Tag Archives: 21st Century Learners

We are open. We reach out. We trust.

I just had one of those lessons. You know the kind– the ones that leave you buzzing, because it was all so organic, authentic, and the kids leave giving you hi-fives. The best part about it, was that it was a last minute audible. Let me give you some context before I continue:

I am all but done for this term. I have enough scores and assessments to determine student grades; I have written my comments and all the bureaucracy of learning has been dutifully accomplished. I have, however, challenged my students to do one last unit–one that will not be assessed, graded, marked, evaluated…whatever you want to call it. It won’t count. There is no test. We are doing cuz it is fun, we are learners and that is what we do.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, the kids are on board. They are working just as hard and we are having some very low-pressure fun at the end of the year.

  • Grade 10’s are watching and reading Romeo & Juliet and planning a 10 minute live action highlight role-play of the play.
  • Grade 7’s read Freak the Mighty and are creating an anti-bullying campaign. Short slips, posters etc…
  • Grade 6’s are preparing short role-plays about life in middle school to prepare the 5th graders.

This post is about the grade 6 class. They have been working in groups to find out what the grade 5’s want to know We have an open Google Doc where the grade 5’s have asked questions and the grade 6’s have collaboratively answered them. We had a day where they met and chatted about their ideas, my kids took notes and began planning their skits.

These are Language B students, so we have some shy low-level English speakers. Last week, I noticed that they are getting bogged down in script writing and planning. I want them to focus more on different ways they can convey ideas and information through drama and movement. I started experimenting with some improv activities, that to be honest were uninspired and fell flat. I was going to google more improv activities, when I thought I would ask Twitter first. Here is where the magic usually begins…

Katie Hellerman sent me a DM:

Which as you will see led to her teaching an improv lesson to my class from Chicago at 10:00pm her time. We quickly cleared the classroom, I explained to my students what was happening, they took it in stride. We chatted a bit with Katie and she took over. I stood back and let someone who knows more about acting take over and deliver my content. At first the kids were shy and awkward, but after a warm up and a few activities, they were loving it.

One activity Katie had them do, was exactly what I was looking for, when I first thought to Google this idea. She asked for a group of four volunteers and had them do a quick impov in one minute. She told them to focus on movement and to react to their fellow actors. Then, they were asked to do the same exact skit in 30secs, then 15 secs, then 7. It was perfect, because it showed the kids that too much time is ripe for awkward silences, while going too fast causes chaos and silliness. A few groups nailed some great improv skits at around 30 seconds. We will definitely use this activity again as we prepare our role-plays.

Take a look at some quick clips I captured while Katie worked with the kids:

So how does this happen? Many teachers new to networked learning will either think that things like this lesson are impossible or super simple. The truth is somewhere in the middle. It takes years of working within a network environment to find people you trust. I have know Katie for sometime now. We share photos on Instagram, follow each other on Twitter and read each other’s blogs. I know through our personal interactions that she is a kindred spirit, a silly and goofy middle school teacher, who would be great  in my classroom. When she tells me she does Improv, I am not surprised, but I know that I can count on her to Skype into my class at 10:00 pm and do a great job. These relationships are what Twitter is about. This trust is why the line between personal and professional is always blurring.

I have Skyped into countless classrooms, sharing my expertise on various topics in the same way. We are moving beyond networks of shared information and data and building communities of trust and sharing. It this is world of open possibilities to which I want to expose my students. Earlier this year when we were studying Afghanistan, my students Skyped with the Afghani blogger, Nassim Fekrat, who I met through a mutual friend on Twitter. I want my students to see that the Internet is not about pure data. It is interactive and through responsible use a wonderful tool for learning–from people, not just websites. . I want them to see that there are people out there who can help them when called upon. We must model this behavior and show them that it is common to interact with people when we need help.

One more quick example, by now most of us have seen Caine’s Arcade. I am so excited that on Monday, we will have the creator of the film, Nirvan, Skyping into my grade 7 class to talk about film making. This group of 7th grades are the same kids who made these amazing films, and wrote poems based on Caine’s Arcade. We hope to speak with Nirvan about telling stories and how to gain leverage through the web to share our work. We hope to get some advice for our Anti-bullying videos. How did this interview come about? I Tweeted Nirvan and asked. He put me in touch with his office, and after weeks of negotiating time (he has been swamped) we agreed on Monday.

