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The Virtual Staffroom

Episode 27 – The future of tech fty Trevor Long

Joachim Cohen:

Welcome to The Virtual Staffroom, a podcast made for teachers by teachers, and all with the dash of educational technology thrown in. My name is Joachim Cohen and today, like every day, I'm joined by Yvette Poshoglian and Linda Lazenby: two awesome members of the Technology 4 Learning team.

Joachim Cohen:

Welcome! What a year 2020 and 2021 have been. Technology has risen to the forefront of all our minds, from enabling us to stay connected, to keeping us safe. But as we see the light at the end of the tunnel, what will we keep and what will the next big thing be? To chat all things tech, this episode we're excited to be talking to someone I'm going to call the cardiac surgeon of technology; someone whose stethoscope takes the pulse of all the latest tools, surfaces and platforms. Let's head to the surgery.

Joachim Cohen:

You might have heard his podcast, Two Blokes Talking Tech, or you might even have read his digital magazine EFTM on tech, cars, and lifestyle. But now he's heading back to school and we are lucky enough to welcome this tech guru into the virtual staff room, our so-called digital doctor, Trevor Long. Welcome to the Virtual Staffroom.

Trevor Long:

Thanks for having me. I was fine until you mentioned going back to school. Now I'm nervous.

Linda Lazenby:

No need to be nervous, Trevor. Look, many of our listeners have seen or heard you on the airwaves or through their digital channels, but can you give us a lowdown on what a typical day might look like for you?

Trevor Long:

Look, I won't lie. I don't have a typical day, but I have a typical week, essentially. So, a Tuesday for example, is a really long day for me. I get up at 4:00 AM and I'm up until about 11:00 PM doing radio. I do about 52 radio stations every Tuesday, so it's just talking about the same thing every five minutes; a different radio station is asking me the same questions.

Trevor Long:

And then, during rest of the day or the rest of the time, I'm creating a podcast. But other days of the week, I won't lie, I've got the greatest job of the world. It's sitting around and deciding which gadget to look at, which car to drive, or writing an article, planning my next radio segment or TV segment on The Today Show. So, I'm pretty lucky. I have some pretty chilled days, but I have some really intense long days as well that offset all that.

Yvette Poshoglian:

Oh, we're very lucky to have you then, Trevor. Thank you so much. Just on that, with all the tech that you're coming across and you're reviewing, obviously the pandemic's been a game changer, but what do you think is here to stay? What have we started adopting and using that is not going anywhere?

Trevor Long:

Look, I know it sounds lame and easy to say, but this video stuff, it's not going anywhere. Think back, it is so hard to actually think back to 2019, but just try for a minute and think about your elderly parents, grandparents, let alone your colleagues: hesitancy around having a video call, whether it's on your phone or a catch up on the computer was extreme. We'd prefer to fly to another city and see someone. We'd prefer to drive half an hour and go see them. But today, it's so much easier to say, "Should we just catch up quickly on Teams or Zoom?" whatever it might be. So I think we need to accept that it's a genuine part of our lives in a good way.

Trevor Long:

I think, in a personal sense, it's a great way of connecting people. My mum lives six hours away and so the fact that on her birthday, we can just make a video call and she now has a smartphone, and she will answer it, and she knows how to a video call , huge leap forward. But from a productivity point of view, in a workplace, let alone education, it's massive to think that video is accepted by every generation, every demographic. Because if I was to be asked in 2019, when do I think everyone will be doing video? I would've said, "Well, your younger generational come through and five year plan kind of thing," but it would've pretty much just assumed that the over 55s/65s would've just gone... We have to always account for them. So, that massive escalation in video is the biggest game changer that we will look back on 2020 for all of its badness as an amazing transition and step forward.

Joachim Cohen:

Yeah. It's really brought us all closer together. I think a lot of our regional schools have really seen the huge benefits of that kind of technology and were leaders in the past. And now, with everybody being so familiar with it, hopefully we'll keep on going. We agree, I think. That's for sure, Trevor. But now I want you to get your crystal ball and we want you to tell us what you think might be the next big trend in tech. What's getting you excited at the moment?

