Over the weekend, I attended and presented at the TNT-c Confrence in the Ysleta ISD. As in so many of the conferences, it was led off by a keynote speaker, Patrick Fogerty, a Brooklyn based educator and speaker. I had never heard of him before so the thought of hearing new ideas was a great motivator to go listen.
I will blog about his talk later, but as I was listening to it, as in so many other keynote sessions I have attended over the years, I was struck not so much by his over arching theme (been there done that), but rather by a throwaway sentence that he mentioned near the end.
He was citing statistics that showed students preferred using digital textbooks over traditional print . He mentioned that he had been speaking to a teacher that said she wouldn’t move to digital texts because “SHE liked the smell of textbooks.”
She liked the smell of the textbook. The paper, the binding, the glue.
He then said that if liking the smell of a book was so important then “Go out and buy a book and smell away. But don’t use that as an excuse to hold your kids back.”
Don’t use your silly notions about what is “right and wrong” to hold your kids back when it comes to using technology in the clasroom.
How many of us as educators don’t try new things because we “like” the old way of doing it? I find myself in that situation at times, Why try a Chromebook when my Macbook works just fine?
Why try a new word processor because I have been using Word since 1998?
Why try a new lesson because the lesson I have been using has worked just fine for years and years.
If it works for me, fine, but that should not be an excuse NOT to let students try new things.
You love textbooks because they smell good? Fine. Smell away.
Please please please don’t hold your students back from trying or using something just because of your preconceived prejudices.
You don’t like ebooks? Fine. YOU use the printed version. :et your kids experience the wonders of electronic texts which are more engaging, more innovative and more up to date.
You can stay in your cave. But don’t imprison the kids in it just because you are afraid to go outside.
Honeycutt said it best when he said “Our students will spend the rest of their lives in the future. Are we getting them ready for it?”
Or are we stuck sniffing the textbooks?