Friday, March 21, 2014

The Times They Are A-Changin'

I'm sure Bob Dylan won't mind if I borrow one of his song titles:)  Very recently, I was at my daughter's middle school for a band concert.  While there, I noticed in the entryway a very large sign that read "Cell Phones or Any Electronic Devices = Suspension."  Underneath the very sign that evening was a child who could not have been more than five years old playing on an iPad.  Next to him was another child using a laptop.  The line I was standing in was filled with parents using their smart phones.  The irony of that sign and the children underneath it using technology was not lost on me.

Now, I'm the first person to promote the idea that there is a time and place for cell phones and electronics.  However, that sign gave me the impression that the school was a "no technology" zone.  I also happen to know that the school is considering supplying Google Chrome Books to each middle school student.  That doesn't seem to gel with the no electronics policy.  There seems to be a disconnect between some outdated policies and promoting learning with technology.  In a school that is wireless, which this school is, I would expect students to be using e-readers and other devices for research and projects.  I also know that the social studies and science curriculum are online and not with paper books.  So why the fear??

The sign made me think that cell phones or electronic devices (like my beloved Kindle) would be considered as contraband (on the same level as an illegal substance).  Knowing that the vast majority of middle school students have cell phones or electronic devices, it sounds like students are set up for a violation.  What I think would make more sense is a policy that allows and encourages technology (yes, even cell phones), but helps guide their use in appropriate times and procedures.  I've heard of many secondary classrooms that incorporate smart phones into their lessons.  I think of technology like a river...we can try to dam it up or we can help guide its course and use it for the great potential it has.

Going back to my original observation.  That child using the iPad was about five years old, the age of a kindergarten student.  What a disservice it would be to have that child "give up" his technology upon entering school when we could be expanding upon it and teaching him new ways to use that technology.  The truth is my middle school daughter can maneuver my smart phone better than I can and she gets bored with my traditional power points and prefers Prezi instead.  The millennials are born into technology, and it's our job to teach them to use it in constructive ways and not to hold back the tide.  Let's guide the course of the river instead!

Nearly 40% of College Students say they don't go longer than 10 minutes a day without checking an electronic device.

 In 2011 children ages 5-8 averaged 30 minutes a day on the internet. 

In 2013 nearly 80% of all teens had cell phones (1/2 of those were smart phones) and 1/4 of teens primarily access the internet with mobile devices.


"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger." - Frank Lloyd Wright
"Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight?" - Al Boliska
"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do." - B.F. Skinner

Monday, March 24: 8:15 Parent Meeting (Fuller/Wennstrom)
Tuesday, March 25: Spring Photos (All School)
                                   3:00 SOTM Assembly (Think Win-Win)
                                    5:30-7:30 pm District School Improvement Team
Wednesday, March 26: 8:15 Achievement Team (Madaus - with parents)
                                         9:15 Achievement Team (Nadon - with parents)
Thursday, March 27: 8:00 am Staff Meeting with guest Dr. Liepa
Friday, March 28: Teacher Work Day (in Building) No Students


Tuesday, April 1: SIC at 8:15 am
Thursday, April 3: Staff Meeting (with School Improvement Presentation)
                               PTA Meeting at 6:30 pm
Monday, April 7: Board Meeting at Rosedale 6:30 pm (SIC presentation)
Friday, April 11: Final Data Dive Meeting (Rotating Subs)

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