As many of you know, today is “Back to the Future Day”, the day Emmett “Doc” Brown traveled in his time machine from the year 1985 to the future: Wednesday, October 21, 2015. They were talking about this on a morning news program and it also appeared in an on-line feed I subscribe to. It made me chuckle at first, but then it got me to pause and think about how far we’ve really come in the last 30 years. While we don’t have flying cars or hoverboards, we do have some other amazing technology in our daily lives that would have seemed like science fiction to people from the 1980s.
Growing up, my parents would normally spend some time in the morning reading the newspaper and in the evening watching the nightly news. I sat this morning watching the news on my television while scrolling through news feeds on an iPad – stories from the U.S., the U.K. and all over the world; stories that were published and updated several times overnight as new details became available. The Internet and the myriad of digital devices that can connect to it have created incredible opportunities for communicating, learning and teaching.
The students of today have grown up in this world where all things digital are commonplace. They are using the technology in their daily lives to create new and exciting things, interact with their family, friends, and teachers and participate in a global community. For a visitor from the 1980s, it would probably seem incredible for students in a school to have one or more devices all interconnected in a global network. Yet, at our school, this has become a reality with the launch of our 1-to-1/BYOD initiative this year. These technologies provide amazing opportunities for our students and for us to support the different learning styles of our students and exciting non-traditional ways of teaching in blended classrooms.
At the Science and Technology Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this month, we were introduced to alumni that have contributed to the futuristic world we live in today. These alumni, inspired by their teachers, have made significant contributions to the fields of science, medicine, and engineering. They are experts in their fields of study, and their work has impacted and benefited the world in addition to motivating the work of others; and they each started here at the Academy. Their teachers used the best practices and technology of the time to inspire, encourage and motivate these individuals to find their passion and to examine and investigate the world around them.
I think this will be remembered as exciting time in the history of Sewickley Academy. We’re embracing the best practices in education today, utilizing the latest educational technology, promoting digital citizenship, exploring programming languages, and other “21st Century” academic skills. In addition, we continue our commitment to the quality of education the Academy is known for in English, math, history, social studies, science, world languages, the arts, athletics, while still promoting solid work habits, time management, and communication skills.
It’s amazing to think how far our school has come, the inspiration it has provided to students of the past and the truly amazing opportunities that are possible today for us to inspire and educate our students to make our future world a better one.