When people find out what I do in my position, I often get asked why we need technology in schools. Yes, often I get asked this question. Sometimes it comes from a teacher, sometimes from a parent or community member, but they always want to know why there is a push to have students on devices for everything they do. My response, even as a tech person, actually, especially because I’m a tech person, is always:
I don’t believe that tech is appropriate in every teaching scenario, just as I don’t think there should be a specific time that tech is allowed to be used. Many times, the most innovative, dynamic lessons are a combination of tech, hands on building and creativity. Sometimes, there are activities where tech might be used very little, and if kids are learning, that’s okay, too.
It’s never about the technology, it’s how we use it. A digital worksheet is still a worksheet no matter how fancy you make it look. Technology allows us to reach out and learn about concepts in a deeper way than without it. It’s our responsibility to allow kids to think innovatively, and then give them the space to create and explore using what they’ve learned.
Kids are not uncomfortable with technology. Adults are. If we don’t teach them to be safe, use it appropriately and to build their own positive digital footprint, they will use it in any way they know how, which is probably in a way that is undesirable. If we haven’t taught them these skills, it is us who have failed them.
Among many other reasons, by denying the use of technology to students, we are not preparing them for a world that they will be living in.
Over the weekend, I read the article called Elon Musk Just Outlined How He’ll Merge The Human Brain and AI and this article about the same. The overall idea is that Elon Musk, along with other super smart, famous people like Stephen Hawking, think it’s possible that with the way AI is evolving, that we (the human race) won’t be able to keep up with the advancements. Musk has developed a company whose goal is to “develop a device (a brain-computer interface, to be exact) that could be implanted into the brain in order to augment (see: improve) human intelligence.” The chip, already being developed, “is meant to push our cognitive performance to a level that is comparable to that of AI.” The timeframe for use? Eight to ten years.
That is the world we are preparing our kids for. According to this article, this could be available prior to our kindergarteners graduating high school.
Again, let that sink in. That is the world we need to be preparing our kids for.
So, to me, the questions shouldn’t be about IF or WHY we are using technology with our students. The questions should be How can we best prepare our students for a world where they are submersed in technology? A world where technology is so ingrained in what they do that there is not a time distinguishable from when they aren’t using it to when they are?