Technology and Young People

John sent this:

Ben,

This is an interesting article, because it shows just how revolutionary (and difficult) it is for someone under 25 to interact with friends without making use of social media. The author learned some important lessons which, though common-sense to you and me, are becoming lost in this world.

http://news.yahoo.com/90-days-without-cell-phone-email-social-media-015300257.html
 
This sheds light not only on the reality that young people live in, but also perhaps adds urgency to our task of cultivating real human interaction in our classrooms. It may be the only place they experience it during their entire waking life. Simplifying what we do will be of far more educational value to students than any kind of “integration” of technology into the classroom experience. But that’s just my opinion.

John

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6 thoughts on “Technology and Young People”

  1. What an interesting article. I forget that these ‘kids’ really did not have the chance to grow up with the freedom from screens. The freedom to play. Our classrooms must be novel to them. Or torture.

    My other thought…why do I allow myself to be caught up in technology then? I spent ten days in Cuba this past summer. It was an amazing reprieve from screens. I made some amazing friends. We laughed and talked for hours/days. It was great. Here I am, back at it, but more aware.

  2. Shannon,
    Thank you for the post. It made me think that language instruction is about human interaction. Nearly half of my school are ESL students with a huge refugee population from Nepal and Burma/Myanmar. We are also under a tremendous push to use technology more and more. Kansas City, Kansas was the first city picked by Google for its new super blazing speed internet connection. Last week I told the Curriculum Director for my school district that I hope nobody was expecting these kids to end up with much English language proficiency when they spend most of the day with their noses in their laptops.

    1. I liked that article as well (although it seems ironic to be posting about it using technology…) My New-tech students take their school laptops to every class; most of the time, I make them leave their computers closed–it is such a temptation for them to get off-task.

      I noticed that Feb. 1st this month was “technology day” in schools where teachers were encouraged to not use pencils or paper the whole day, but to do everything onscreen. I would like to see a “no-technology-at-all week” just to see if students are even able to function that way…

  3. We had technology day, and they tempted us with the prospect of winning a document camera for the department with the most tech-users. I don’t know yet who won but I could absolutely use that camera. We are definitely a tech-driven district, our superintendent even won some kind of award for being such a “trailblazer” in this field. I enjoy the fact that we have a smartboard in every classroom, but I could easily do without (and so could the kids).

  4. Brigitte, I would suggest that, rather than getting caught up in a rat-race of having to use technology you don’t need in order to get a useful piece of technology (document camera), just approach the parents directly or apply for a grant, or see if a local computer dealer will sponsor your classroom. Anything that promotes communication between your class and the greater community, rather than the divisive and alienating over-use of classroom gadgets.

    John

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