The Technology Cultural Divide
I’ve been looking quite a bit into the technology cultural divide after reading a short but good article in e School News. It caught my eye because it cited the cold hard truth which is that our current generation of students has been irrevocably changed by the fact that it represents the first generation to have grown up completely surrounded by computers, video games, projectors, whiteboards, iPods, cell phones and video cameras. The very way they process information is fundamentally different thanks to their use of Facebook, Skype and text messaging among other mediums.
It is also true those those in charge of teaching these students in our schools have not been raised in the same technology environment. This dilemma is the root cause of the so called cultural divide which pits the technology consumed against the technology touched in a tug of war over how much technology should be incorporated into the presentation of material.
Feelings run high on this but I have one bit of wisdom shared with me by my mother who was educated in Scotland in the 1930’s. She recalls a great uproar when teachers began bringing newspapers into the classroom so that children could discuss current events-especially prior to the War. School administrators were adamant that this activity detracted from the fundamentals and would create a generation of students who would lack the necessary reading and math skills acquired only through the recitation of classical literature and continuous drills. It was widely believed that current events had no relevance in the classroom environment. It seems to be that children then, like children today were trying to make sense of the world in which they live and operate-on their own terms. The onus is on our generation to reach them in the way they best understand. If we don’t know how, we must innovate. The problem is not the technology, it is the mindset.