In 1948 Bell Telephone Laboritories announced the invention of a tiny electronic semi-conductor – it was named the transistor. The press release stated ‘it may have far reaching significance in electronics and electrical communication’.
In the same year a new word was created and used – no fanfare, no press release, but in a complex report within Bell Laboritories – the word BIT – a piece of information, a single piece of data. That word bit, byte, is now every day usage, we are an information led society.
14 years ago I started to do my lesson planning on a computer. I went to the head of IT at the school and asked about information storage – he said that if I invested in USB memory stick I could store everything. He went on to say that if I invested £54 for 1GB stick I would never need any more memory – ever. Even for photos and music. You can now purchase a 1 terra byte memory for less, and in many cases the cloud is free.
I think the significance of much of the new technology is brought home by the number of tablets, ipads, ipods, androids, mobile phones that our children not only have access to – but own. The language of today is changing in line with the development of the information led world.
The average USB memory stick (already old technology) today is more powerful than the computers that put man on the moon is testimony to the relentless pace of technological development.
A modern smartphone has the equivalent computing power of Deep Blue, the $100m machine that beat chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.
And with all this technology we come back to communication. The school is investing in 5 smartphones with the prime purpose of ensuring that our ‘on-line’ presence is maintained with the results of sports matches, photos of trips and visits and the activities of the children are communicated to parents as they happen. A live, up to date record of the life of the children and the life of the school. Technology has moved a long way, IT has incredible power as a tool and a weapon – but most importantly it can enhance the way we communicate with each other – a skill that is at the heart of all we do.