For teachers getting started, who ask how do I do something like this? Or for people asking where the tech is in all this? The answer is I don’t know.  We create online spaces. We build online identities. We create content. We build communities. We make friends. We share. We are open. We reach out. We trust. We experiment. We are not afraid to fail.


Crux of My Frustration

It’s a cold, dark, grey day and our normally glistening vibrant school feels a bit like a prison. True, the oppressive weather outside casts a long drab shadow of gloom upon all the buildings. True that tired students and staff are struggling to stay inspired as May begins her long trek up the summit to the end of the year, but it is what is happening inside that reeks of anachronistic, uninspired schooling. We are witness to the type of behavior that should make progressive educators want to jump out their windows. Yes dear reader, it is exam week at our school for Grade 9, 10, and 11.

Rather than watching excited students work toward personal goals and interests, I am watching gangs of anxiety-ridden zombies walk the campus cramming their brains with notes for exams. People on Twitter, reminded me that exams do have real life benefits, and I can see that, but I guess in my dream school exams either don’t exists, and if they do, they should feel very different than what I felt today.

I don’t know enough about the grade 12 IB Exams, so I will not write about that process here. What I do know is that at this moment, my grade 10 students are sitting in rows and taking an English exam in order to prepare them for the DP exams they will soon be taking. An exam, I was in a way forced to give them. I suppose, I could have fought back a bit more and at least asked why I need to give this exam, asked if we could opt put, but I took the path of least resistance. My colleague and I decided to simply turn the assessment we had already planned into our final exam. Students were to write a formal letter to a magazine editor, pretending to be a WWI poet, and explain why their poems should be published. They were to focus on persuading the editor of the value of their work in terms of theme, style and literary devices. Your basic critical analysis and articulation of understanding essay.

As I write this post and chat with people on Twitter, I realize I am not sure where I am going with it. I do not have any concrete ideas, and I do not want to be hyper-critical or rant about something I myself am confused and unsure about. So as always, I am throwing out some half-baked ideas in hopes that people who are more experienced and knowledgeable and have better formed ideas on exams and assessments can help me paint a clearer picture.

The crux of my frustration is the lack of student ownership and engagement that comes from exams and assessment in general. The assessment I described was created by teachers. So whether presented as an exam or as a project, it still lacks authenticity.  I am starting to realize that this lack of student input in most school decisions is what frustrates me about most aspects of school. I am just as guilty as most teachers. I plan units with my peers–complete with guiding questions, assessments, rubrics and more, but seldom do I bring student voices into the process. It is not that I don’t want to, or that I do not know how. I often feel that I am part of a system that doesn’t have time for this sort of student driven curriculum.

I totally understand that as a team, we are working hard to create a working curriculum, and as a new school, sometimes we just need to have a functioning scope and sequence. I am amazed and very proud of the work our English department has done this year.

We have created a 6-12 scope and sequence, basically, from scratch. Our units are diverse, media rich, interesting and show a great diversity of assessments. We have begun to integrate authentic use of technology and have achieved a nice balance of genres and content. We have done our best to identify clear and useful significant concepts, Approaches to Learning, guiding questions and more. In short, our department has done a wonderful job of collaborative planning to create a functioning and engaging curriculum in a just under two years. This is no small feat. It is a first step. I get that. I can appreciate that. I see its value. We have created a functioning curriculum? So now what?

Where are the students in this model? How do we give students more of a say in the planning of  curriculum? How can we empower them to create assessments that make sense to them and showcase their skills and understanding? How can we give them ownership of these units.

This lack of student ownership in planning the curriculum is my biggest frustration with the idea of schooling. I have ideas about how to change my own planning, but when working with a team, how do we make these changes? Do students even want this level of engagement, or do they just want to go to class, be told what to learn and how to learn it, take the exam and be done with it?

These are some random thoughts on a grey Monday during exam week. Any thoughts would be welcome:

  • How do you involve students in the planning process?
  • What are your thoughts on exams?
  • How do exams work at your school?

It’s About Acculturation

Monday morning. Just got back from Yokohama/Tokyo and the Beyond Laptops Conference put on my Kim Cofino and the great people at the Yokohama International School. I have a million things to do, but I know that if I don’t pin this blog post, right now, onto some kind of solid wall in Cyber Space, it will will melt back into the ether with a million other thought and ideas. I need to strike the hammer while…..end cliche.

