In the Ottawa Citizen this morning was a story about Bruce Cockburn playing concerts for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. In particular, the article mentions "Cockburn sang his classic antiwar song If I Had A Rocket Launcher at every stop."
This seeming discrepancy of playing an antiwar song for soldiers made me think of how I would bring this into a classroom if I were teaching English or History. I thought about how I would want to show students the newspaper story and then I would want them to look at the lyrics of If I Had a Rocket Launcher. It might even be nice if I could play the song for the students. The quickest and easiest way to get the article, the lyrics, and the song is on the Internet. What is the quickest and easiest way for me to show students what is on the Web? Having an LCD projector in the room so that I can project what is on the computer onto a big screen. Unfortunately, most classrooms do not have a projector. Sometimes a department will have one that you might be able to sign out, but that means that you may not be able to get the projector on short notice.
If I don't have a projector, I have to print out the information and make photocopies or overhead sheets. That takes time, uses school resources (paper or acetates), and might mean that I can't teach this lesson until the next school day. Since today is Friday, that means not until Monday. Well, on Monday the lesson is not so topical and fresh and I am not as excited about it. On Monday, this is not as good a lesson as it would be today.
If technology is not in place, then teachers are forced to either ignore opportunities to produce topical lessons, or else teach those lessons later, likely not as effectively, when they can finally sign out or sign up for the technology that is required. When schools have technology in place, teachers can seize opportunities to use current information in their lessons to help make the lessons more relevant, meaningful, and interesting to the students. Which kind of school would you rather have?