Stand outside any U.S. high school at dismissal time and face the doors. As you watch the students file out, you will see them pull out all sorts of devices—most of them banned in school— and get on with the way they live their lives, often viewing school as nothing more than a necessary evil in an otherwise modern life. For most students, the tools and talents they employ outside of school have little place in their academic classes.

For many students, the world of textbooks and lectures and worksheets cannot hold a candle to Facebook, text messages, and YouTube. Technology-assisted social networking is part of their lives, but because schools have not embraced technological change in meaningful ways, most students do not consider how the modern tools can transform the way they think of themselves as students and scholars.

Moreover—and perhaps most damning—by blocking and banning many of the tools and Web sites that form the cornerstone of teenagers’ experiences, educators deny themselves access to the conversations that students are having about how to use these tools intelligently, ethically, and well. And given the overwhelming flow of information that students can access using such tools, it is essential that educators become part of those conversations.

Chris Lehmann, Shifting Ground. National Association of Secondary School Principals (Dec. 2009)

So begins Lehmann's article. I recommend it to you all. It is worth reading and ought to be shared widely. I am concerned about the increasing disconnection between the way young people learn today and the way we feel safe teaching them. We have simply got to shift ground.

Tags: Technology-assisted, agents, change, collaboration, educational, empowerment, networking, social, technologies, transformative

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Interesting talk about how we use technology in society and talks a bit about in the classroom
"Who has the rights to self-determine their attention?" Stefana Broadbent: How the Internet enables intimacy

"I am not interested in being disconnected from my life for an 8 hour stretch 5 days a week. When the choice is between my life, and my job, my life takes priority. This doesn't mean that I don't get my work done. I find new ways to do my work more efficiently so I can place my focus back on the things I enjoy." Jonathan Weaver

Thanks for bringing this TED Talk to my attention, I overlooked it in my feed I think. She speaks to the reality of modern communication and work I think. Our school division has attempted to maintain an open network as much as possible and I am certainly nudging the lines they have established forward here and there. I quickly noted the mirroring of social networking to preexisting relationships with my own students (and family). Within the classroom, I notice the wikispace visits and discussion, emails and tweets among students follow preexisting friendships. I have to work to insure some students are not marginalized or inadvertently shunned. This repeats the common frustrations of classroom group work and the young people's lived experience on the playground. On the positive side, it reassures me that the risk of tapping into the shadowy pedophiles is not as great as we have feared. The fears of cyber bullying and other misuse are not misplaced, but this might be an ephemeral problem once young people realize their actions are traceable.

I think the comments posted along with her TED Talk are more interesting than much of what she said. There is a healthy balance to the discussion; some people arguing effectively for the need for focus, discipline and productivity in all manner of workplaces. Weaver counters with the quote I gave above. His perspective is one we need to attend to I think. Few of us completely disconnect from our lives for work even if only in our minds.

Lehmann reminds us in his article that printing was transformative. How easy to imagine a frustrated teacher of the time complaining that his students never really listen to his words and that books are ruining people's memory. "They aren't listening! They challenge my knowledge with things they read in books! The books are not even academic books written in Latin or Greek! They don't bother to memorize anything because they think they can find it in a book whenever they need it. What is the state of education today?"

What we need to attend to is not that this transformation in our students is immanent, but that it has already happened.
Well spoken :)
The link above for the "shifting ground" article does not work. I have read the article and am desperately trying to find a link on the web to send my student at U of M to. If anyone could help with this I would greatly appreciate it!



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