Conferences are exhilarating. Conferences are exhausting. They are empowering and frustrating. They can make you feel invincible, while somehow soul crushing at the same time. Before I continue, let me state that this post is not a criticism of the conference or Kim. She did an amazing job trying to satisfy a diverse group of people and our needs. She continually reached out for support and ideas before, during and after the conference and was more than flexible through the two day event. I had a great time and I learned so much. Thank you to everyone at YIS and all the participants. But you all now me well enough to know that I have opinions, and since I was not in the mood to elaborate in the feedback survey, I wanted to share my thoughts in the form of this post. I want to end on a positive note so I will start with the griping.

Not sure if you have heard, but technology is not about the tool. It’s not about devices or software. It’s not about numbers or proof. It’s not about, well apparently it’s not about a lot of things. We are all very good at pontificating what it is not about! Yet somehow, even though it is not about the tool, and even though we create smaller, more intensive conferences for people who realize that it is not about the tool, to discuss what it is about…we end up talking about the tool. We talk about BYOD, iPads verse laptops, or PD models based on– yes,  you guessed it, how to use the tool. We are very good about talking about the tool, while saying that technology is not about the tool. Hence the frustration.

My second gripe was data driven. I am an English teacher. I hate numbers. I hate statistics. I hate quantifying the unquantifiable things in life, like poetry, like nature, like learning. After speaking with so many IT directors and school administrators, however, I can understand the need for numbers to justify budgets to school boards hungry for charts and graphs proving that the millions of dollars they spend on computers are amounting to something, but that is not where I want to spend my energy. My problem is that the only thing I hate more than numbers and charts are budgets and money. I got into teaching to inspire kids, to create authentic learning communities and to change the world. I want to go to conferences and talk about these types of things. I will leave the graphs and charts to other people.

These are my gripes and by no ways reflective of the mood or organization of the conference.  Anyone who has ever organized any kind of PD, workshop, or conference know that you can NEVER please everyone. The small-group, hands-on, conversational tone of the conference was refreshing. It felt great to be able to express my viewpoint with so many of the decision makers from the major schools in Asia. It was valuable to be reminded that assessment of a program either for evaluation or justification has value. It was equally important for me to be the voice of a more qualitative look at the role of technology in our schools.

Throughout the conference, I was approached by several people who said they appreciated my frank, open and holistic look at educational technology. I want to spend the rest of this post trying to articulate just what that looks like. If technology is not about the tools, if it is not about data, then what is it about? How do we know it is “working?”

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by superkimbo

We are immersed in a new culture. It is fluid, it is changing, it is evolving, it is breathing and dreaming and waiting for our input, and for the first time the we is all of us, the our is mine and yours. The involvement with, the creation of, the influence from, the participation in this culture is what concerns me. Acculturation is my focus. We are on a frontier. Pressed up against a fast moving edge to places we have never been before as a society. This understanding is what educational technology should be about: What does this culture look like? How does it affect each of us? How do we participate in it. Learn its language? Learn from it? Teach it? What happens to the me in we? What happens to you in the us? Where are we going? How did we get here? What does school look like in this new culture?

You want to see numbers right? How can we measure and quantify participation in a culture that is still forming? How do we know teachers and students are using technology to learn? Let’s start with the Horizon Report:

The NMC Horizon Project charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, research, creative inquiry, and information management. Launched in 2002, it epitomizes the mission of the NMC to help educators and thought leaders across the world build upon the innovation happening at their institutions by providing them with expert research and analysis.

Much of the work of the NMC Horizon Project takes place in a wiki where international experts across all different educational sectors openly exchange ideas and engage in insightful discourse. In this sense, the NMC Horizon Project represents a new ideal in education: free, open forums that facilitate global collaboration and encourage smarter discovery and dissemination of emerging learning approaches. All NMC Horizon Project reports and papers are published as open content, under a Creative Commons Attribution License, so permission is granted to replicate, copy, distribute, transmit, or adapt the content freely.

