My very first experience with technology at school was when I was in Grade 4, at a school of about 200 students, and we received our first computers for student use. We were beyond thrilled, as the majority of us had never experienced computing at home, and therefore the opportunity to learn about computers at school opened up a whole new world for us. We had 2 computers for the whole school, and these were housed in a small room located off of the main office. Every student was paired up with a partner, and we received a grand total of 10 minutes on the computers each week. If you were away on your “computer day,” you were out of luck and had to wait until your name came up in the rotation again the following week. The only application that we worked with on that shockingly bright green and black screen was LOGO, but we were incredibly engaged with the opportunity to learn about basic programming and create shapes and designs using that triangular “turtle” on the screen.
Looking back on these experiences years later, I feel that two things continue to stand out for me as an educator. Firstly, the issue of access to technology continues to be an issue for many of our students, and this becomes especially challenging as we move our pedagogy in alignment with technology integration. How do we support students who lack opportunities to engage with technology outside of the classroom? The second issue that stands out for me is the importance that programming and coding have taken on within our schools. With LOGO being the forbear of many of our current programming and coding applications, the significance of these technology skills have never been more relevant. Long live the turtle!