Is the keyboard dead?

#edtech #edchat #mlearning

Has the physical keyboard gone the way of the Dodo bird?

This week I went to the FETC in Orlando, so I got to see thousands of techie teachers in one place over a few days. With such wide view of so many people I started to wonder about the future of some of the technology that we use, or don't use.

As I looked around I noticed that most of the teachers were either using Smartphones or tablets to take their notes of the sessions they attended. Only a small percentage had laptop computers and an even smaller percentage had actual paper notebooks with real pens! Now granted, this was a tech convention, so I know that this group does not actually represent the real population, but I do think that they are a bit of a crystal ball of what is to come.

The kids of today are getting so used to either onscreen or micro keyboards that they almost wouldn't know what to do with a real one if the had one in front of them. It is us adults that are having a hard time with the transition.

I still see many adults with a mouse connected to the laptop -- like they are still trying to hold on to a little bit of the past. They balance the mouse on their knee or on the corner of their laptop. Their refusal of using their trackpad makes them look silly to the younger generation, "Check out the guy with his mouse," they chuckle at each other as they point. "It's called a trackpad, use it."

My wife gave me a wireless keyboard recently. Don't tell my wife but it is still in the wrapper. I don't want it. I hate when I see people trying to turn their tablets into laptops by adding keyboards. This looks as silly as the mouse balancers.

The biggest problem with this is that the people who are in charge of technology for schools are sometimes stuck in these old paradigms. “We can't get tablets for the students, they don't have keyboards, how could they do a report?” I have news for you, the kids don't want them. Like me they have adjusted to the onscreen keyboard.

If we are truly living in the "post PC era," as recent reports suggest, then while are we still trying to put our schools and students back into it?

- Brad Flickinger, Tech Teacher, Bethke Elementary School