Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hey teachers, leave us kids alone!...or not?

It's happening again. A new phenomenon has hit the technology gaming market and immediately educators are looking for ways to incorporate it into the classroom. Pokémon Go is what I'm talking about. It follows behind Minecraft and social media crazes like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

This post may seem judgmental but hear me out; I do see true educational possibilities with some of the above-mentioned but the question remains "must everything be brought into the classroom just because students are attracted to it?"

I can already hear some of my favorite naysaying technology friends responding "you're right, but really we don't need any technology in the classroom for learning to take place! It's more of a distraction than a help." I can also hear Technology Educators saying "students are playing anyway, why don't we embrace it and teach them good digital citizenship using it? It's OK if learning is fun."

I find myself straddling this fence often. I see the benefit of social media and gaming but I also know that a classroom that is always taught in a lecture manner will often flounder when adding technology because Professor Willow will always be there calling easily distractible students to go Pokémon hunting when classroom dynamics seem boring.

I'm all about technology being purposefully used. My concern is that often the glitz and glamour of a new app lures educators into creating lesson plans around the technology instead of enhancing a great lesson. Do I think we could loosen our control strings a bit to meet students where they are? Probably... but I also feel there are so many teachers purposefully and intentionally using technology to help students create, consume, curate and connect on a regular basis without all the latest fads, GIFs, and MEMES. 

Maybe, just maybe there is value in letting kids have their own domains without it being educationalized. I'm still sitting on the fence in regards to some of these things but I find myself pondering closer to the side of let's just leave it alone. Perhaps I'm showing my age...ding dang it! (Insert sad emoticon here if that was acceptable in the educational arena).