Not a bad place to start right? We spend so much time discussing the things that technology is not (a tool) that we never really talk about what it is. There is a nebulous list of 21st century skills that everyone seems to be referencing, but even that term is becoming laden with the heavy baggage of jargon. “Arghh, can we stop saying 21st century skills, it is 2012 already!” is the new “It’s not about the tool.” So what are we doing here? What are we talking about? Back to the Horizon Report. You can read more about the NMC or download the report on their website. I want to distill the key points from A Communique from the Horizon Report Retreat, January 2012. (One of many great resources from the Beyond Laptop reading list.) I have taken the already brief points and carved them down to a few free-standing words:

  • Global  
  • Collaborative
  • Diverse
  • Mobile
  • Access, Efficiency, and Scale
  • Redefining Literacy
  • Information Everywhere
  • Openness
  • Ownership and Privacy
  • Change

This is what our new culture looks like. This is what we need to prepare ourselves, our students, our teachers and parents, for. The question stops being about iPads or PCs, and becomes– Is your school a global, collaborative, diverse, mobile environment with access to people and information? Are you helping to redefine literacy, showing your stakeholders how and when to access information that is everywhere? Are you showing them what to do with it, once they find it, in an open community of learners who understand  the power of ownership and privacy? Most importantly is your institution not only ready for change but seeking it? Are you on the edge of your seat with your nose pressed up against the moving frontier or are you running to catch up, weighed down by stacks of charts and graphs justifying giving students and teachers access to a tool that is so unimportant that it doesn’t even warrant mention? Too simple? Perhaps, but if I could work at a school that understands these concepts and is working toward creating an ethos that values them, I would be a happy camper.

You want to know if your 1:1 program is working? Forget about in-house surveys and data, take a look at the ethos of your school, it’s online presence, its openness and connectivity?  Take a look at the list above, how many of those concepts are you actively promoting and preparing for? Are they part of your vision statement? How much of your professional development is skills-based training and how much of it is cultural understanding? Are these ideas disrupting your school in a good way? Are you embracing them? Are you redesigning existing traditions like reports, timetables and content management to make room for them?

My suggestions for the next Beyond Laptops is that we focus on this new culture. Sorry, Kim. I know this is too little too late, but I had to go through the conference to realize want I needed from it. How do we create schools that are relevant in the age we live in and beyond? How do we teach the Web Kids? How are we all participating in this new culture?



Give A Kid A Blog

I had two eye-opening experiences this week, both really got me thinking about online sharing, curation of digital versus “real” work (E-portfolios) , and overall student learning, both in terms of motivation for and expressions of. The first was the grade 10 MYP Personal Project exhibition, the second my daughter, Kaia’s, student-led conference for her PYP Kindergarten class.

I will start with Kaia. This was her second student-led conference, and again I was very impressed and proud of her autonomy and independence. After greeting me at the door, her teacher handed Kaia a checklist which Kaia had filled in with the different examples of work she wanted to show me at the various stations: Portfolio, Math, Reading, Art, etc… Kaia proceeded to take my hand and lead me to her favorite spots. The first was her portfolio, at which she carefully and deliberately articulated her learning. She was a bit nervous (Still not sure how they can be nervous at that age) but she did a great job of explaining what we were looking at and was able to answer nearly all of the questions I fired at her! (Not sure if having your parents as teachers is a blessing or a curse.) She was confident and proud of herself and her work. We must have spent at least fifteen minutes discussing her learning. It was awesome to watch.

Next stop, she led me to a shiny iMac where she adeptly opened a folder called Kaia and hit play on a Keynote presentation. Before I continue, let me say that the presentation was beautifully made and showed tremendous amounts of work and time. Each slide had photos, text and little video clips of Kaia playing tennis, reading, acting, singing and more, but the weirdest thing happened–after twenty minutes of her being engaged and talking about her learning in a non-digital format, she became silent. We simply sat and watched a ten minute slide show. When I tried to ask questions, she said, “just watch daddy.”

Of course I see the irony here– part of my job is to promote and facilitate technology and the use of digital tools to enhance student learning. We have spent countless hours discussing what this looks like at every level of our school, but here I was wishing we could just turn off the video and go back to when she was telling me about what an herbivore is, or the features of a Triceratops. What is going on here? Let’s take a look and start with some questions.

Is a collection of photos and videos an effective use of technology? Is the presentation of an E-portfolio as part of a student-led conference the best use of time? I cannot emphasize enough that this post is not a critique of Kaia’s teachers. She has done an amazing job. Kaia is excited and passionate about everything they do in class. I am sure that the format they use is a standard protocol, that they have worked out in the elementary school. As a player in the decision making apparatus at our school, however, I feel that it is my duty to reflect on how our ideas are carried out.

