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Educational AV

Sep 1, 2006 12:00 PM, By Michael Goldman

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Among the joys, and frequent interruptions, involved with working out of a home office is the fact that my kids are intimately familiar with my workspace. While their interest in technology usually revolves around using my computer to see photos or the Thomas the Tank Engine website, I've noticed lately that my six-year-old son also happens to be well versed in the wider business communication tools I use on a daily basis.

He's familiar with email, he completely comprehends the purpose of my Sony digital audio recorder, and he's happy to play computer games with little or no help from me — he even knows how to load CDs. He fully expects to see and hear streaming video and audio on each visit to the Internet, and occasional technical difficulties tick him right off.

In keeping with the education theme of this issue, I can only marvel at how advanced his technological education is at such an early age.

But when you read this issue and our AV in Education newsletters, it shouldn't come as a surprise. Elementary schools to major universities are being wired for fiber across the nation (for example, Hofstra University — see p. 12); web-streaming collaboration tools are on their way to becoming ubiquitous; computers in classrooms are ubiquitous; and classroom video presentation and audio enhancement tools are so commonplace most of us barely even notice them.

Indeed, the technology world enveloping youngsters is light years removed from those crude days of overhead and slide projectors and mimeograph machines I remember well.

I recently talked to an old high school chum who was once known as “the AV kid” around our school. I asked him if his teenage son has similar AV interests. He said his son recently helped install servers as a project to network classrooms together at his high school. But when my friend asked his son about the project, the kid just said, “You wouldn't understand.” My friend conceded his son was right. He didn't understand. Neither do many of us.

But we should. After all, AV technology is changing not only how our children are educated, but what they are taught, where they are taught, and by whom they are taught. Like few other external factors, technology is having a huge impact on our children's future. That alone makes this issue's content worth examining.

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