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It is near impossible to disagree with anything stated or argued through Modules 1.1. to 1.5. It’s clear what challenges educators face. It’s obvious the way life has changed because of technology, and the call for schools to adapt is important and necessary. But calls for change isn’t new. For the entire time I have been teaching (since 1986), various stakeholders have denounced the industrial model, and clamoured for something more: More skills-based, more critical, more inquiring, more creative.
Of course technology is impacting on schools, and sometimes, I fear for the worst. I notice that I am unable to concentrate on extended pieces of text, and the way it’s so easy to skim, bookmark and tweet, instead of delving, analysing and pondering. So how hard must it be for students? I struggle everyday with students who can’t focus on instruction, who don’t bother to read emails, and who are more interested in consuming (technology) than being participatory (Brown, 2012).
They want easy, instant connections. They expect individual assistance and regard classrooms as relaxation rooms. They don’t understand or accept the notion of intellectual property (Leech, 2006) and they believe the web is their personal toy box. It’s often frustrating to deal with them.
But it’s also dismissive of me to group all young adults into this somewhat narrow and predominantly negative mindset (Stoerger, 2009). In the classroom, and in my library, I try to treat each student as if they have the skills they need. To remind myself they just need guidance on how and when to use them. And when I do encounter that boy who openly admits his hatred of technology, I must confess to being shocked and a little disappointed. How fair on him is that?
We all grapple with our (different) realities, so we must celebrate the triumphs, the ah-ha moments, the times when student learning makes our day. Because soon enough, there will be another obstacle. That’s when our learning occurs. When our passions are stirred. When our connections are made. We pass these learnings, these passions, these connections onto our students and the cycle continues.
Brown, J. S. (Writer) & J. S. Brown (Director). (2012). The Global One Room Schoolhouse. YouTube.
Leech, R. (2006). Internet ethics: Morality for an online world. Available from CSU Infomit Retrieved 15/03/2014
Stoerger, S. (2009). The digital melting pot: Bridging the digital native–immigrant divide. First Monday, 14(7).
Photo: Padua College Library, taken 2005 by PJ Buckley