Darnit! Nick Carr (this Nick Carr, not this also excellent Nick Carr) was in Colorado Springs and I missed it. That’s a shame, because judging from the coverage in the CS Indy it sounds as if his speech would have been right up my alley:
Nicholas Carr proceeds carefully. Though it will soon become clear that he needn’t have bothered.
“My own belief is that, obviously, computers have a role to play in schools, maybe not in those early elementary grades, but in schools in general,” he says. “And, of course, students are going to be using computers, and they have to learn how to use them, as well. But I think schools also should be a refuge from the digital life and the online life.”
Giddy applause explodes from the packed Colorado College auditorium.
Carr continues, “The argument that kids use these all the time outside of school, so we have to bring them in, seems self-defeating in a way. The best thing a school can do is encourage a student to use the full potential of their mind. And some of that is skimming and scanning, and doing things very, very quickly, but some of that is being able to be attentive, and being able to be alone with their thoughts sometimes. So I think we need to have a more balanced view of technology in the schools than we have up to now.”
Who can argue with that? People trying to sell schools electronics, of course. [So many quotes I could pick from for this part of blog post. Think I’ll go with this one]:
We’d be blind not to recognize and utilize students’ inclination for social interaction and their obsession with mobile technology. This is our opportunity to join them on this side of the millennium. If we don’t, we will lose their attention, and to some degree, their respect.
And how will we keep their attention if we can’t see what they’re tapping into their phones? Our students already know how to text each other. It’s not that tough to learn.
They also know how to network socially. Chances are they picked it up entirely by themselves because that’s not too hard to learn either. That’s why there’s absolutely no reason to have a social network embedded in your textbook. After all, your friends won’t be around to help you when it’s time to take the AP History Exam. Therefore, they need to develop other talents in social studies class.
I thought students went to school to learn new, useful skills that will help them excel in real life. Perhaps the ability to be able to sit in one place for more than five minutes without checking your phone will be a huge asset in our increasingly impatient and demanding world. I bet their future bosses will think so.