Sunday, October 6, 2013

think inside the box

LAUSD recently spent $1 billion -yes, billion- on technology for Common Core, mainly in the form of iPads. Let's ignore the money spent that we don't have/could be better spent. Let's ignore Common Core and the snafu that is, for now.

After wasting/spending a billion, LA took back the iPads, sorry kids. Why?

the kids "hacked" the tablets to enable music streaming and social media, o.m.g. folks, how awful of them. The head IT dude (or dudette, gotta be p.c.) just changed the settings to block social media and music so all the "hackers" did (hardly hackers, a grandma or kindergartner is I guess a hacker) was change the settings in the control panel.

My first point here is, these same "evil hackers" are hiding their cell phones in their pocket, their textbook, under their desk and texting, twittering, facebooking discretely. Each child in a hoodie, or with head leaning into their arms, or hair brushed by an ear, is rocking out to their iPod. It is how this generation does things. Secondly, they are accessing these things because
a) they can multitask....remember back in our day, taking lecture notes while writing a note to your best friend and doodling on the margins?
b) your common core, scripted lesson sucks an they have lost all interest
c) you could do the work for them and they are so apathetic, they wouldn't turn it in...they will never do their work. Live with it.

So I say, let them "hack". It makes no difference.

Another point is is so "21st century" but schools seem stuck in the 20th century and heck even 19th, 18th..... while I love "real" books, pen and paper, technology is, as we know it, the "future". So let's embrace it. But technology and "21st century skills" are NOT virtual textbooks and tests. Sorry. You could accomplish the same damned thing with pen, paper,"real" books. Schools refuse to embrace real cutting edge technology because the first mention of cell phones, social media, live streaming music or media and they shut down. Kids cannot do those things, it is against learning,they isn't "right". So they continue using technology as if it were what we have already had,,,open your e-books to page 35 and take the multiple choice test at the end. Yet we spend a billion dollars to do what we already have in place.

How about we embrace all these banned things? You can save paper by having students instagram a pic of a worksheet to share with their workgroup via text messaging. You can use the virtual blackboard to host discussions. Skype experts. Network with up and coming poets, watch video clips. Store and access data on the cloud. Follow a politician's twitter account and blog about it. Skype the leading expert in physics for a q&a session. Really use technology for what it is, a newly fangled device to bring the world to your fingertips.

And please do not punish the "hackers" as they are the last bastions of free thought and innovation we have in a lock step one size fits all automaton education system. It is the rebels that make a difference and make history.

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