Friday, October 12, 2007

More of a comment

by Olga LaPlante

When Will Richardson was talking about teaching students to how to use iPhones, and networking, and that expecting each student by a certain date not to have one of those toys in their pocket at all times, and riding in a wireless cloud to search for information was simply put unreasonable - well, am I misreading this, but what about overdependence on these toys - remember, like a tamagotchi that dies when left unattended for a few hours? I am overreacting? Am I missing some other essential skills that are being developed even though on the surface it looks like we are just using those toys to rely on someone to have answers ready for us?

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Will said...

Hi Olga,

I think I would say that I don't see them as toys. I see them the same way I think of books, as ways to connect to ideas, not just find answers. The difference is we can engage in the ideas using these tools. We are relying on others to have ready answers, or at least help us find the answers to our questions, and I think that's a powerful shift. Thanks for blogging about these ideas. Best,
Will Richardson

Jim Burke said...

I've had a chance to sleep on this topic. Thanks for raising it, Olga.

I do think it is a very important question. For what purpose do we use these tools? Is it for mindless recitation of facts, "trivial" pursuit, or narcisstic empowerment? Or are the tools used to ultimately solve important social issues . . . or at the very least . .. empower the individual to engage in a purpose beyond self-indulgence and mindless consumption of sound bites, propoganda, and corporate marketing.

I guess the question ultimately is:

Do we want ourselves to be producers or merely automatons . . . unthinking consumers unable to ask good questions?

I have more to say on this . . . but will stop here for now because housecleaning and a trip to the transfer station await me! :)


Any thoughts?

Scott said...

We are coming to a society where if the power goes out, most the our students don't know how to find words in the dictionary. Heck we even have some students that have "wait" spelled "w8" due to our text society. Using an iPhone, or internet to find information is just a more efficient and faster way to find limitless amounts of information. No matter what we become dependent on tools, these are just new ones. I was conflicted though when Will was talking about students using MySpace in school. There would most definitely be a few that might use it in the positive way that he was saying, but unfortunately after seeing some of my student's MySpace pages, and then talking to them about it, a majority of them would use it in a way that might cause a lawsuit to my district. With that said I am trying to get my teachers and students to use Blogging. The power of being able to have the students publish their work and have people give feedback on it is great. In my blog ( I wrote about some of the great things that I learned at the ACTEM conference. The difference (to me) with student's using Blogging instead of MySpace is one the societal difference in the people using it. Second is that blogging you can put out an idea, and have people comment on just that idea. Also teachers can assign topics to write about and visit them, and even have students read other students when there are good comments, ideas, etc while also moderating them. Just my two cents..