Trevor Long:

I'll give you two things that I think are buzz words, but also important crystal ball looking things. One of them is very personal. It's not really a workplace thing, but in terms of cryptocurrency and NFTs, it's weird buzzword technology stuff, but it is genuinely changing the world. We don't really know why and how, I'll be honest, but the underpinnings of our financial systems will change over the next 20 years because of what blockchain and cryptocurrency does.

Trevor Long:

I'm not talking about Bitcoin price, I'm talking about the whole ecosystem. And then this NFT thing, nonfungible tokens is a really exciting way... And I think about my kids drawing artwork and thinking in the future, when they design something, when they might take a photo... my oldest is loving photography... there's this ownership that will exist in the digital space that doesn't exist today. You put a photo on the internet today, it's gone. Someone can screenshot it. They can essentially pretend it's theirs, but if embedded with NFTs, there's an ownership that exists within that digital document that can ensure that people are paid royalties forever and a day. So, that's exciting.

Trevor Long:

From a personal perspective, I think the best crystal ball gazing I've ever come across over the last little while is that what we do with smart watches, smartphones, and tablets is going to just completely change in the next 10 years. Because I think if you think about today, we've got the smartphone is the way everything comes into our lives. The connectivity is there and then we consume it on there, and the watch is just a way of observing some parts of it. That'll switch on its head. The watch will be the thing we wear that means we're connected. So no matter where we go, whether we're in a car, next to a TV, next to a tablet, the things will connect through that watch. That's how we'll be communicated. How we consume it is up to us there.

Trevor Long:

Some people won't carry smartphones because they don't need to because their watch is their method of being communicated with through your little earbud, or whatever. They'll have a phone in their pocket that might fold out or they'll have a tablet on the desk that will be the way they interact with a message, or an email on everything, so it's going to swap on its head. We're close. We've come a long way with smart watches, but I think in the next five years, smart watches will jump forward and will have some real advances in that space.

Linda Lazenby:

I feel like that means we're having you back in 2026, Trevor, just to make sure that that prediction-

Trevor Long:

Fact-checking.

Linda Lazenby:

... was correct. No pressure from us. Look, we've had heard a lot about mixed, augmented, and virtual reality and schools are really starting to embrace how they're using that in to integrate into learning. The recent announcements from Facebook about big investment into education VR and Microsoft taking Teams 3D, how do you see that as surviving in terms of the communication and connection in 2022?

Trevor Long:

I put a cautionary tail upon anything VR in that it's still a long way from being mainstream. I've had VR headsets for five years or so and nearly all the time I get super excited about them. I think, "This is amazing," but after a week or two, they're not part of my life anymore until I need to show them off or something like that. So we're a long way off really them being anything other than a fun little thing to use.

Trevor Long:

Facebook and everyone else talking about this metaverse concept, this future world, I'll be honest, I wouldn't put my house on it just yet. I do believe that the headsets and those kind of things will play a role in some workplaces and they'll probably be more early adopter style workplaces. But I think about the places I've worked and the kind of people you've got to get over the line, and I think that we've had this massive technological change with the Zoom calls and Teams meetups, I don't know that everyone's going to want to whack a headset on just to have a conversation. I think we need to caution ourselves actually the real use case for VR and augmented reality is in how we apply workplaces.

Trevor Long:

I think the greatest example I've seen is like engineering and mechanics. You think of someone who works at Boeing. These planes need to be maintained to a very specific manner. An engineer at an airline could put on a headset and not be blocked out from the world, but see the plane in front of them, but also see the instructions in front of them. And so, rather than looking around and working on a workbook and having to remember things, they're essentially guided through it by this technology, whether it's a real person guiding them through, or whether it's the intelligence of the headset knows he's looking at this part and so says, "No, you need to look over there," it could be amazing. But in our homes? I honestly don't see it.

