The Enigma of 21st Century Teaching
We’re all excited, inspired and eager to bring the iPad into the classroom, or are we? As parents and educators we seem to welcome the nationwide encouragement to shift our focuses in the classroom toward a more technological generation. It’s change, and change is good! For kids however, this is not “change”. This is all they’ve ever known, and if anything, kids are once again saying “Finally, the old people are cluing in”.
As a 55 year old parent and educator, I often revert to the hard core values my own Father has instilled in me, although it’s safe to say that he’d beg to differ. My dad saw the writing on the wall the day the calculator was introduced to the commercial market. He was (and still is) in awe. How the hell does this thing do what it does and, who was brilliant enough to invent such a marvel? “Be appreciative of this Peter”, he’d say but in the same breath warned me,”This’ll make your brain go soft”.
With the tablets and cell phones in the classroom many peoples first inclination was “No way, not in my class!”. Understandably, there’s some merit to the knee jerk reaction; kids are texting their friends, using calculators instead of their brains, Googling answers, plagiarizing essays and the list goes on. Wait, haven’t we all been there, done that already? Most of us grew up in a time where calculators were in the classroom. Most of us coped answers from encyclopedias, and some of us have even been brought through the school system in the “computer age”.
When’s all this cheating going to stop? Answer: it’s not!
By putting up a wall and fighting the use of technology in the classroom we’ve become our parents: protective and frightened. How many generations must we stand by and watch morph beyond our own before we finally accept that this sis the way it’s going and it guaranteed to keep going?
Alright . . . I’ll say it; the calculator is faster. It saves us a lot of time. If you’re going to advance into an engineering career you’re going to use one regardless. No one calculates complex equations in their head anymore. It’s a waste of time in a world that wants the answer NOW! The fact that the world “wants the answer now” isn’t going to change any time soon, but your employment status will if you don’t heed the calling.
Spell check: Amazing how many people still don’t use it. As a grammar geek, I’d like to think we all know how to spell but seriously, why waste the time if you’re not cut out to be a Noah Webster?
How is texting a friend any different than passing a note on a folded piece of paper to that cute guy or girl any different now than it was then? Don’t tell me you didn’t do it!
There’s a list of no no’s and that list hasn’t changed. While the world’s changing at record speeds, this list is not about to budge. While we may continue to point fingers, raise eyebrows and detain kids after school for the little infractions, using these little no no’s as an excuse to ban technology in schools is not pragmatic. While we must continue to instill values, we must also practice leniency.
If you want to be a champion, you need to think like a champion.