I’ve gotten a bit of blowback from my previous post on bringing cell phones into the class in a way that somewhat caught me off guard. And when I reflect on why, I think there’s a part of me that may not have tipped my hat enough to the idea that there are going to be inevitable “issues” with the incorporation of more technology into our classrooms – but I also thought that this notion was somewhat a given, that all of us knew precisely this going into any discussion of this type of stuff.
Teachers are going to have to develop new skill sets to keep pace with the new skill sets that students are going to be developing – and needing – as literacy tools evolve, morph and grow. Will there be “rule violators” with some of this stuff? Of course. Will there be challenges? Of course? Will it be, as the techies like to say, “discomforting” for the entire institution of public education? Of course.
But a new era is upon us. Hand held technology has evolved so rapidly – and is so remarkable – and provides so many expanded tools for learning that we are going to need to start to figure out a way to start incorporating it. You can poo-poo it all you want in 2011 – and even in 2012 – and even in 2013… but today’s high school freshman will graduate from an institution that will have seen a ton of growth by 2014/2015 in this area. And by their 10th high school reunion, parts of their old school will seem unrecognizable. It’s literally an explosion ready to to happen under our classroom feet… and like it or not, it’s coming.
And why? Because there is merit to these tools being used. Yes, there will be some sorting of the wheat from the chaff but we’re still sorting that in the non-tech world of schools even after decades and decades of public debate about it. Looking to have all the answers before we start swimming in these waters is tantamount to saying we’re never going to make the leap and jump in the pool.
As every teacher who uses this stuff knows, at some point, you just have to jump in. That causes fear. That becomes personally confrontational. That taps into our shadows.
But schools – and the tools we use to teach inside of them – are changing. No one can hold back the water about to burst from this dam.