Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Technology, Tools and Toothbrushes

Technology, Tools and Toothbrushes?

 Permanent link I’ve always used a manual toothbrush. I purchased battery operated toothbrushes for my sons when I thought they were old enough. It wasn’t until our son, the dental student, bought me an Oral B sonic toothbrush for my birthday, that I really tried one. This toothbrush is the perfect tool for a techie. The toothbrush tells me if I brush too hard (it slows down and stops), it has a wireless device with a timer and indicates which quadrant of the mouth to be brushing, and then a smiley face when I pass the 2 minutes mark. I love that smiley face!

A variety of oral hygiene measures have been used since before recorded history. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which chewsticks, tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered. The first toothbrush recorded in history was made in 3000 B.C., a twig with a frayed end called a chewstick.

Old Toothbrushhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/82439748@N00/765033961

The first successful electric toothbrush, the Broxodent, was conceived in Switzerland in 1954 by Dr. Philippe-Guy Woog. Woog's electric toothbrushes were originally manufactured in Switzerland (later in France) for Broxo S.A. The first clinical study showing its superiority over manual brushing was published by Pr. Arthur Jean Held in Geneva in 1956.


 The question I had as I reflected upon this use of technology, this tool, “Why did it take so long for me to move to an electronic toothbrush?” Normally, I am willing to try new technologies, I am usually a first adopter. Did my dentist or hygienist ever promote one over the other? Not that I remember? Did my circle of friends extol the efficiency and benefits of using an electric toothbrush? Am I only willing to try techie tools when it suits me? 
This environmental fact alone,  will help my decision making in the future. The environmental impact of toothbrushes in the USA alone is staggering.While each brush is a small source of pollution, toothbrushes make up 50 million pounds of plastics discarded in landfill per year (in the USA alone).   The fact that my son, a dental student, gave this as a gift will keep me using this and learning.
 As I think on this, I will use my transition to an electronic toothbrush as an example when I continue with my professional development workshops for staff and when working with students. We do things a certain way because we have always done it that way. We change when we have compelling reasons to change. Usually our networks, mentors, teachers, students, family and friends provide opportunities for us to allow change. Remind me to tell you about my iRobot, Wally, and what a difference he has made in our lives.

Resources:
Wikipedia
Oral B
iRobot

Stay tuned, Cheryl is going back into a resource room at her High School in Wells, Maine this fall. Late in the 1990’s she left the field of special education to be a computer lab teacher and then a Collaborative Content Coach for Technology in the Wells Ogunquit Schools K-12. Now she believes it is time to move back to her roots and work with challenged and independent learners as they develop skills to open the doors to global, communication and media rich lives. Watch for blog posts about Universal Design for Learning, CAST, Virtual Toolkits for Learning, Internet Etiquette  and more.

 Cross-posted at http://www.techlearning.com

2 comments:

tech-tuesday said...

Cheryl,

You pose a very good question. I like that you have addressed that change is made when people feel the need to change. In terms of teaching and learning. I'm not sure that we've reached critical mass in the classroom. There are many who are willing, but those numbers are still currently outweighed by the population that's hangin' out. They are not seeing the need to change. The numbers of "adoptees" will move from the red to the black when administration requires them to do so and when tech folks (integrators, etc.) make the case compelling. It's hard to embrace change when the beneficiary is some one (our students) and not the one making the change. I would argue that all benefit, I just don't think enough teachers see it that way.

Dan Tompkins
http://tech-tuesday.blogspot.com

Cheryl Oakes said...

Dan, your comment disappeared, I copied it and posted. Cheryl 7/6/10

Cheryl,

You pose a very good question. I like that you have addressed that change is made when people feel the need to change. In terms of teaching and learning. I'm not sure that we've reached critical mass in the classroom. There are many who are willing, but those numbers are still currently outweighed by the population that's hangin' out. They are not seeing the need to change. The numbers of "adoptees" will move from the red to the black when administration requires them to do so and when tech folks (integrators, etc.) make the case compelling. It's hard to embrace change when the beneficiary is some one (our students) and not the one making the change. I would argue that all benefit, I just don't think enough teachers see it that way.

Dan Tompkins
http://tech-tuesday.blogspot.com