As I mentioned early, the product itself was great. A well told digital story of my daughter’s learning. It was great to see a slide that had a copy of the book she had written coupled with a short clip of her reading said book. I saw her in the art room, in PE and on the playground. I couldn’t help thinking about a few things as I watched: I wish her grandparents could watch this, I wish I wasn’t watching it now at this conference, I wish I could have seen this unfold throughout the year and not all presented in one package, I wish I could interact with it and leave comments. I wish others– family friends etc…could also interact with it. You guessed it, I wished this portion of the conference was on a blog, and that I had had access to it months earlier.

In a world that is increasingly applying pressure for the digitization of our lives, we must be careful not to go digital for its own sake. Sometimes, most times really, sitting and talking with a five year as she talks about symmetry, while building a perfectly symmetrical house– using blocks, is far better than sitting in silence as you both watch a video of an assembly that happened months ago.

What’s my point? None of this is easy. Finding the balance between the digital and analogue is a major theme for this generation.  We cannot, however, assume that one method is better than another simply because it is digitized or “real.” In this case, I really enjoyed watching and interacting with Kaia’s independence and confidence as she showed off her work. I was disappointed, however, when we sat and watched her video. Especially when I knew that in a proper blogging platform, we could have been watching these digital events and interacting with them as they occurred in real time.

Final question–is curation of work in a digital format really using technology to enhance learning? Every school in the world is grappling with these questions. We are all at different levels of understanding and implementation of technology. Our school has made tremendous progress in the two years I have been here, but as we start crossing one bridge, it is time to look ahead and ask what’s next. What if Kaia had  shown me content she had created using digital tools? She is an adept photographer and storyteller. I would have loved to have seen a movie that she had made. What if she had interacted with another classroom? What if her peers had commented on her work as well? What if…..

Soon we will have our middle school student-led conferences, and we are working hard on building a structure for students to highlight and eventually curate their work through their blogs. I would hate to see, however, parents and students, simply watching a screen and not talking. A blog should be an ongoing space. A place where work is current, relevant and interactive. While I feel, that our blogs will eventually be great e-portfolios housing a range of student work and learning, I do not think that they serve much of a purpose in a student-led conference. Unless, the students are coached on how to navigate their work on a blog, so as to engage their parents in conversations, not simply click from link-to-link.

The second experience I had this week, was the grade 10 MYP Personal Project exhibition. Once again an incredible display of student learning, motivation, and independence. A huge round of applause to everyone who was involved. The weeks of work and learning were evident in all the displays. Students had created original perfumes, compositions for piano, iBooks about golf and more. Students confidently presented their guiding questions and were able to answer all the annoying questions I asked.

All except for one? Is this online? Not one of the grade 10 students had thought to share their work and final product online. True that the majority of them had used their blog as a process journal, properly tagging their posts and keeping impressive running diaries of their progress, but not one student had felt the need to share their final product with a global audience. They saw nothing wrong with spending weeks on a project, building a display that would last only two days and then being done with it. Up and down. Gone! Why is this?

I think students are still thinking of everything they do at school as a part of school. Even their personal projects, which are meant to be based on a passion and personal interest are nothing more than a school assignment to be shared and evaluated by teachers and perhaps a few peers. Why? How do we change this? How do we instill in students that what they create has value in a larger context?

I want to teach kids that their content has a place on the web? It has value and they should look forward to sharing their ideas and content, rather than being afraid of the exposure. If you spend over ten weeks writing an original piano composition, doesn’t it make sense to post it on Soundcloud and have it live on the web? If you wrote an iBook on golf, why not go the extra step and put it on iTunes so other people can download it?

I will be talking to the grade 10’s today about the ephemeral nature of their projects. Ten weeks of work, two days of presentations and then gone! Vanished like dust in the wind. I hope that they see the value of etching a space online for their minds, for the work, for themselves. Like Kaia’s conference, there is definite value in the physical personal project exhibition. It is just disappointing that they are gone. I cannot go home and listen or watch and comment more deeply on what I saw. I cannot share their work with you or your students. We cannot build conversations and community around their content.

In conclusion, I hope I have laid out the value of online spaces for students from kindergarten to grade 10. Give a kid a blog as a space to tend their garden. Let them learn how to be just as independent and confident online as they are off. Teach them how to balance the digital and the organic. Let them present and talk to peers face-t0- face, but also create lasting portfolios of their work online. This is the road ahead. These understandings are what people mean when they speak of 21st century skills.

