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Smart Teaching

By Steve Jones,

Ever since computers have become affordable, many types of schools have looked to integrate them into their curriculums. Whether the use of technology in classrooms actually helps students learn better is debatable, especially as they become more ubiquitous. I think that we need to keep experimenting and trying new ways to use them.

I read a few books (Red Lightning and Rolling Thunder are two I'll recommend. Red Thunder is the first in that series.) in which everyone has access to the Internet all the time. People have personal headsets and later embedded nano-technology that enables them to "google" anything, anytime. It's arguable if this is better or worse for education when no one needs to really learn anything or even remember it if they can call is up in an instant. I know I suffer from this problem now, unsure of the phone numbers of a few of my friends. Without them programmed into my phone, I wouldn't know how to reach them.

As IT professionals, we have grown up with technology to various degrees. Some of us remember the times before computers, others have likely listened to recorded music only in digital forms. I expect my children will never understand what "film development" is, used to taking pictures and instantly viewing them on some type of digital screen.

We are used to teaching ourselves new tasks all the time as IT people. Things change constantly and waiting for training isn't feasible. In fact, most of the time the people building the technology don't have time to put together training courses. You might be better off just "figuring it out." It's just as likely that getting guidance from articles like those on SQLServerCentral will be as good as most training courses. There are definitely exceptions as I own End to End Training (pictured above), and companies like mine try to develop courses that meet your needs, but most general courses, in my opinion, don't do a good job educating people.

I think that in many ways technology has matured and many people that are in this technology world don't want to understand how things work. They want to know enough to get by, and get work done, but they don't want to know or understand the underpinnings. People that drove cars 90 years ago had to understand the mechanical workings, so did technology people 10 or 20 years ago. Nowadays I think it's rare that someone driving a car understands how it works or how to fix something and technology is becoming this way, even for programmers. How many programmers do you know understand what a pointer is?

Perhaps that's not a bad evolution, after all, more people using technology tends to be good for each of us working in this field. I do think that computers can help us learn quicker, but I'm not sure they help us learn more or better understand things. That requires an effort from each person doing the learning.

Steve Jones


The Voice of the DBA Podcasts

Everyday Jones

The podcast feeds are now available at sqlservercentral.mevio.com to get better bandwidth and maybe a little more exposure :). Comments are definitely appreciated and wanted, and you can get feeds from there.

Overall RSS Feed: or now on iTunes!

Today's podcast features music by Everyday Jones. No relation, but I stumbled on to them and really like the music. Support this great duo at www.everydayjones.com.

I really appreciate and value feedback on the podcasts. Let us know what you like, don't like, or even send in ideas for the show. If you'd like to comment, post something here. The boss will be sure to read it.

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