Let’s just ignore the whole technology gig.

So I stopped in at one of Will Richardson’s sessions with teachers this morning and I was trying to imagine what those who were quiet were thinking. I imagine some were thinking there’s no way I’m ever going to use this in the classroom, it’s too much work without enough benefit. I imagine others were thinking this is really cool and wondering how to apply it to the teaching of Math. And some were probably wondering what’s for lunch. 

This led me to think about what I might say to teachers about giving it a go. The issue of teacher liability was being discussed and I heard a very cautious warning issued from one of the teachers. And believe it or not, this led me to think about sex. 

Now that I have your attention, and lest you think I’ve decided to vary from the usual content on this site, let me explain. I have a 14-year-old son who went through Project Know a year or two ago. So as any mom may do, I tried to talk to him about what he was learning and I got NOTHING in response. I finally said, “Look, I don’t want you learning about sex from Jacob and Cleo and Damen (his buddies). If you have questions, I want you to ask me, so I can give you good information that you can rely on AND we can talk about the implications.” 

That’s the same conversation we need to have with students about using the web appropriately and we’re NOT doing it. We’re ignoring or we’re just ignorant. And they’re out there creating and linking and talking on My Space. It’s our role as educators to give kids good information they can rely on and to talk about the implications. We have an opportunity to enter into discussions with our students about the practical applications of the web, blogging, and social connections with an educational purpose, wikis, and podcasts. We can also talk to them about the different types of writing, including a more appropriate and professional writing than the one they use on IM or My Space or texting. 

Or we can just ignore it and let them go their own way. I choose to become engaged in the conversations. But hey, lots of parents ignore the sex conversations too. Do you have any students engaging in sexual activity that you think might not be the best way to go? Ignoring it doesn’t help them decipher and make good decisions. Let’s step up, be courageous, and teach our students. Maybe we’ll actually engage them in our content at the same time. 


  1. Actually, I am quite a fan of myspace. You are correct when you say that kids need to explore more appropriate and professional writing but myspace is a good starting point. I realize that the media has focused in on myspace as the internet demon but myspace creates avenues for kids to express themselves, through art, music, poetry, blogging, and creative ideas. I have an account and use it to keep a close eye on my nieces and nephews (and a running dialog with my sister). Recently some students have found me and have written. I’ve discovered so many interesting facets about the kids. I have questioned some of their choices but try to stay positive. Communication is the key to any successful relationship and sometimes that communication has to take place on their turf.

  2. Kimberly,
    I have to tell you that I teach teachers to use technology in their classrooms. You compare technology to sex. I compare it to walking down the street.

    I work in rural school districts and many of these students have never left their very small towns. Think about the Internet this way. Compare visiting New York city with the Internet. There are certain streets that we don’t go down in New York city. We might look down the street but we don’t walk down them. Same thing with the Internet. There are certain places on the Internet we don’t go. We might find inappropriate sites in search engines and spam but we don’t go to them. Students must be taught to know what sites they should and should not visit. Just like we should teach students that there are some streets in big cities that we don’t go down.

  3. Hey Kim, It was great to see you earlier. Thanks for stopping by. I do that wondering stuff a lot too when I’m speaking to teachers. I wonder how many of them are with me, at least trying to figure it out, and how many of them just shut it off because it’s too much to think about. It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if every teacher felt challenged instead of overwhelmed, inspired instead of fatigued, motivated by change instead of scared by it. There is a whole bunch of teachers who will learn from your example here…not all, but many. So keep it up! And thank you for making me think about my own practice.

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