Over the course of this summer I have had the privilege of visiting a variety of schools across the country. As I visit campuses and have conversations with other educators, I always find it interesting to compare their procedures and practices to that of our own back home, including how technology is utilized. One site that I visited had the decal shown above posted in a variety of locations in their school as a reminder of their zero tolerance policy for cell phone use in the school. This really got me thinking about the mix messages that we must send our students on a daily basis. Schools across the country are pushing out large amounts of Chromebooks and other devices to classrooms and investing in the infrastructure and training to support the implementation. In addition, I believe you would be hard pressed to find an educator who believes that technology should have no place in a school; however, often seems that we (educators) want the technology on our own terms, which may not always reflect best practices.

Gary Vee is one of my favorite producers of online content, who is not an educator. He provides great insights into digital literacy and the influence that technology is having on our everyday lives. In the video above he is making a valid point in how we treat technology with students and often associate negative connotations. Many people believe that the access to content and information via a device can have adverse affects on our youth. The truth is that the current technology wave is too large to ignore and it is larger than anyone’s ideas or philosophies. It is here to stay and we much begin approaching technology in a different manner. As educators, we stand as the front line of educating students on how to properly utilize technology. However, we must ask ourselves if we are tolerating technology or are we embracing it? And the follow up question to that is, what is best for students? Taking emotion out of the equation, on either side, what is going to best set students up for success after they left our classroom? Are we better off to have less technology, more technology, or perhaps find a balance?

While I am a huge advocate for technology in schools, I understand that there is value in components of education that do not require technology. Educators should use the right tool for the job, which does not always mean that a Chromebook can be the panacea for all instructional needs. Ultimately we need to produce students that are well-rounded and ready for a career/life well after their educational career is over. While I do not believe that technology is the only answer, I believe it is a large piece to the puzzle and we (educators) need to prepare students to use it effectively and responsibly.

Joe McClung

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