey in the Hawk One (middle), my son Jack admiring Hawk One (bottom).