Would love to hear your ideas. Share your experiences in the comments below.



Be More Interesting!

Disclaimer: This post is not directed at any one person or even group of real people. If anyone from the lunch room is reading this, I am not referring to you. I enjoy our lunch time chats tremendously. This is simply a rant and a lashing out at forces that may or may not exist. There is an obviously a flip-side to these thoughts, one which I tried to  articulate later in the comments.

Face to face relationship are overrated. Yup I said it! I am sick and tired of everyone placing so much value on the real world and face-to-face connections. I am tired of being forced to believe that just because I have to deal with people in a physical space that subsequently the connections and relationships I form are more genuine and authentic than the relationships I create online. Have you ever noticed that it is usually people who have never made strong bonds with people online, who bemoan the fact that we are somehow losing our humanity, simply because we no longer have to suffer through small talk and chit chat.

“Kids are losing social skills because they are connected to their screens.” They cry. Really? And what social skills are we talking about exactly? I am tired of pretending that the pre-screen generation had somehow mastered social etiquette, just because they weren’t distracted by these pesky screens.
“Do you ever talk to real people in the real world?” I want to ask. They are often scary. They come in all shapes and sizes. They crowd your space. They spit when they talk. They say the weirdest things and fidget uncomfortably when they realize they have little in common with you. Their eyes dart back and forth nervously as they lie. They pretend to be people they are not. They wear masks. Oh yeah and they are sitting right in front of you. So what? The fact that they grew up without screens does not make them any less annoying or awkward than the generation of kids growing up today.

We are collectively suffering from Golden Age syndrome. We are fooling ourselves into believing that just because we didn’t have screens, we raised generations of people free of angst and social awkwardness. Correct me if I am wrong, but even as we sat around campfires singing Kumbaya, the world was still filled with rape and murder and dishonesty and general disregard of social skills. The lack of screens is not what will bring people together and help us build communities. It is not Grand Theft Auto or the fact that junior is on the phone during dinner that will somehow create world peace.

Social skills, the generic term we throw about which I assume means the ability to authentically and effectively communicate ones thoughts, charm, wit, and humor, the ability to look people in the eyes and show respect, have little to do with a person’s ability to look away from a screen for five minutes. It has everything to do with how we parent, educate or govern. Building sustainable, peaceful, socially skilled communities is about the verbs we choose to focus on….not the one noun (Screens)

While it is unfair to romanticize the past, it is also dishonest to vilify the present. I am tired of people thinking that when I am looking at my screen, I am mindlessly entering some bizarre world where my mind is made numb and that I become a zombie. The opposite is actually true: Most of the time, when I am staring at my screen, I am creating! I may be editing a photograph that reflects a certain shade of my soul that no chit-chat in the lunch room will ever touch. I might be recording sounds to add to a digital story about a poem I wrote. I am most likely chatting with friends on different continent about things that matter to me, instead of nodding my head mindlessly as you prattle on about some topic that I have been forced to sit through just because we are in the same room. You want me to look away from the screen? Be more interesting!

Are you mad enough yet? Have I rubbed you the wrong way? Are you bursting with a bundle of refutations? Good. That was the point. Hyperbolic and instigative? Of course. I know there is value in face-to-face connections. Of course there is a visceral element of life that no screen will ever touch, but I am here to say that we can no longer romanticize the pre-screen past or vilify our current experience.

It is not fair for us to assume that our students are disconnect morons, who will drool at the next dinner party we force them to sit through, hoping they will impress our friends with their social skills. I remember being ten years old and curling up in the corner of my uncle’s house for hours with one of these:

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by unloveablesteve

Why? Because I was ten years old and social skills were not my priority. How about we teach kids when and how to put the screen down, instead of devaluing what they do when they are on the screen. How about we share with them the things about the real world that will help them shine. How about we show them how to merge the two worlds. How about we help them learn to express themselves in ways that absorb others. There are hybrid worlds that exist between tech and the real world:

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

That is where I want to play. I for one am choosing not to insult my students when they use tools I do not understand. I will ask them to show me. Explain to me what they are doing? Why they are doing it? I will offer them vistas beyond the screen, but I will not devalue how they socialize or connect or create, simply because it is not the way I did it. How about we stop referring to screens as an ailment to be cured and start looking at how they fit into our lives- All of our lives! You might be surprised at what we find.