I'll never forget unboxing my first computer in the summer of 1980. Being the proud owner of a new Apple ][ and a dot-matrix printer, I remember spending hours teaching myself BASIC and Apple machine code. Also,included with the computer was a simple modem for connecting the computer to online services - there wasn't much out there back in those days. As such, few people at the time truly understood the impact connected computers would have on our entire way of life.
Thirty plus years later, nearly every person has access to at least one internet-capable device, if not more. Far gone are the days of using computers solely for gaming, office and scientific work. These devices, and the internet-based services they connect to, have become an extension of our social persona - the "go to" way for expressing ourselves and connecting with others.
This digital frontier has brought significant benefits to our society. As with every other innovation, it has also brought its share of peril. A simple cell phone camera partnered with social media can be used to share images, audio and video with millions upon millions of people. For a student using this as a part of instruction, it is a powerful educational tool. For a student targeted for harassment and embarrassment, the results can be devastating.
As parents and educators, our challenge is to tap into the power of this new reality while keeping our children safe. Certainly this involves protecting them from the obvious perils, but more importantly it involves teaching our children to use these tools responsibly - to be aware and think about the digital legacy they are creating.
We look forward in partnering with you on this most important of efforts.
Welcome to DigitalEd!
Daniel J. Vomastek, Director
Information and Technology Systems
Portage Public Schools