Sunday, August 28, 2016

Countdown to 20 Years

Back in 1997, the original Provincial Team of the newly created Telus Learning Connection [Catherine (Kullman) Macklam, (the late) Brian Cleary, Janet Bell, Kay Steward and Denis Chalifoux] were tasked to create a website. Of course, one of the big questions was "what would we call it?". Would it be called the TELUS Learning Connection or should it stand on it own with a unique domain name?  And also could it be a ".ca" extension?  Back then, ".ca" was only obtained through an application process to organizations that could prove that they had interests in more than one province. At the time, the TELUS Corporation which had heavily sponsored in the early years in Alberta, also operated in Ontario. Phew! But how did the name come about.  It was before a time when so many names and titles started showing up as combinations of numbers attached to words, so we were not getting on a bandwagon.  The concept of "2Learn" came as a result of the team gathered in a conference room within a design firm. That firm would develop the logo based on the team's brainstorming what the domain name would be. It was probably not our most difficult decision, but it was a good one that had long term implications. Thinking back on how over the years the name of the initial organization morphed from the TELUS Learning Connection [TLC] to The Education Society with some calling it TELUS 2Learn along the way.  Could we have anticipated being here almost 20 years later?

And what else couldn't we have anticipated in 1997? [Click on the items to read more]. Some science biggies like - how about that Pluto would no longer be a planet or that scientists would detect water on Mars? That we would communicate with and watch Chris Hadfield recording Space Oddity [over 32 million views and counting] on the space station.

That someone would skydive from space

Touch Screens would be almost ubiquitous and constantly improving.  

wrist band would monitor our health, deliver text messages or play our favourite music. GPS, a U.S. government owned program primarily for military use, would be part of all our daily lives. The advent of 3-D printers  would be an essential component of makerspaces in schools  We would be able to watch just about anything on our phone, including the videos above, and each other.

While it's always interesting to 'wow' each other with all the changes, particularly in personal technologies - there are many lists of fascinating technologies and terms not around even ten years ago. 

And yet some things are given longevity because there is a need.

One of the most insightful observations the late, great Stephen Jobs made back in 1996 was that people were already suffering from “information overload” and that ”most people get far more information than they can assimilate anyway.”  That team of people who laboured over the name of in 1997 knew that teachers would appreciate the help in gathering, reviewing, collating  and presenting web resources for classroom use. That hasn't changed as a goal for all the team members that have worked and continue to work on  - like Theresa Paltzat who became our digital librarian in 2007 before few knew that job title. 

As the primarily text-based web changed from those early days in 1997 to a multimedia resource, so adapted. As classroom technologies changed from stationary to mobile, from videoconferencing to web-based Skype or Hangout type environments, has continued to provide support for classroom teachers in their busier-than-ever roles in the classroom. 19 years since inception, we still average 5 million hits a month from teachers and learners around the world.

We hope you find what you need on as you begin the 2016-2017 school year and know we will be here to assist teachers as we can. Let us know what we can add to make the site more useful to you. We wish you a great start to your school year!