Trevor Long:

And again, in five or ten years, you'll look back at me and go, "He was completely wrong or he was right." Because 3D TV, such a cool technology, but just didn't take off and I fear that VR headset style technology is a bit that way, but when we get into augmented reality... The critical differentiation there is virtual reality is blocking out the world and being in a new space. Augmented reality is combining the current real world with a digital space like I mentioned with the plane. That is exciting. But again, mainly in workplace environments or gaming.

Yvette Poshoglian:

Trevor, I'm a bit worried about how VR and AR is going to get the snakes off the planes at the moment with that being such an issue, so we'll have to work on that. Look, I going to ask you about gadgets, and you've already hinted at how smart watches are wearable tech. They're really not gadgets. They're a part of our life. It's the next step chips behind our ears? What's the next big thing? I suppose, do we even talk about gadgets anymore or are we just talking about the natural evolution of things and the way we're progressing?

Trevor Long:

I hear what you're saying and I think the point is that we've normalised smart phones, for example. Completely normalised; they're just phones. I can remember... Still today I think it's a bit weird walking around wearing a earpiece. I thought I had one with me, but yeah, I'll tell you look. Think of a Bluetooth earpiece that you wear. I wear them in the car because I want the best quality audio because sometimes I'm driving around doing a, a radio spot; I want that to sound good. But if you walk down the street wearing one of those sticking out Bluetooth earpieces, I think you look a bit silly.

Trevor Long:

So, the advance in the last five years of in ear headphones has been phenomenal. They've been normalised in a sense and that is where that will grow for us. So those headphones will become small, smarter, better battery life, to a point where it'd be accepted that you've always got an earpiece in. I know people that just wear one AirPod all day because they're got a podcast going or whatever. You can be talking to them and they may still be listening to something; you don't know. That's the kind of society etiquette that we need to work out is, how do we do that? How do we have Siri in our ears, something you can tap on to talk to, and have a real world interaction? I'm still concerned about that, but that will be the leap in terms of what the next gadgetry... Because as I said, you've got your watch that connects you; the earpiece is how you'll hear or talk back.

Joachim Cohen:

So continuing to talk about what might be next, what about the classroom? We here at the Technology 4 Learning team are always keen to consider what types of consumer tech will then make their impact on the classroom. Do you have any techno gems you think have a place in the classrooms of 2022?

Trevor Long:

Actually, honestly I think that the classroom has come so far in a very short space of time, if we're real about it. I don't want to sound old, but I'm old, but my generation is only a half a generation ago in reality. Right? So, we've come so far. We've got great technology. I always think it's marvelous when my kids talk about how they watched a movie. I'm like, "Did the casual wheel a TV in?" No, no, there's a screen in every classroom. It's come so far. I think the challenge for classrooms is actually the knowledge of the kids versus the technology that's available; and the challenge for the teacher is to stay in touch with, let alone in front of, the kids.

Trevor Long:

My youngest is 10 and he's the tech support in the classroom because there's no way the teacher can help with all those things, and that's cool. I want her to teach, but if you think about the last year and how much time our kids have spent at home in front of a computer guiding themselves, then that's essentially put a lot of pressure on the digital classroom. Because kids are now sitting at their desk with their chair bag and pens, and they've got to have this reversal back to a non-digital space, so we're probably going to need to escalate that: more computers and that kind of stuff; and also be reliant to a little bit more on that video stuff and be accepting of maybe inter-class or inter-school video chats and stuff.

Trevor Long:

I remember seeing one once and it was like a Japan school and a sister school in Sydney or something. It was amazing, but that should be mainstream. That should be every day. Kids should be hearing from other kids and having that kind of virtual social interaction. So, I actually think that the classroom is ready for the next little while. Challenge is making sure that we're keeping up with the kids.

