There’s something about being a technology teacher that elicits all kinds of unprovoked bitter diatribes from people.
The conversation always starts off nice and neutral and then the question:
What do you teach?
History and Technology
Oh typing, right.
No actually we have been doing a lot of blogging and video editing.
Oh that’s interesting because…cue rant.
Towards the end of A Man Without A Country, Vonnegut includes letters and his responses back. Maybe when I’m 82, I hope I’ll have the nerve to respond honestly and upfront as he did, but for now all I can do is tell you what went through my head as I nodded politely and smiled.
One of my most memorable conversations was this:
Technology is social interactions. Kids today won’t even make eye contact with you, they just (and this is where adults typically show off their texting imitation).
What I didn’t say, but should have: Well actually, I know quite a few adults who don’t know how to (repeat texting imitation) and still don’t make eye contact. There are also quite a few cultures where (repeat texting imitation) would be accepted and making eye contact would be very offensive.
Next thing you know, we will start blaming poverty on technological advances. Oh wait, we already are.
The digital divide is the scapegoat of teachers working with high poverty students:
Well blogging would be great, but my students just don’t have that kind of Internet access at home.
What I didn’t say, but should have: And you’re ok with letting that stand? Get them access. Turn your mobile hotspot on in your classroom or hand them your smartphone to use. Write a grant. Write a complaint letter to the major. Try!
So maybe these aren’t unprovoked diatribes. I provoke. I push. I prod.
Because I’ve seen the enormous impact digital literacy provides students and all students should have that same experience.