#RealityCheck - Guest Blog Post

Guest blog post by Atomic Learning customer Judy Yi, a Professor at Dallas Baptist University in Texas. You can see more great posts from Judy and others at DBU's ProfHelp Blog.

Several years ago, I read an article in the New York Times that placed Apple Inc. on the same level as a religion.  With its fanatic fans camping outside for days to purchase the newly released device and the devotion they show with Apple products, it’s not too surprising. But what is it about Apple that makes people “hypnotized” to it?
 
Just last month, I had the opportunity to visit Apple Inc. (the America Operations Center) in Austin with my Ed.D. K-12 cohort, and our speaker, Jon Landis, the Development Executive for educational mobility deployment in higher education and K-12 schools, shed some light on Apple’s secret formula.
 
Here’s a recap:
 
By 1997, the world wide web (www.), the Internet as we know it, was easily available and accessible to the general public. It was innovative!
 
However, to a student who was born in 1997, using and accessing information via the Internet is not new at all. They grew up with it and know no other world. To them, it is not an innovation; it is just a way of life.
 
Apple’s mental model: Internet is conventional. How can we innovate from it?
 
In the early 2000s, smartphones were moving into the mainstream. Checking emails and surfing the Internet with your phone was a new technology. It was cool! However, to a student born in the early 2000s, smartphones aren’t smart. It’s plainly a mobile device. They know of no such thing as a “dumb phone” that could not send emails or surf the web. For them, anything mobile-related is not innovative; it is just a way of life.
 
Apple’s mental model: Smartphones are conventional. How can we innovate from them?
 
In 2010, Apple released the revolutionary iPad. Now, it is taking the place of and transforming the way we use personal computers. To a student who just entered the first-grade, tablets are not innovative. It is just a way of life.
 
Apple’s mental model: Tablets are conventional. How can we innovate from them?
 
This is the way Apple thinks. They are always looking for ways to innovate, and they refuse to live on yesterday’s innovation or yesterday’s new technology. They are constantly looking to the future to generate and invent new ideas for the new generation. That’s their secret formula. And people– especially students–are flocking to it.
 
So, what can we, as educators, learn from Apple’s mental model?
 
Personally, it made me realize that the technology I’m using in the classroom is not all that innovative from my students’ perspective. PowerPoint/Prezi presentations, providing web links/videos, and making video announcements aren’t impressive. They are just a standard, customary, plain, ordinary everyday technology to most of my students who see them in abundance in and out of the classroom. What I have to do is accept that the world I am looking at is slightly different from the eyes of my students. I had to stop thinking like it’s 1997, 2000, or even 2010! 
 
My students are getting younger each year as I get older (#realitycheck). If I am to prepare them for the world outside of the classroom, I need to know the world they are going into. I need to think like it’s 2018, 2019, 2020, and etc. I may not be able to innovate like Apple, but I sure can be open to innovation and use it in the classroom so that my students don’t experience a disconnect from the world in which they live to the classroom where knowledge is gained.  
 
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At Atomic Learning, couldn't agree more with Ms. Yi. This perspective is key in education, making it so important to stay up with the latest technology trends and continually trying new things. Our courses are designed to help your faculty and staff provide engaging, meaningful learning experiences. For more information on how we can help, visit www.AtomicLearning.com.
 

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