Extracurricular Empowerment

Here is what I liked about the video: the story of Martha and how she used her popularity and social media to help others.

Here is what I did not like about the video: none of the other kids did anything to help anyone but themselves (at least, none that were mentioned).

Here is my question: if we, as educators, are supposed to use technology in the classroom to empower children, how can we be sure that it actually is empowering them in a positive way? I mean, it’s awesome that kids want to make random youtube videos, narrate Pokemon games, create apps to make money, write magazines, but how do we actually bring that into the classroom? If we do give children the tools and time to use technology, how can we be sure that they are using it wisely for an educational purpose? Some girl has over 100,000 followers on Twitter, ok great…so what? How does that help her in the long run? Is the person she is portraying actually herself? Does she know how to interact with real people?

I have no problem integrating technology in the classroom.  I have no fear in allowing my students to use technology to their advantage.  But I want it to be worthwhile.  If I provide them with laptops or ipads, I want them to be doing something worthwhile, something educational, something that will help them with their future.  The kid who sold the app to Yahoo, his future is pretty good.  But the girl who sent Hello Kitty into space, what does her future hold? And whose responsibility is it to ensure that our children are using technology in an educational way? Is it the teachers? The parents? The children themselves?

I believe that technology should be part of the curriculum and part of the classroom but I also believe that there is a fine line that teachers need to be in control of so that it doesn’t get out of hand.  Simply providing children with the tools and then “getting out of the way so they can be amazing” as Scott McLeod puts it is just not realistic.  They are still children, they still need guidance.


One thought on “Extracurricular Empowerment

  1. Robin, I am gratified that you brought up the point about the kids needing guidance, and balance. Technology is a powerful tool, and should be used as such. With respect to the Hello Kitty rocket launcher, perhaps this young lady will become an engineer, and help to make NASA for all.

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