Technology – What’s Coming

During last night’s launch of the IT Millage informational sessions for the community, Brit Satchwell put on a little display (which he drew while preparing to talk) that went over the history of IT in 5 minutes.  It was an engaging and comical overview, but he hit on some points that did resonate.

Brit had asked some teachers to share stories to explain how technology is, or can be, used in the classroom.  He had some great stories that involved a lot of technology on the market today: Google tools (calendar, document sharing, etc.), Apple products (iPads, iPods), Skype, etc.  Some teachers used some terms that I hadn’t heard before (which is rare, since my day job keeps me at least somewhat informed on the latest IT).

He also put a vertical line on the end of his ‘history of IT’ to show what many are projecting: an essential exponential growth of IT development (often related to processing capacity in regards to Moore’s Law) that goes to 1 (or vertical).  This is what’s coming. 

I was particularly struck by an article I read in the Economist today that discussed the current state of development for quantum computing (please check it out: http://www.economist.com/node/21548151).  The article goes through enough technical detail on quantum mechanics and how a qubit works that it lost me eventually, but I did get that the power of quantum computing would be a substantial leap forward from where we are now.  I also gleaned that the current capabilities have to hone in on a relatively unstable environment [1] still – and the technology to do that consistently requires a lot of redundancy.  So, we may not be there yet.  But we will be there soon; keeping Moore’s law alive and well [2].

[1] Check out the definition of Schrodinger’s equation, which tries to predict the location of a particle in a quantum state http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation.  An image of the equation is here:

[2] Moore’s Law says that the computing capacity will double every 18 months, which has essentially held true so far, although many also say we are reaching the limit of that law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore’s_law.  This image shows the history so far:

For those of us that aren’t into quantum physics, I think all we need to know is that technology will continue to progress.  Further, our students will be expected to use it as part of their lifestyle – in and out of school.  The ‘flattening’ that has occurred, enabling a global economy, requires that we must incorporate technology into education as a foundational skill in a global economy (which, by the way, starts at college admission – a little before the job market).

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