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Why my IPhone is STILL Smarter Than Your Kid's Teacher

| 8 Comments
iphone.jpeg
We draw our inspiration from the universe. Or other bloggers. And so a few weeks ago I was compelled by the debate spotlighted over on Scott McLeod's Dangerously Irrelevant about how to keep kids from using their cell phones in school. And I wondered how much energy school districts really want to put into that debate.


And then I thought about how Plato or Socrates or Antisthenes or one of those old ancient smart guys tried in earnest to convince the world that writing was somehow inefficient use of one's intellect. It seems like educators have a habit of missing important trends.

So I wrote my own post about the topic. And in making the case that my IPhone is smarter than your kid's teacher... I was really suggesting that maybe we should be handing out cellphones instead of banning them.

I don't mean to pitch for Apple but my IPhone is a pretty powerful device. It's like a laptop, but more portable, adaptable, affordable; even more durable. Like Apple's answer to the Swiss army knife, it offers, among other things, too many learning tools to ignore:

• A GPS device
• Up-to-date maps and street level photographs taken around the world
• Complete, unfiltered internet access for research
• Thousands of Aps, like the ones for Twitter and Facebook and other social networking functions
• A link to your Kindle and countless books and periodicals
• Access to You Tube and Podcasts
• Instant updates on the stock market and the weather
• (Almost) unlimited music through ITunes
• The ability to translate words and phrases from any language including ASL
• A calculator

Plus its a phone which obviously connect users via text and telephone with people anywhere in the world.

And I guess that is what the objection is: Board members are afraid that kids will be texting their friends all day. Which of course they will-- in classes that are not engaging or interesting or relevant.

So should we ban IPhones or harness them to ignite our children's creative energy and natural passion to learn about things that matter?

Let's ask Plato. Or then again, maybe not. Educators have that nasty habit of missing the most important trends.

Kevin W. Riley
El Milagro Weblog

8 Comments

Kevin,

What a great post! I couldn't have possibly said it better, agree with you wholeheartedly, glad you put it out there.

"Which of course they will-- in classes that are not engaging or interesting or relevant."

That sums up the biggest problem we must overcome in education. Our potential irrelevancy.

Kimberly

"Which of course they will-- in classes that are not engaging or interesting or relevant."

This is the entire problem. Rich, spoiled youth who have access to fleeting technology trends need to be entertained rather than held accountable.

Next time you fly in an airplane, it is best to hope the pilot found his training courses "entertaining."

Beth

Just to be clear... it doesn't say "entertaining". It says "engaging". When students are provided with rigorous instruction, transparent goals and objectives, and a clear sense of purpose-- and the tools to achieve their learning tasks-- they become "engaged".

Also, I am not so sure that the shift toward more portable (and powerful) technology tools is a "fleeting trend". Quite the contrary. There are plenty of industries that failed to grasp that fact. Don't take my word for it... check out your local newspaper-- while you still have one!

Beth,

I sure hope my pilot/doctor/teacher uses the latest technology when they fly/operate/team me!!! I'm glad they bought into the fleeting technology trends instead of relying on 1950 methods like many educators do.

Let's not be scared of "fleeting technology" trends and instead embrace it and use it to make kids think and engage them in rigorous instruction and learning.

* "teach me"....not "team me." I should have used technology to spell check. :) LOL.

Doug,
You are being generous - 1950's don't you mean the 1850's.

Our kids deserve to have access to lots of information. Lets give it to them.

Kimberly

It seems to me that we need to deal with creating lessons that are engaging before we allow these powerful tools in the classroom. iPhones and the like are just that... tools. While I don't believe you are saying it, sometimes I think those that advocate for cell phone use in the classroom think that allowing them will make the classroom more engaging... I disagree. Teachers will make classrooms more engaging.

I agree we need our kids to be connected to the world, but I don't think they need an iPhone to do that. The lesson design has to come first and then teachers need to decide the best tools... When I got my iPhone it wasn't because I hoped I would find a use for it, it was because I knew what functions it had that would make me more productive and better connect me to the world.

I think there is merit in the article...but also in some of the comments. I would love it if I had twenty two iphones to play with in my class...but funding isn't there. I also think kids and their hoity toity parents should realize that not everything in school is going to be very engaging. A teacher can make a big difference one way or another, but it's still work. I've been to conferences where the speaker was terrible and made it less interesting and harder to work, but I made the best of it. I've been to conferences where speakers were great and it made it easier, but it was still work. Teachers definitely should be more engaging..almost like a motivational speaker. But students need to work regardless of whether the subject is their cup of tea or not or even interesting to them. Not every kid is going to like every class they have to take to graduate...I didn't like every class in school. But I tried to find something interesting even in the most boring classes. That helped a bunch.

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Recent Comments

  • Israel Contreras: I think there is merit in the article...but also in read more
  • Brian: It seems to me that we need to deal with read more
  • kimberly: Doug, You are being generous - 1950's don't you mean read more
  • Doug: * "teach me"....not "team me." I should have used technology read more
  • Doug: Beth, I sure hope my pilot/doctor/teacher uses the latest technology read more

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