Alternative Approaches to Managing and Maintaining ICT Systems

The inefficiencies of the computer keyboard and mouse are frequently highlighted. We are now seeing a range of developments that are introducing alternative ways for us to interact with our computers. With the iPhone, for instance, Apple has made touch interfaces not only work, but also cool to own—and Nintendo, with the Wii, changed how we interact with games systems. The move away from dependence on text-based interfaces to those that allow us to interact more naturally with the range of senses we possess will increasingly impact on our use of these technologies in the classroom—and have significant implications for our understandings of the skills and competencies that are going to be important for creating and interacting with information in the future.

While the vision has been there for several decades, the concept is now found in reality. And it has prompted Bill Gates—with the typical Microsoft way of declaring trends once they are blindingly obvious to declare: "that the keyboard and mouse would gradually give way to more intuitive and natural technologies." and "The way people interact with computers is going to dramatically change in the next five years" (BBC News).

Issues for schools:

  • How well prepared are we for the introduction of these devices and interfaces?
  • How seriously are we taking their use in terms of the expectations we have of students, and the traditional forms of interface that we still present them with?