Tony Stark and his Computers

I have been meaning to write about my fascination for the film industry’s depiction of Tony Stark (aka Ironman) and his computers. Watching TV serials like NCIS and CSI where characters often use advanced computers to analyze data, I have found myself fascinated and wondering if there are actually computers that do that. When the first Avengers movie came, I was again fascinated by the glass interfaces used by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. I was equally impressed about how Stark’s AI butler, J.A.R.V.I.S, was able to scan models and project them as 3D images where (and this is the most fascinating of all) a person can actually walk through to inspect.

What’s my point? You might ask.

Well, I have to admit, I actually started wishing for that kind of advanced technology when I was teaching Biology last year.  Teaching cell structures to my students had proved challenging because my girls thought the images of cells were just revolting.  When it came time to teach them about cellular respiration, I found that video clips of how a 6-carbon sugar is converted into energy were not enough.  I had to retell the story in such a way that the components “came alive” for them.  I had thought then, how neat would it be if I could project a 3D image in the middle of the classroom and have the girls manipulate it just to see what the effects will be?

This week in my Instructional Media Resources class, we were introduced to the TPACK Model designed by Punya Mishra and Matthew J. Koehler (2006).

The TPACK Model by Mishra and Koehler Image source: http://tpack.org

The TPACK Model by Mishra and Koehler
Image source: http://tpack.org

TPACK (or sometimes TPCK) stands for “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge” which is an important framework when it comes to using technology as a tool to enrich knowledge transfer in classroom encounters.

In the midst of reading the resources for the topic, I found myself researching about the likelihood that Tony Stark’s computers actually exist in real life.  There have been amazing developments in technology akin to that of the films like those by Elon Musk (Tolentino, 2013) and Hewlett-Packard (Bright, 2014).  I think that in the very near future, computers like those in Tony Stark’s universe will indeed be available to us.  Budget-constraints notwithstanding, the question that remains to be answered would be how they will impact education and how teachers will be able to use them effectively in the classroom.

References:

Bright, P. (2014, October 30). Gears and Gadgets. Retrieved from ARS Technica: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/10/hps-sprout-pc-is-like-a-real-version-of-iron-mans-jarvis/

Koehler, M. J. (n.d.). TPACK explained. Retrieved from tpack.org: http://www.matt-koehler.com/tpack/tpack-explained

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00684.x.

Tolentino, M. (2013). Elon Musk to Unveil Holographic Technology Akin to Tony Stark’s. Retrieved from Silicon Angle: , http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/08/28/elon-musk-to-unveil-holographic-technology-akin-to-tony-starks/

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One thought on “Tony Stark and his Computers

  1. I enjoyed reading your post. I myself have been fascinated by how technology is depicted in movies. Right you are in saying that if only a 3D projection that can be manipulated could be used in classrooms, it would definitely be neat. I’m sure students will not be bored and things that are difficult to imagine (therefore, difficult to understand), would be a lot more comprehensible. Maybe we could expect for that in the future, after all technological advances never cease.

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