Saskatchewan’s ELA 20 curriculum centers around childhood and the twists and turns that emerge when transitioning to adulthood. Today we started analyzing poetry using the TPCASTT method. A poem “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran revolves around a woman speaking to God about how parents should raise their children:
For their souls dwell in house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”
Wow. Simply put: Parents should not force their children to live the same life they had in adolescence because the world is always changing. Technology is not going away and it doesn’t matter if “back in the old days we did x and y and z” because our obsession with the past is not preparing kids for their future.
I have a lot of supportive people around me when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom. However, I have also experienced a severe backlash from people who do not see the relevancy of technology in the educational world.
I don’t blame people for thinking like this. In fact, a few discussions with my students and I’ve learned it is “kind of a little bit socially awkward to ask for someone’s number. It’s more acceptable to ask for someone’s Snapchat.” My initial reaction is shock– how can students actually be more comfortable using Snapchat rather than texting? How will they be successful in the future when they find this situation socially awkward? WILL MY STUDENTS BE ABLE TO EVEN FORM WORDS LATER IN LIFE? Then I realize they are all having meaningful conversations in my class. Many students come to me for extra help or if they feel uncomfortable about something going on in their life. *Ding ding ding* Those are all traits of someone who can socialize with other human beings. Also, a more important question remains:
I’ll tell you this much– I won’t be changing whether or not my students use Snapchat. If the answer is no, then what’s the purpose of complaining about it? My father’s voice enters my brain again: “Don’t stress about things you can’t change.” Right, OK. So what can we do as educators? parents? community members?
Lets focus our energy on positive experiences we can have with technology. It can help you make connections from around the community and globe, engage in discussions with passionate people, be exposed to social justice issues, find information from a variety of perspectives, have a voice despite introverted tendencies, collaborate, celebrate, find support, and develop literacy skills that will be needed for the future.
What else can I do? I can have meaningful discussions about how and why the media affects us in negative ways. This includes having conversations around why teenagers are fueling self-hatred using the internet, cyber-bullying, feeling depressed because they are comparing themselves to other people’s digital presence, and how our sense of self is greatly influenced by the new forms of media.
One more thing that I must remember to do is have discussions around how we can focus our attention with all of this technology surrounding us and navigate through this digital world. It’s not an easy topic to tackle and I don’t pretend to know all of the answers. In my opinion, this is perhaps one of the most important lessons that is being neglected in education right now. I am guilty of avoiding it myself. However, this I do know: by avoiding these conversations, I am purposefully deciding to not prepare kids for their future.
- Koskie OUT!