More and more I hear discussions and debates surrounding the use of technology in the classroom. Is it worth the expense? Isn't technology just a more costly way of doing what we've always done as teachers? What professional development is going to support implementation? Is technology still valuable if used by non-techie teachers? Should we purchase a tablet or an IWB? The list of concerns, questions and debate topics can go on and on.
Our reality as educators is that we are increasingly facing a generation of students who have grown up with our fast-paced, ever-changing technology world, and are coming to EXPECT the latest gadgets in all facets of their lives -- including the classroom. Call them digital natives, call them Generation Y, call them 'that group of students that can't sit still for more than 5 minutes unless a flashy image is shown' -- the label is not important. What IS important is that they are leading the demand for increased technology in the classroom.
An article found here discusses a challenge that a professor in Florida gave her students -- go without TV, cell phones, iPods, DVDs, email and computers for 5 days. The result? Only 2 out of the 26 students succeeded in the challenge.
Not convinced? Take a look at the following video, entitled Teens Give Up Technology (launch the video from the link on the right of that page)
Watch as a group of teens are challenged to give up some of their personal tech items for 5 days.
Some of my favourite quotes? "I used to send over 17,500 texts per month" and "the regular newspaper is really messy"
Obviously this video also shows that there are some benefits to unplugging for awhile, as this demonstrates some of the over-reliance that some teens have. We could even discuss whether the mother in the video should have set ground rules so her son wouldn't have begun texting at the dinner table in the first place.
My point is, the students we face are increasingly plugged in, connected 24-hours per day and immersed in personal technology. It's time that we, as the education system, stop resisting this reality and start hashing out the details of how to properly embrace this change within the classroom.
Food for thought on your Wednesday.
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