Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bridging a Divide with Technology

Having turned 62 years old today, I find that many of my cohorts in the teaching profession are aghast of the misuse of technology by today’s students. In many ways I agree for I fear that young people are growing addicted to online games. They see these activities as harmless and view themselves as being “tech savvy” when it is anything but that. However, the fault for this lies not in the games they play, but the opinion they hold of themselves indicating that they are anything but savvy on how to use the internet.  I choose not to seek someone to blame, but look for an opportunity to provide them with the proper tools and skills sets so they can embrace technology for every promise it holds for their generation and beyond.

The divide I see is one which impacts all of society...a divide in values. Simply handing a computer (and yes, I would consider a SmartPhone a computer) to a person without any guidance is a recipe for potential disaster. That individual, be they young or old, rich or poor, pink or purple, needs assistance with understanding of its true value for their life so the computer is used for knowledge rather than the cash value it can gather on an open market such as Ebay or Craigslist.

I recall when computers made their way into the workplace back in the early 1990s. Some employers feared that placing that “box” on the desk of one of their most productive employees was going to cause distraction, but instead resulting in greater productivity and higher profits. Another segment of employees chose not to adapt to new technology and ended up opting for early retirement. Their jobs were never filled and other employees stepped in to absorb the departed’s daily responsibilities. In many ways I see our schools mirroring similar mistakes from a generation ago.