This headline was confusing to me, so I had to look a bit further. But after reading through the context of President Obama’s comments about technology as a “distraction”, his meaning became more clear.
I think the gist of the President’s concerns are found as he discusses the role that constant information has taken in our society. President Obama stated that information has become more of a “form of entertainment” rather than a “tool of empowerment”.
And as a teacher I have to agree. I have read some articles that question the validity of texting as a communication tool for example. Instead, texting could be seen as a form of instantly gratifying entertainment. After all, do we really need to drop everything we are doing just so we can see the response from our last text?
This is where Dan Pink’s aptitude of Symphony comes into play. In A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink states that the future belongs to those people that can take seemingly disconnected information and create meaning from it.
This is where teachers and education come in. As the President stated in his commencement address, “Education… can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time.” And President Obama further touted the need to meet these future challenges by stating “We can’t stop these changes… but we can adapt to them.”
So that is where our role begins. We must develop our students’ right-brain aptitudes. We cannot stop the deluge of information, but we can help our students interpret and analyze it. Teachers must embrace the technology that delivers this information and guide our students through the pitfalls.
Think of back when we were in school and that now-ancient tool called the card catalog. There was plenty of information, both good and bad, inside of those stacks of books. We did have to walk through multiple aisles, and it took a bit of time, but we could find any viewpoint imaginable.
But now our kids don’t have to spend that much time to find those views. In fact, we could consider it quite a bit easier now.
But the same challenge faces us that faced our own teachers years ago: How do I convince my students that not all information is necessarily accurate? How do I make them check their sources instead of blindly accepting the opinion page of our local newspaper as fact?
Isn’t that the same idea as a blog? An online opinion section? This is an exciting time with exciting challenges. Think of the the discoveries they will make if they can find a pattern amongst the noise. Think of the results that they could produce!
And how does it happen? I-Phones, I-Pads, XBoxes, and PlaySations.Share