Linda Lazenby:

And that's no pressure on our team as well to make sure that our teachers are upskilled and that's a big part of our work. I know that the school that has the three Long children, obviously, those teachers are very lucky to have that in-house tech support. Look, one of the biggest imbalances that tech has as the opportunity to level up is accessibility in particular. What could you talk to around the technologies that you think can support that equality of opportunity and access?

Trevor Long:

I think that when you get exposed to accessibility... And I don't have that in my life, but I get to hear from people who ask me questions about how different people in their lives could be use technology. I had a caller this week on my podcast: lovely lady who'd suffered a stroke. I discovered that by saying to you, "Oh, you're on a speakerphone. Can you pick up?" And she's like, "I've had a stroke. I need to go on speaker phone." I'm like, "Oh, okay." But the call was about how she can use Google and Siri and Alexa. And I'm like, "Wow! Well, I feel really bad about how this call started, but I feel really totally jazzed now about how technology can completely change your life."

Trevor Long:

Because look, you put an Alexa in your life, you put smart light bulbs, you connect your TV, and you've now got a whole level of control back. I think that when you realise what's already there... And this is the problem, so much of it is baked in, but needs to be taught out. We don't exactly have the knowledge in the able community to help the disabled community with their accessibility. I think the best example is an Apple iPhone can be used by someone who is 100% visually impaired: blind. Can use an iPhone and I just look at that and go, "It's phenomenal that that's built in at the base level." That's not an app you install. Apple built the iPhone so that you press a few buttons and it talks to you and allows you to navigate it as someone who can't see it.

Trevor Long:

So, I think that we're already at a place where the technology exists, but we need to find embrace and essentially advocate for the cool things. I mean, my kids, we've been playing the latest Forza game. And then, you install this game and by default a computer game now says, "Main menu, press X to do this." It talks you through it because it assumes from the get-go that the person playing this game has some visual impairment and might need to be guided to the accessible menu. That's awesome and I think we just need to discover those things and advocate for those things because I'm confident that for the most part where we've already had the technology created that can help us in huge ways in the accessibility space.

Yvette Poshoglian:

Yeah, you're right. Those features are changing as we speak and becoming more part of every design element. We've got a generation of students at the moment who are digital natives. Thinking ahead of the industries they're going to be working in, what are the skills they're going to need? What can you see as the skill sets that they're going to need or that are going to be beneficial?

Trevor Long:

Coding, coding, coding. I watch my 11-year-old daughter create a computer game, send it to me as an email like a link, and I played this game going, "I'd download this as an app." I just went, "This is amazing." Now, sure, it was a plug and play thing on a Microsoft something. I've never seen it before, but it was mind-blowing to me, and it was the first time I'd seen her embrace something that her older brother had been doing. It was done because she saw her older brother do something in high school and I'm like, "This is fascinating." She doesn't want to be a computer programmer. She wants to be an astronaut, but that doesn't change the fact that she will need to know how things work and how coding works.

Trevor Long:

I say this to CEOs, "If you don't know about code, if you don't know about what's going on at the base level of your business, you can't have a productive conversation with someone." So, if you look at a class, a whole year of students, and you go, "Well, we've got these three kids over here that are clearly our school leaders. They've got that leadership characteristic and they're going to be the CEOs of the future," and all, all that kind of stuff. They may not be the worker ant, but they have to know how that stuff works.

Trevor Long:

So the robotics that's going on, the coding. But then, weirdly, and importantly, that conversation around essentially the social interaction of the digital world is the other critical key to that because you can't create this walled off set of people who just are buried on a keyboard. We still need to be talking about and encouraging social interaction in a digital space and ensuring that, no matter what path they take, they know how to be great people and great communicators, but they've also got this base level of knowledge around every part of the future.

Linda Lazenby:

We, as educators, are obviously really passionate about the intentional use of technology for good and making sure it intersects with learning at the right point. When do you see tech as being awesome and when do you see it as sitting as just working unplugged?

