EDITORIAL: Embrace technology revolution
NOTHING HAS IMPACTED on people and their lifestyles over the past three decades as has technology. It has been a change agent making life better.
Amidst this technological evolution, the one thing to stand out has been the ubiquitous cellphone. This device has impacted people across the world like no other. It is a most remarkable instrument.
The telephone, which was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in the early 1870s, had for most of the years since then been primarily a system to transmit speech electronically. In Barbados until the early 1970s, it was a device which was still not universally available in most homes across the island.
But not even Mr Bell could have foreseen the advent of the mobile device and the change it would have ushered into daily life. The cellphone is not only available everywhere, it is a multi-faceted instrument effective in the most remote areas and for people on the move. It transmits and receives images and data, and searches the Internet. It is in many ways a godsend.
The manner in which the mobile phone is marketed and the ways it can be used make it a must-have for everyone. It is the sure way to get instant information and most importantly, stay in constant contact with loved ones. No wonder parents see the most modern cellphone as the gift of choice for their children.
Young people across the world have gravitated to the mobile phone in a most amazing way. They understand what it can do and exploit the possibilities. It is amazing how thrilled adults are when they see what young people do with the cellphone. Understandably, there is outrage when it is abused. This will happen and should be expected. The reality is that the positives far outweigh the negatives. Adults also need to embrace the cellphone.
That is why the point made last week by economist Mr Ryan Straughn that there be no longer a ban on the cellphone in our schools makes sense. Those educators and education administrators should by now have recognised that the ban makes no sense. The thunderous applause from the students in response tells how they and their peers feel about the issue. In any case, the ban has been generally ignored.
It is only a matter of time before our schools apply greater use of technology in the classrooms. From accessing all reading materials on tablets, to writing and delivering assignments electronically, and ensuring schools, teachers, parents and students remain in contact. The cellphones can complement these efforts.
Technology is clearly transforming the educational landscape. Those in leadership positions must understand and embrace what is happening if they are to remain relevant. This means adapting to change and exploiting this piece of new technology. It is here to stay.