I spent the day at the ILE Conference in Columbus, Ohio, listening to one of the most inspiring (and yet, anxiety-producing) speakers I’ve heard in a long time. Will Richardson (in addition to Ian Jukes, who was also amazingly inspiring on Monday), presented several session about the future of education and where we are going as teachers. One of the themes this week was that we are all teaching kids for a world that doesn’t exist anymore. Fascinating thought!
Some background…until today, I had yet to include any email applications or access to the Internet from my personal cell phone, and whether you want to chalk that up to frugality (access is too expensive!!) or my own subscription to “old school ways”, I was reluctant to change. My husband, someone who thoroughly enjoys perusing the web at any available moment, made the argument that access and the ease of life when given that access is the way of the future. Here’s a snippet of our most recent conversation:
Him: “There are apps for everything. You don’t have to do any work to find things and answer your questions.”
Me: “But what are you giving up to have that access? There’s always a trade-off.”
Him: “You’re not giving up anything. Think about it this way…cars, like the Internet, make life easier and give us quicker access to things.”
Me: “Yes, and because we all like that efficiency, we have gotten fat. We don’t walk for miles and miles to get to the store. We hop in our cars. That’s the trade-off. With instant access to the Internet and all those apps, you give up your privacy, your sense of adventure and exploration, your ‘quiet place’. There is no ‘my space’ anymore, everything becomes ‘our space.'”
Nathan put up a fair fight, but I just wasn’t seeing it his way. Let’s make this applicable to education…this summer, I took an Ed Tech class, and I swore through the entire class that there is something to be said about making a child disconnect, sit with a pen and paper, and write. If you asked me a week ago, I would have said this was still true.
Until today. I finally started to hear things that make sense. We do live in a different world now. The generation gap is HUGE between even myself (in my upper 20’s) and my high school kids (in their later teens). That’s AMAZING! How can 10 years of age difference account for my complete lack of know-how in terms of reaching my students? The world IS different, and like the Eric Hoffer quote above, if we continue to teach the way we have always taught–in a controlled manner with a slow and steady pace under the guise that we are the experts and we are disseminating selected information into the brains of our children, for them to regurgitate on our multiple-choice assessments at the end of each unit–we are going to continue to prepare our kids for a life that has already passed by.
As much as it pains me to say it, my husband has been right. I am living in the 20th century still. I’ve been fighting the interconnectedness of social networking for a long time (to my own credit, I am, ironically, typing that last statement on my blog), and it’s not going to slow down. I have to change my thinking about education, even more so given my chose path in curriculum and education reform.
So, check out my updated name on the blog–I used the whole thing! Anyone could find me = “positive digital footprint” for potential employers and connections. I also set up a Twitter account, though I’m a little boggled by all the Tweets people post, and I linked my Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress after adding my personal and work email accounts for access on my mobile phone. All in a day’s work.