Trevor Long:

It's the most challenging question we can ask ourselves really is, how do we balance? That's a parent's question. It's a question for teachers. It's a question for the future classroom. Because you can put computers on every desk, every desk, but is that a good thing? Because do you lose the learning about turning to someone and asking for help? Because in a workplace, a digital, virtual or otherwise, you've got to learn to ask for help.

Trevor Long:

So, I think the biggest challenge is, unfortunately, the home where some rules aren't created. Some homes are full of rules about the digital world and where you talk, and who you talk to, and how long you're on for. Other homes are completely devoid of rules. And so, I have the upmost respect for the teachers of our society because you have to deal with people who are coming to you from both those spaces. Therefore, you're creating a balance that doesn't exist in either of those two spaces. Bottom line, there has to be a switch off moment but we, as the older generation, have to realise that, do you know what, they're going to be online way more than we ever were. Online being a screen, a little screen, a big screen. It's how they communicate.

Trevor Long:

So, I've come to the point of going, "You know what? It's cool. Just chat. Use it: whatever app you're using to communicate. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome." But just constant conversations about the style of communication and the type of person you want to be in that communication. We've just got to keep talking to our leaders, in terms of parents and educators, about the conversations we have to keep having with kids about how they interact online, so that when they do switch on and off, they're good people. That's the challenge is making sure that they're good people. Doesn't matter what skills they have. I just want them all to be good people.

Joachim Cohen:

An absolute important message, I think, that you've got there, Trevor. That's for sure. We also know that you're quite car mad and we're just wondering autonomous vehicles, are they going to be a thing and will our students actually need a driver's license in the future?

Trevor Long:

I was at the Ford headquarters in Detroit in 2016. So, what's that? Five years ago. I was there because they were announcing a commitment to mass produced autonomous vehicles by 2021. Breaking news: didn't happen and won't because there's so many more challenges.

Trevor Long:

A Tesla fan listening to this might say, "Yes, we've got autonomous cars. Tesla's going to be driven on the highways." Great. I drive... got a Kia electric car at the moment. It was turning through the highways on its own. It's awesome. Nearly every car today can move its way through most roads on its own on an open road highway situation. But turning a corner on a country road in Australia, understanding three roundabouts in a row and how our weird five-way traffic light intersections work, it's not an easy thing for a computer to learn. So, I would again put it on the line and say, it's 10 years before there are autonomous vehicles broadly accessible to people.

Trevor Long:

If you look at the electric vehicle race and, behind that, the autonomous race, it's 15/20 years before we're talking about it being mainstream. My kids and most of the kids even from kindy today will definitely be getting driver's licenses. More likely though it's not the autonomous car that changes whether or they're get licenses, it's actually just the cost of ownership and the way kids or people today just go, "I don't need a car," because you can get an Uber.

Trevor Long:

When we were teenagers, someone had to have a car. I was always the designated driver. I didn't drink, so it was awesome. I just got to drive everyone around. If we had Uber, it would've been a different situation because we would've just got around another way. So I actually think the license thing is more about the technology that exists like Uber and ride sharing and stuff, not autonomous cars. But yeah, it's a long, long way off.

Linda Lazenby:

You just disappointed me because I thought I wouldn't need to teach three children how to drive and do all that.

Trevor Long:

Nope. Every single one of them.

Linda Lazenby:

But that's a real shame. I jumped the gun on having children. Trevor, look, we know that you're probably pretty aware that a lot of our schools are now creating their own podcasts. And do you have any tips as a budding media moguls that we might have in our schools?

Trevor Long:

Look, the number one thing I see from people who try and crack it in any form of media is they don't stick with it, and it's sad. I see adults who have a passion for something and they do it. Like three weeks in a row, they do this great show of their own and then it's not there for three weeks, and then it comes back. You got to have consistency. So, if you start Year 6 or Year 7, or whatever year you start, and you do this thing, you got to do it and you got to commit to it. And then, if it's a passion thing for you, you've got to decide when you're going to do it and how often you're going to do it. You got to make that commitment to yourself. And look, if you're dabble in it and you don't like it, fine, give it up. But if it is a passion, you have to keep doing it.

