Monthly Archives: February 2012

pondering infinities

ever since i was a kid, people have been talking about how the computer was going to change the world. but nobody seemed to know exactly how that was going to happen, and nobody had any idea of what was going to change. because my dad was an electrical engineer and education was very important to my parents and to my family, we always had a computer in our house. we had a commodore 64, and apple IIe, and apple IIc, and ever since then one or more PCs. the computer kept changing and being updated, but the only thing we really used it for was gaming and writing papers.

at some point around the time time i was in college the internet was born and everything changed. the whole world opened up, sort of. it still took quite a while for the world to actually open up. we began to imagine all the sorts of things that could happen, but nobody really knew at all what would actually happen. email was pretty amazing, but when Facebook came along, in a sense it was like, oooooh this is what we could be doing!

and of course educators have been keeping watch, thinking about all of the promise of the computer, but never quite reaching the point where it had an impact. and never quite having the resources or time to develop effective lessons to make sue of all this processing power.

finally, it seems we have reached the seminal moment when classes can begin to rely on computers to make better lessons. and where we are literally doing our students a disservice by not teaching them how to interact with technology. and of course we have dozens of experts telling us how to implement technology into our lessons and into our lives.

but the reality is that nobody knows. the experts of today know little more than the ones 20 years ago who predicted computers would completely change our lives. but how? there is no doubt in my mind that computers are making us smarter. every day i look up information on the web. i check facts. i gather information. but i don’t think anybody can say with any confidence what or how technology will be integrated into classrooms 5 years from now. the internet is a universe unto itself which we have not tamed, and which we will not tame in our lifetimes. the possibilities of how to successfully interact are practically infinite. in many ways it makes this moment in time the most frightening, as people invent their own paths and attempt new things. some will fail spectacularly, and some will see incredible success. some great ideasĀ  will simply be relegated to oblivion as new technology comes online to make it obsolete. but some of these ideas will create revolutions in how we learn. and in that sense this is the most exciting time of all.

Hello world!

My name is Rick Monge and I currently teach physics at Taipei American School. After teaching science in California for a few years, I realized it was time for me to get out of the USA for a while. I had no idea at that time how long I would be gone or to how many different places i would travel, nor whether I would ever come back to teach in the US again. After teaching in Thailand, Honduras, and Mexico, and learning to speak two new languages fairly well, I had this romantic notion of heading back to Asia and learning to speak Mandarin. I am in my second year in Taipei and I now know enough Mandarin to know why it is so difficult, but I still don’t feel confident saying I can speak it. But I plan to stay here until I do. After that, I’m not sure what the next challenge will be, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.