Friday, February 6, 2009

Technology Is Everywhere, Including Disney World

Technology is all around us. You use it the moment you wake up unless you have an internal alarm clock, but that wouldn’t be me. You use it to wash, eat your breakfast, and get to work not to mention create that magical morning liquid called coffee. But that’s not what I am going to blog about today. I recently took a trip to Disney World, the land of imagination, and I want to talk about the technology I saw there. You leave your Disney Resort and hop on the tram. This is a very modern looking train that runs on electricity. Then you enter the front gate. You slide your Disney Resort card in the scanner and place your index finger on a biometric scanner. This is to make sure you are the only person using your pass.
Now we know how much kids like their video games. We went on a Toy Story ride where you are placed inside the video game. Two people ride together and shoot at targets that vary in point value as you are moved through the numerous rooms. I had a blast, even though my 4 year old daughter more than tripled my score. She didn’t sit with me again on the next ride. After that we went to The Seas with Nemo and Friends to engage in Turtle Talk with Crush. The children sat on the floor in front of a large movie screen while the parents sat further back on benches. When the curtain opened, Crush appeared and asked questions of the children and answered them using his “hippie” manner as he flipped around in his ocean world. Dory made her appearance too but forgot why she was there. It was amazing how Crush’s mouth moved in perfect sync with the person hidden from our view. Another similar show was the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor Comedy Club. Mike Wazowski is the Monster of Ceremonies. He introduces his monster friends/comedians while all the time Roz is keeping a close eye on him. The monster comedians interact with the public and even heckled some poor sap who sat too close to the movie screen.
The fireworks shows at Disney World are in a class all their own! The Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a blend of a Broadway show, laser lights on a fan of water or fog, fire, cannon blasts, water fountain displays, fireworks and the Disney characters combined into an amazing display of technology and entertainment. Epcot’s Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is a live pyrotechnic show that brings together Earth’s past, present and future. The fireworks explode to a musical track while the fire barges turn the lake into a bed of fire and blasts. At the same time a video is displayed on the continents of a 350,000 pound globe that floats around the lake on a barge.
Each character and float in the Magic Kingdom’s night parade, which is absolutely spectacular, is lit up with hundreds to thousands of lights and I didn’t see any electrical cords plugged into a receptacle anywhere.
The point is, technology is all around us. It’s a part of our student’s being. We as teachers need to incorporate technology in our lessons to spark the interest and creativity in each student. Albert Einstein said "imagination is more important than knowledge". It may not have been a part of our education, but it’s not about us. It’s about them and preparing them for a future that we can’t possibly imagine. When I was young, the future was thought to be 50 years away. Today the future is 5 years away or less. Our students will be competing for jobs in a much more global economy than we had when we entered the work force. They need to possess 21st Century skills that will make them more marketable. Those skills are creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and oral and written communication skills. They also need to have a good work ethic, integrity, adaptability, accountability, self-direction, personal responsibility, and people skills. Who knows, if we can cultivate these skills in our students, maybe we will be watching a Disney show created by one of our previous students in the near future! As Crush would say, “give me fin dude”.

1 comment:

Erica said...

I went to Disney for the first time this past December. I must admit I was amazed by all of the technology used throughout the parks. The whole idea of scanning your finger to get into the park just blew my mind. I would love to see how some of the ride or shows are made. Things are so detailed and thought out. The technology at Disney is nothing short of amazing. The firework show at Epcot....wow! Those were the best fireworks I have ever seen!