Now there are literally dozens of choices for pocket sized devices that can hold not only games, but books, music, TV shows, videos, and you can even phone a friend if that becomes boring. As time went by my Pocketeers turned into the handheld video games that were blinking lines on the screen, great for playing football, basketball, and other games. Better, but not sure that my kids would be very engaged with that today. I often wonder what would happen if today's generation did a little time travel, kind of like that movie where the modern day aircraft carrier ends up back in the the Pacific during WWII, and ended up back in the late 70's and 80's. Of course they would adapt and survive, but I think they might feel a little cheated that information and the ability to not just entertain themselves, but teach themselves wasn't at their fingertips.
Last week my 7 year old pulled out her dry erase easel and I quietly watched from the table. She started drawing symbols and after a few minutes, she told me that she was writing Chinese. I asked her where she learned how to draw the symbols and she said the Internet. Somewhere the day before there was a discussion of Chinese symbols and she wanted to write sentences using the symbols so she looked them up on Google Images, and off she went. My kid isn't special or smarter than any other 7 year old in today's world, they just know where to go for information. My daughter still had some questions, and I was there to guide her, but I wasn't feeding her the information, she was obtaining that on her own.
I guess the point that I would like to make with sharing this story is that our students today are probably looking for the same type of learning experience when they are at school. There will never be a replacement for good teaching, but teaching differently is something that will never stop evolving. The Pocketeer of the 70's was pretty cool, but an iTouch would have been much better:).