May 18, 2010

Goodbye Van Meter!

May 6, 2010

Embrace it - or be left in the dust!

It was Matt Nathanson’s concert (oh, goodness, you have to see him live) on Sunday April 25th that made me realize HOW digital we have become. It started with your run-of-the-mill GPS search on the way there to find exactly where we were going on the U of I campus, and continued throughout the night…not ending until I sent my last tweet to @mattnathanson telling him that I enjoyed his show.

The obvious things were happening as I maneuvered my way around campus (let’s face it, it’s been awhile since I’ve been on college grounds, but they haven’t changed much).  There were students on a jog listening to music, and groups of kids typing on laptops on park benches.  Nothing so out of the ordinary.

It was as I was standing in line waiting for the show that I realized how different (completely tech-based) we have become…people downloading music, sharing information via Bluetooth, updating twitter statuses, using itouch apps to play games.  A group of students were even playing the different apps to create Matt's music - one on the piano, and one on the drums, while the people in line sang. The list goes on.

At the concert, people continued to amaze me. The opener (unknown until the time of the show), Megan McCormick, got on stage and played her first song, which had everyone listening intently…but her name didn’t get announced until someone from the audience yelled, “Who are you?”  The second Megan said her name everyone, maybe not exactly everyone, got out their devices and downloaded songs and albums from iTunes.  I was looking around in awe…the whole place was lit up with screens.

When Matt came on stage to sing (uh-may-zing, love him) I had to stop looking around and focus. : )  It was a slow song to start…the lighter with the real flame has long since been replaced with the lighter application on the iTouch. So during Little Victories (one of my favorites) the U of I Ballroom was dotted with little electronic flames.

When I walked out after the concert (#saditwasover), I sent @mattnathanson a message on Twitter from my iTouch, thanking him for the great show, and used Maps Buddy to find some local places to eat...

It's a new way of living, and we have to embrace it. Professionally, I feel we have to allow our students to thrive in this environment...if we close that out as an option, where will that leave our kids? In the dust.