Friday, December 7, 2007

Safe Technology

I'm just back from the VASCD Conference in Williamsburg. One of the keynote speakers was Alan November. He made a few humorous yet, serious points about how we effectively integrate technology in our curriculum with which I really agree. Basically he said educators don't effectively integrate it. It made me think of "family life education." Much like family life education, we are in denial about our students having technology. We don't want to believe it is a normal phase of development in children and teens. We think if we avoid saying "technology" we can prevent technology from happening. We think having a "talk" once, where we are nervous and the kids know more about it than we do, is enough to support their needs. Some educators believe older students can have technology but it should be safe technology. What should we do with fourth graders who are already experimenting with technology? There are some who actually want students to wait until they are married to have any technology. You know what happens once kids are having technology. They'll want to have more. They'll want to have it with any device available... cell phones, laptops, external hard drives, i pods. They'll start blogging. We are adults and we know they'll expand their technology use before they are capable of coping with the repercussions. We want kids to know technology is special. We want to protect them from the fallout of devices that aren't dependable. We want them to know how to communicate the way we did in simpler times. Gee, I thought it was our job to present technology as a normal phase of development in a respectful manner with facts to base our judgements. No wonder kids are learning about technology on the streets!

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