I’m Just Going to Say It…

…I am not a fan of technology.

Now, I do recognize the absurdity of this comment. I am surrounded by technology, and rely upon technology every moment of my life. I ride a bike. I use a computer. I use tools to garden. I use tools to build things. I play an electric guitar. To survive a Winnipeg winter I utterly depend on technology. The list goes on.

So, more to the point, I am not a fan of handheld doodads with glowing screens and I am not a fan of social media, because given all the possible ways one might waste vast tracts of precious life, these in particular seem the most tragically pointless to me. So, I have chosen to keep the time I engage with such technologies to a minimum.

It’s about choice, and recognizing when and how technology can be used in positive and productive ways in one’s life. What this looks like is different for everyone, of course, and requires information and critical thinking to weigh the information. This latter point is crucial. Otherwise, we risk becoming slaves to technology – especially in this day and age when the conveniences and opportunities for endless entertainment offered by these handheld doodads can be difficult to resist.

So, even though I hold a general aversion to these new technologies in my personal life, I believe I owe it to my students to help them develop the skills and attitudes necessary to choose if and/or when these technologies can serve a positive function in their lives, just as I choose. It is also imperative they learn how to use them ethically and responsibly.

More than this, if I surrender to my aversion of these technologies, I am shutting the door to many rich learning opportunities. Einstein once said something to the effect of, “When you stop learning you die.” I agree, though less morbidly. I believe learning is integral to truly living – to thriving. So, what kind of role model am I for my students if I choose not to live, and thus learn, in their world?  Their world of glowing personal doodads and online socializing might seem strange and new to me, but refusing to engage with them would do nothing but deprive these students of an effective teacher—not to mention deprive myself of opportunities to learn and grow.

Thus, I am excited by the learning opportunities presented by the ITLL sessions. I am starting to network with other teachers on Twitter, and am planning ways to use Google Forms in the classroom. Small steps, but, I think, important ones. The last thing I want to be is some old fuddy-duddy who dismisses what the “kids” are into simply because it is unfamiliar or outside my comfort zone. This is a fearful attitude. What is learning, after all, if not the courage to leave our comfort zones and enter the unknown?

I am still not a fan of technology, though…