Pete Reilly posted today about something that several of my colleagues have reacted to while watching “Did You Know.” He asks why we are accepting these numbers as they are:
“Today’s 21 year olds have watched 20,000 hours of TV.”
“Today’s 21 year olds have played 10,000 hours of video games.”
“Today’s 21 year olds have talked 10,000 hours on the phone.”
“They’ve sent/received 250,000 instant messages and e-mails.”
“70 percent of 4 year olds have used a computer.”
Source: Did You Know 2.0
He asks why we accept
spending nearly 7 years of eight hour days watching TV? and nearly 3 years of eight hour days playing video games, and an equal number of years of eight hour days talking on the telephone…13 years of eight hour days spent watching, gaming, and talking on the phone.
rather than taking it to task. I will admit to have been skewed in the other direction for some time; by that I mean that when my colleagues brought that point up as appalling, I would smooth over it by saying that we are faced with it so we may as well just go along with it.
Reilly ends his article with a glimmer, and it’s a point that I truly respect:
We can make the case for technology in our classrooms without resorting to “we can’t beat ‘em so why not join ‘em” arguments. We don’t have to accept the inevitability of 20,000 hours of TV watching, or global climate change, or poverty. No one is better positioned than educators to vet technology use so that it reflects the best aspects of our culture, not just the most popular.
This is the tools v. teaching argument in different form. One of the most common arguments for focused professional development of educators is this: throwing technology at teachers without changing pedagogy will lead to very expensive paperweights and disillusioned students. The reality, in my experience, is that students need to be schooled in how to be academic while online. They are skilled at entertaining themselves, as the statistics bear out, but they will have to do much more than that, and we should want them to produce richer, more meaningful content than that which just entertains. Unfortunately, the teaching profession seems to be losing ground here. This has to change.
We want them to enlighten. We want them to innovate.
The future is not to predict but to design… Innovation comes from:
- a clash of cultures
- clash of disciplines
- clash of ways of doing things
- high tolerance of failure
These are challenging skills to bring to students. These are challenging skills to bring to ourselves.
For some hope, check out Darren Draper’s latest post about the successes of a veteran teacher. It is actually the post that started this line of thinking for me. I know this will be a common story over the next few years.