June 1, 2012
Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking at the annual conference for the Connecticut Association of School Business Officials. The topic...Technology in the 21st century classroom. I genuinely enjoyed the opportunity to share my passion with a room full of business officials who may not get into the classroom as often as they would like. Clearly the content of my presentation got some people thinking and some of the audience members asked some very pointed questions about how students are changing. Questions which we as educators must address as we stand at the crossroads of what was and what will be in education. One question that stuck with me on the drive home (hour and a half and still somehow in Connecticut?) was "How is reading less important than students going on to Facebook?". Some context...in my presentation I showed a clip where a student said that he didn't have time to read Shakespeare. Later in my presentation, I showed a graphic representing activity on Facebook in a 20 minute span. This prompted the ...so reading is less important than Facebook statement. I hope that when I left the conference that wasn't the message that was conveyed but rather that it is time to evaluate what we teach and how we teach it. I don't believe that reading is less important than Facebook. I really don't. But will reading Shakespeare ever help someone to discover the cure for Cancer? It's time to take a hard look at what we are "forcing" our students to learn and the methods we are using to teach them and assess them (in a one size fits all standardized fashion) in light of our globalized 21st century society. Are yesterday's subjects like Shakespeare still important today in 2012? I guess it depends on who you ask.