Trevor Long:

The podcast that I do with my mate, Stephen Fenech, Two Blokes Talking Tech, we've been doing for over 10 years last February. So, every week for 10 years, same thing: just sit down, talk for 30 minutes, turned into an hour and we just jibber. It's a routine, but it's also expected now. So if we stopped doing it for one or two weeks, people would go, "Well, it's finished. It's done." They wouldn't go, "Oh, are they okay?" But the most important thing is I think that if you've got a passion for it, do it and don't look at the numbers because it doesn't matter if there's no-one. Doesn't matter if there's no-one watching all listening. What matters is that you're enjoying it.

Trevor Long:

When you live at home with your parents, when you don't have high overheads in life, and the cost of now getting podcasting equipment is almost zero because you can do it on your phone if you wanted to and then you just simply add cost to make it better, you can just do it because you love it. And over time, whether it's one month, six months or six years, you may build a crazy big audience or a really loyal small niche audience. Doesn't matter as long as you're enjoying it. The challenge is when you try and monetise it and try and make it your business. That's a whole other world of pain and problems, but a story for another day perhaps.

Linda Lazenby:

Trevor, can you tell us... Your job is to keep up to speed with what's new and what's happening in your world of technology. What's your recommendation for our listeners that might want to stay on top of what's new and changing in this space?

Trevor Long:

I think the great thing is that whether you have an over overarching, crazy interest in something. Joe may be in planes and cars. Me, the same, right? Or whether you don't have an interest, but know you need to express a knowledge or have a learning. It's actually really easy now to go on an iPhone or on Google news on an Android, just pick some topics, pick topics in the news apps like Apple News or Google News, topics that matter. Choose the technology topic and don't look at it every five minutes. Look at it once a week if you have to. It'll tell you what the top stories are.

Trevor Long:

The internet is full of news, but we're also getting to this point where it can be filtered for you. So, follow topics that are challenging for you, but you know you should have an interest in, just so that you can have awareness. They might be things then you go, "Oh, I actually should dig more into that and do some research." And the other one is as much as I'm not a massive fan of Facebook, the communities that exist on Facebook are phenomenal, so join groups. Join a group about the things that matter, whether it's in an education sense, people that are more specific about a certain topic, or whether it's in your own personal life about things that you love but don't quite know enough about. Learn from other people. I think the social networks have a great way of educating us on our interests and I think the news sites, whether they're blogs or proper news sites, have a great way of keeping us informed on a subject matter basis.

Trevor Long:

I think there was a new online news service Flash news launch recently, kind of like the Netflix of news, and when you join it, it doesn't just say, "Which channel do you like?" "I like CNN and I like Sky." It says, "What topics do you want?" So I want what business technology and finance, I know nothing about finance, but I think I should, so just give me a bit now and then so I can understand it a little bit.

Joachim Cohen:

I love that. And I think I 100% agree. I've got my Flipboard that I love to use to curate all my news and then put it there so I can go and take a look at it later. That's some great advice for our listeners out there, Trevor. Thank you so much and thank you for such an amazing podcast today. We are coming to the end of it, but we do have one surprise question for you.

Trevor Long:

Oh yeah.

Joachim Cohen:

And we give it to every one of our guests, but you're lucky you're totally prepared for this question. Don't worry. Now you might have heard of a famous podcast over in the UK called Desert Island Discs.

Trevor Long:

Mm-hmm.

Joachim Cohen:

And on that podcast, the people who are interviewed have to name the disc or the album they'd take with them to a desert island. But we're not going to a desert island, we are going into outer space. We're going in a rocket ship and we call it rocket ship robots. So, what would the piece of tech be that you would take with you into outer space, Trevor Long?

