So here at #Edcamp Fayetteville, I was prepping to share some ideas about Padlet with some fellow edcampers when the organizers here were adjusting their firewall settings to accommodate my use of YouTube and Twitter. I was thinking about the blocking of these tools- a practice more common than not. When I think about how powerful these tools have been in my processes as a learner and as an educator, I couldn’t help think, like many of my colleagues, that we are missing the boat on how we handle the “dangers” of these and other technology tools.
In a session today, Things that Suck, the topic of cell phones in the classroom was hotly debated. The fear of the danger of students having cell phones, social media access, etc. has paralyzed many educators.
I couldn’t help but think of what it was like when the technological advancement in education led to the implementation of the use of the sharpened lead pencil to replace the chalk and slate method that was trusted, tried, and true for many years. What horror, what fear, what paralysis as the dangerous possibilities this advancement must have evoked from educators. My goodness, students could use them as weapons, they might jab, stab, sword fight with these tools that, really, it was highly debatable how much better would they make education.
Well I am sure there have been many an incident with pencils. I have seen some myself. But for the most part, students are very responsible about how they use them.
Because we taught them how to be responsible, we held them accountable for being so, and corrected them when they weren’t. Are there instances where there are still incident? Sure. Are there incidents that are tricky because the teacher doesn’t see the occurrence? Yep. But they are very few, and very far between.
I suspect that before too long, the same will hold true with the use of cell phones, Twitter, Youtube, and whatever else is coming down the pike.
The message is that banning, sheltering, hiding, blocking, firewalling etc won’t work, and quite frankly we are wasting time and money trying to do so. Let’s put the time and resources into getting the kids ready to use these tools to benefit their learning and growth in positive ways, hold them accountable for their use, and correct them when they stray.
When I was in my sessions today, I saw many IPads, smart phones, and educators using pens & pencils to take notes. Not one was using the chalk and slate. Happy to report- there were no stabbings with pencils.