Is The Keyboard Dead?

I feel weird even posting this because, well.... I'm typing it on a keyboard. The answer is.... Not really. Or should I say... not yet?
As someone who never took a keyboarding or typing class, I have always wondered if I really should have. Although I have become quite efficient over the years, I'm a "hunt and peck" typer for the most part. I might be able to get about 30 to 40 words a minute using a traditional keyboard and I highly doubt that I can come close to that by writing with pen and paper if I expect it to be legible.
Since I started converting handwriting to text using a Tablet PC around 7 years ago, the tablet can now read my handwriting better than I can read my own sometimes. Handwriting recognition has really come a long way and continues to get better. However, more and more lately, I find myself leaving my writing in its original form and not converting to text. I can draw pictures and arrows and really do much more for my visual brain than I can with a keyboard; just one of the reasons that I love a Tablet PC.
Many years ago, I got my first cell phone with T9 input and had to learn how to communicate using my fingers on 9 buttons. It was easy but time consuming. A few years later, I got my first Blackberry with a full QWERTY keyboard. Once again, I had to train my thumbs. And then.... there was the iPhone! Typing with my thumbs once again, but with no feeling. This wasn't a big deal for me because I have always had to look at my keyboard while typing. I think the lack of keyboarding lessons actually did me a favor in this case. I have found that most "touch typer's" have a harder time acclimating to a variety of virtual keyboards.
Over the years I have experimented with voice recognition software, virtual laser keyboards and other unconventional input devices. Most of them I found to be somewhat useful but less efficient than typing with a keyboard. I just wonder that if I try to become more efficient with these devices.... would I beat my keyboard speed? I can certainly talk faster than I can type.
Now, how about our kids? I have often said that most teenagers can type 60 words a minute under their desk or in the front pocket of their hoodie on their phone. Why?... Because their culture demands it. It's their standard mode of communication. In ten years, will they be typing at all? Maybe they will be speaking to their computers as some of us do with our cars or phones today. Maybe they will just think it, and the computer will read their mind. ...Don't believe me?... Check this out!
So why am I posting about all of this anyway? As a bit of a piggy back to The KNO post below, I have been seeing some new products coming out from some more well known manufacturers, sans keyboard. No I'm not talking about the iPad, although I am sure that the success of these emerging technologies can be attributed to the excellent marketing of the iPad. Now that folks don't mind typing virtually on that "revolutionary device", perhaps they wont mind doing it on something a bit more useful?

Click here to read for yourself and decide.

As always, I hope you find this post to be useful and thought provoking. I look forward to reading your comments. :)

See you next post!

2020 Vision

Just a quick post today to share this article from the latest edition of THE Journal. It's a quick look at what the next ten years may hold for education, technology, teaching, and learning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
And here is the printable version for those of us that love paper:

As always I hope you find this to be useful and thought provoking. I look forward to reading your comments here.

Many Thanks for reading and ... see you next post.

Skype in The Classroom

So we all know what Skype is... right?

Have you been struggling to find a way to use it in your classroom to connect your students with others from around the world? Maybe your struggle is not how... but with who? Wouldn't it be great if there was a directory of teachers that are looking for other teachers to connect with? And wouldn't it be even better if you could get on that list so other teachers can find you?
Well there is such a directory. Although in beta right now, you can become some of the first teachers to be a part of this global directory to be launched next month. Click on the link below to learn more and sign up for the beta.

As always, I would love to hear any thoughts or comments, like "This is amazing news" or "I have been waiting for something like this" or "I love Technology". Please go to the blog to do so @ if you are reading this post in an email.

Thanks for reading.... I'll see you next post.

Is This The Future Of Textbooks????

Say Hello to Kno!

(K)No... this is not a Kindle or Nook... Nor is it an iPad... or a Tablet PC for that matter. It's a Textbook? Well... more like an eReader with some added functionality, and its coming to a student near you. Check out the video below to see what this thing is capable of.

Kno Movie from Kno, Inc. on Vimeo.

OK... now that you have seen it and most likely formed a first impression, let me share mine, if I may. I kno(w)... I kno(w) [<-- you see what I did there? Clever, huh?] this is a marketing video and in a perfect world if this thing works like it does in that video... I'm impressed. What makes it different from things that I've seen in the past is that publishers have not just PDF'ed books as they have done for PC's or Mac's or eReaders. They have partnered with publishers and seem to have created a more "book-like" experience for the student. I mean really... how long do you think it would take... say... You... to figure this thing out? My guess is... not to long at all. Once you figure it out, it might take a bit more time to become efficient with it, but hey, none of these concepts are really foreign are they?

With that said... my first thought though is that it's HUGE! Who wants to carry around this monstrosity? Especially with that ... much smaller thing we all see on TV all of the time... you know... that "revolutionary device"... with the fruit on it? This thing is not quite as attractive as one of those now is it? And it's certainly not marketed as well. Lets be honest, If you weren't reading this, you probably wouldn't kno(w) that this thing even exists. If you didn't use a Tablet PC every day, would you know what it is or what it's capable of? Do you really know what all of it's capabilities are now?

Well...Check out the next video to see their reasoning for the size, and some other good stuff about this new textbook.

So, they make a single screen version too. Thats a good touch, but can it compete with the HP Slate 500 and it's full fledged Windows 7 OS, that can run MS Office and Skype and...? How many devices do we need? Can one do it all? You be the judge.

What does all of this mean for our students? How will they push the market to put out products that will do what they need them to do? What else will they use devices like this for? Maybe we should talk to our kids about this, and see what they think. Will anyone show this video to their students?

As always, I hope you found this post to be informative and thought provoking. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks, and see you next post. :)