Trevor Long:

Piece of tech I would take outer space? You know what? Because I don't know... Obviously, I know this before I'm traveling, so I don't know how it's going to work with connectivity and stuff. So I'm not going to take something that connects me. I'm going to take something that grounds me. I'm going to take something that will play music. Whether it's an old iPod Shuffle, I'm going to take something that plays music, so that no matter where we end up, I can press a button and hear John Farnham. I think that's all that matters.

Joachim Cohen:

Amazing! From the tech guru, something that's not quite so techy. This is unbelievable. I think you probably realise that with inside that space ship there's going to be enough tech to go around.

Trevor Long:

Exactly.

Trevor Long:

I reckon if they've got connectivity, it'll be there already.

Joachim Cohen:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Oh, Trevor Long, thank you so much for joining us on the Virtual Staffroom today. All I can say is the future sounds so exciting. I know, like you, we all can't wait to see where the rollercoaster stops next. Thank you, Trevor.

Trevor Long:

Thank you so much. I've stolen all the biscuits from the Virtual StaffRoom, just so you know.

Joachim Cohen:

So Yvette and Linda, what did you think? Is Trevor's crystal ball on the money? I'll bet that's got everyone thinking about what the next big thing could be in EdTech. But if you were transported back to the classroom tomorrow, what is the one piece of tech you'd like to take with you? Linda?

Linda Lazenby:

Look, I know Trevor talked about some really exciting innovation, but I'd probably keep it a little bit simple if I was in a classroom tomorrow. I think the use of things like an MLD with a webcam to really bring in expert knowledge, and other parts of the world outside of the classroom, out of the area you're in, to really expand what students are exposed to, I think is something you can't put a price on. That would be something that I really, really would make sure I had with me. What about you with it, Yvette?

Yvette Poshoglian:

Look, I love this idea of the wearable tech and we can't get away from that, and the smart watch being such a big feature of our lives. It's hard to imagine life moving forward, that it's not going to improve on that. And I think Joe, in particular... because I know you've been working on this project, the telepresence robots... a few years ago when I joined the team and I first heard about them, it just sounded so outlandish and revolutionary. But now, with going through what we've gone in the pandemic and also just seeing them in action in the classroom, it's so much easier to imagine a robot being an extension of a human and to understand the possibilities of how a student or a teacher could use that in the classroom setting for different advantages, or different outcomes, rather than what we initially first imagine them being used as. So I'm really interested in that connection between the robot and the human and also how one can embody the other, if that's a doesn't sound too esoteric and crazy. But I think there's something there. Joe.

Joachim Cohen:

I really see how our acceptance of that kind of technology you were talking about is growing and the opportunities just multiply and we haven't found them all yet. I so agree with you there. But I suppose if I was thinking about my nirvana inside the classroom, I'd really love to be able to control it with my voice or with a tap on my phone, so I want that ultimate smart classroom.

Joachim Cohen:

I want my auto blinds. I want my auto air diffuser. That's going to give me some lovely scents. It's going to change the mood of the classroom with some smart lights. Maybe the doors will open and close automatically to allow students who might be having some mobility issues to really not be inhibited about where they can go and what they can access. Imagine desks that go up and down to adjust the different classes and for different people. So, I know that's not one piece of tech, but I'm just going to take the smart classroom and the new 2022 version, and that's going to come back with me.

Joachim Cohen:

So team, this week, I'm hoping you can share how you would keep up with the latest things going on in the world of tech. What advice you might have for our listeners. Yvette, start us out.

Yvette Poshoglian:

Well, I know that you and I are both fans of the show Download This Show, which is a podcast from Marc Fennell, which you can hear on the ABC, but it's a great podcast covering all things tech. Probably more suited to the adults in the room; just comes with that little warning, but I think that's a great podcast to just keep in touch with things. And gosh, it would just be like having Trevor on tap, I think.

