Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Anytime, Anywhere Learning Does Not Mean Being Plugged In 24-7!

There Are Many Things Technology Can't Replicate
One of my biggest frustrations is with people who equate embracing technology with a move towards being connected to a device 24-7.  They interpret the push towards access to more tools in schools to mean that we are advocating for students to have a internet-connected device turned on during every minute of every class.  This could not be further from the truth.

Schools need to teach our students to use new tools responsibly. Part of this responsibility comes in the ability to know when to connect and when to disconnect.  We need to advocate a balanced approach to technology integration so that our students understand not just the idea of how? But also the idea of when?

There was a great post on this topic a few days back on CNN.  In the post Craig Groeschel describes the concern he had for his own family when he found they were spending an inordinate amount of time plugged in.
 "I realized we were gradually allowing the flicker of little screens to draw us away, running the risk of ultimately becoming isolated from one another."
Schools that are able to infuse technological tools within their walls and offer a 1:1 environment need to have clear conversations about the expectations. Engaging lessons are about bringing students together in a collaborative learning environment not about isolating them from others.  The goal in education is to show how these tools allow us to connect with others and not to be isolated from those who are sitting right next to us.

We want our students to live lives that follow the words of Walter Hagen who reminded others "to stop and smell the flowers."  Sure you could Google a picture of some flowers and I am sure at some point there will actually be a device that can create the aroma of a field of daisies. But if that field of daisies is right outside the door and we are sitting inside getting a second-hand experience then we have missed the mark.


  1. As an educator I feel it is important to help the students learn about how to access and connect safely with content on the internet as well as using tools collaboratively. Technology is here to stay and educating our students with the many tools available does not mean we want them to be connected 24/7.

    I am so glad you wrote this post, as it is important to let the public know that it is our goal to use the technology as 'tools' to help our students learn and not use it as just a way of being 'plugged in'.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Nancy...I know from personal experience that it is easy to get lost in the amazing amount of resources available to us. But we need to make sure we are creating balance in our lives and taking advantage of opportunities right in front of us.

  3. Patrick, Great point. I find that my greatest periods of growth (or at least reflection) come when I am least connected. Going for a run, a hike, or a kayak trip away from the connectivity of the web allows my mind to wander, reflect, and breathe in a way that I can't find in front of a computer. Thanks for reminding us all how important this is.

  4. It's like saying that teaching a kid to drive means we want them in the car 24/7 or get in accidents frequently.

  5. "Engaging lessons are about bringing students together in a collaborative learning environment not about isolating them from others." This is totally the point. As educators, we also need to be sure we model this in our own behaviour. Great post, Patrick.