Trend 1: Get computers in the schools
Early adopters of the personal computer could see great potential in the school setting. Writing, spreadsheets, printing, and even early graphics programs could add something that wasn't there before. Companies were happy to jump on board. Before we knew it, every school had a computer lab and soon after, (almost) every classroom had a computer.
Trend 2: The Internet
Just as the drive to get a computer in every classroom had finally started to reach it's goal, the Internet started taking off. By the mid-90's public schools were starting to envision this powerful source of information as being a source in the classroom. Once again schools began investing. The federal government funded programs to aid in the rollout of Internet and by the early 2000's almost every classroom had some form of Internet access.
Trend 3: One to One
The idea of one to one computing is not new, but it has never had the momentum and purpose that it has today. This third trend of computers in education will undoubtedly not be the last. However, I predict it will have the largest impact. Schools that hop on board and do it well, with proper equipment, proper student and staff training, and most importantly, with a clear purpose, an objective, will see growth in student learning that is reflective of exponential growth. Those schools will then be models to other schools hoping to replicate the success. Having 40% or 20% or even 2% of your students 'struggling' will no longer be an option.
One day we will look back at the non-sense that was once a 'debate' about going one to one and ridicule ourselves. The evidence is already in front of us, but our financial restraints cause us to ask questions that have already been answered. Everywhere in life companies are more successful when their employees have access to the technology that makes their job easier. Immediately. The same is absolutely true in education for students. Not only will it open the doors wider than we can imagine, it may even reduce the number of teachers needed, or significantly change what teaching looks like (as it should.) As a teacher, I know this is scary. I don't want to imagine my job going away. So I don't. Instead, I imagine it evolving and I better keep up or get out of the way.
Chad McGowan is a high school technology teacher and professional development specialist in technology. Over the past 16 years, Chad has taught a variety of math and computer course from 7-12. Since 2000, Chad has been guiding other professionals in technology by staying current and learning from those around him. Follow Chad on Twitter @ahstechteacher and through this blog.