Yvette Poshoglian:

I also just want to give a little plug for the new issue of T4L kids' magazine, which touches on some of those skills we're talking about for students: skills for the future. This issue is all about prototyping and design and getting an app up and running. So these are things that we want our students to be doing and we want them to take the lead in this area. So, there's some of the things that I am loving at the moment. Linda, what have you loved?

Linda Lazenby:

Look, I have been recommended by our colleague, Laurens, to engage with BBC's Click TV series, which whilst we cannot access BBC Online, they do have this show on YouTube as well. It really unpacks and looks at different types of technology and new emerging uses of it. Under 30 minutes. Pretty easy watching. It comes highly recommended. I feel you've watched a few of them Joe, or maybe not yet? But it has come with a huge recommendation from our team.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh, my gosh, Linda. I know. As you were talking about it, I actually jumped online and took a look at their latest episode and I can't wait to tune in. I have missed the last view, so my passion has been reignited for BBC Click. That is for sure. That's my tip too is to go online, and go out there and find some interesting sources of information. My go-to is always Twitter.

Joachim Cohen:

On Twitter, I know that I follow too many people and I can see both Linda and Yvette and nodding as well. I find it really difficult when I want to find something specific about a topic, so what I've done is I've started to create lists. So within your Twitter account, you'll find there is an ability to create lists, and you can add people to those lists. So, now you might want to find out what's the latest thing going on in VR, or in general EdTech, or maybe it's to do with Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. You can go and find who the experts are in those areas and drag them into your lists and, as a result, when you need that information, you need that hit, you can go jump into that list and you'll find all the information that you're after.

Joachim Cohen:

Wow, team! I think we've given people loads and loads of places to go to get started EdTech. So we've come to the end of another episode of the Virtual staffroom and to see us out, we have an awesome tip of techno wizardry wisdom. And we are lucky enough today to hear from our special guest himself, Doctor... T4L doctor anyway... Trevor Long.

Trevor Long:

If I look at how I use my digital world, and including the smartphone or whatever else, I think the first thing is the calendar should be your life. If you're not running your life by a digital calendar, you may fail; you may slip up; you may not have the link to that Zoom or Teams meeting, right? That's where those things live. But also, make it a shared calendar.

Trevor Long:

Create your own shared calendar with your family. You may be the most person in the world or not, but the other personal people in your life might be, and this allows you all to know what's going on. But the biggest problem you have and the best hack you can have on any smartphone is take... I call it 20 minutes of life admin. Go into the notifications setting and just cull it. Turn off the notifications that don't matter. I'll be honest, think about a WhatsApp group. We have WhatsApp groups for my family, my workmates, all these different things, but I have WhatsApp notifications on. I only turned it off a few months ago and it's changed my life. So check your messages on a regular basis, but just wind back those notifications. Make it what matters and then just go back to when we used to check email. It changes your life when you cut back on notifications.

Joachim Cohen:

I sure hope we've inspired every one of our listeners to get out there and keep their finger on the pulse of tech for the classroom. Who knows what opportunities it might provide for you and your students?

Joachim Cohen:

This podcast has been produced by the masterful Jacob Druce with the assistance and supreme coordination of many more awesome members of the T4L team. Before we go, please make sure you send us through your comments, your word of techno wizardry wisdom, and your thoughts for new guests and segments. We're serious. We want to know what you want to listen to. And if you like the podcast, give us a rating, so more and more educators find us and be inspired to get little techy in the classroom.

Joachim Cohen:

Stay awesome. Keep reinventing yourself and don't be afraid to try something new. Thanks for joining us.

Yvette Poshoglian:

Just a little note: please be aware that all views expressed by the podcast presenters, that's us, are our personal opinions are not representative of the New South Wales Department of Education. Discussions aren't endorsements of third-party products, services, or events. And please note that as much as we sound like it, we are not experts in legalese, tech speak, or anything in-between. We're just passionate people keen to boost technology for learning in the classroom and to help build the skills in your students and for you to solve the problems of tomorrow. Do your due diligence, read further, and if we've got something wrong, let us know. We too are always learning and always improving.