Times have changed…

When my grandparents left Lithuania for South Africa, a century ago, they probably said goodbye forever. I wonder if they had further contact with the family and friends they left behind.

My husband and I emigrated from South Africa to Australia 30 years ago. When our children were young, we sent letters and photos in the mail and exchanged audio cassette tapes with the grandparents. Mail, be it letters or tapes, took more than a week in each direction and as phone-calls were expensive, they were short and infrequent.

My daughter left yesterday to live and volunteer in Ecuador for a year. This means that currently, members of my immediate family live on 5 different continents. But the world is smaller now than it was in the old days. Global communication is easy and inexpensive.  We can Skype, email, call, text, share photos and videos instantaneously.

Times have changed. What’s possible has changed.

Times have changed for schooling too. Learning need no longer be confined to a classroom in a particular place. The teacher at the front of the room is no longer the bearer of all knowledge. All kinds of information are readily accessible to learners. Connections can be made in an instant with other learners, teachers or experts around the world.  

Times have changed. What’s possible has changed. Have you?




10 thoughts on “Times have changed…

  1. Isn’t it great that we can Skype and chat with family and friends in different parts of the world! I remember when my husband (then boyfriend) was living in Upstate New York and it was expensive to talk on the phone, somebody discovered a faulty phone booth and there was a long queue of people waiting to make long distance phone calls – and I was one of them.


  2. I agree, my career has changed more in the last ten months than in the previous ten years. Aside from showing people aspirational posts such as these one, I’m still working on the best way to show my colleagues that change isn’t to be feared, but well-managed it can be a way of making thinkings better for everyone. In your experience, what proportion of teachers fear change and proportion embrace it. I reckon it’s about 70/30 in favour towards ‘fear’.


  3. Times have certainly changed. When I was at school I never saw a computer, at university in the 1970s I did use a very large computer that was housed in a special room – but I would never have believed that one day I would become a computer teacher or that my students would have their own laptops! We hear a lot about our students who have grown up digital, compared with the teachers who have not. Last week one of the administrators at our school referred to me as a digital native – he said he know that really I wasn’t as I had grown up in a time without computers – but that in his opinion I was native. I guess it’s like you Edna, moving to Australia so many years ago – I’m imagining you think of yourself as Australian now, rather than South African. It is possible to change, adapt and take on new ideas so that they actually become a part of you, but the important thing is that you have to be willing to give up some of the old things in order to move forward.


  4. And what a welcome change when your family is on 5 different continents! It is also a welcome change for the classroom and learning model. With the world growing smaller and communication and collaboration becoming easier, we are entering a kind of golden age of learning. Perhaps this will be the time of great change in teaching and learning…school.


  5. Oh so true Edna! What wonderful times we have the privilege of enjoying as our world grows smaller and circle of friends grow larger. I read blogs/posts from my worldwide PLN daily and from many minute by minute as they tweet to the world. What better PD than reading the thoughts of Kelly or Edna on a daily basis. Can one really be connecting with students and providing engaging lessons on a daily basis and not be aware of the dynamic changes taking place all around us.I think NOT!Edna enjoy you holidays to the max.Look at all the skyping time you have. 🙂


  6. @ Edna,

    Thanks for another terrific post. How amazing to have your family so spread out across the world! I can only imagine how difficult it must have been 30 years ago with limited means of communication.

    That’s amazing about your daughter’s adventure to Ecuador. Good on her!

    I think this post would be a wake-up call for many teachers. Very few teachers that I actually know make use of modern technologies to flatten the classroom walls and expand their students learning horizons. Luckily, I have a great PLN who are aiming for the same ideals as I am. I can only hope widespread change in education systems happens sooner rather than later!

    Another point is that I think many children these days don’t realise how technology has changed the world in recent times. I’ve had many discussions with my students about how when I was at high school in the 90s we didn’t use computers very much and didn’t have the internet. I have also had some very amusing discussions with my students trying to explain to them what VCRs, non-digital cameras, record players and so on are. I think it’s important to develop our students’ understandings of how peoples’ lives have changed with the advent of new technologies.

    Keep your fantastic posts coming!


  7. For me, the most exciting sentence is “What’s possible has changed.” How lucky we are to live in a time when we can communicate with like-minded people, regardless of our geographic location; to publish our thoughts and words and images in cyberspace and have a permanent record of them there; to create with so many tools at our fingertips. I used to know exactly what I’m capable of. Yet nowadays, I truly wonder.


  8. Well said! Sometimes it seems to me that change happens so quickly, we never question it, or think back on how it influenced us. I can’t imagine that less than 15 years ago, I did not have a computer, access to all these wonderful resources and networks, but instead was relying on mail communication or expensive phone calls to friends in the UK. I was watching TV and buying CDs (That eventually took up a lot of room).

    I am excited for change, I like to think that I am open-minded and embrace new ideas and things. Just how much do I show this in the classroom? I’m not sure… it could be better, but my goal is to align this!


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