Well, the title of this article says it all.
Every teacher at any level feels the truth of what Mr. Barnwell asserts. It’s almost as if every time we enter the classroom it feels like we are entering a war zone, where the technological tools in the hands of our students do battle against our vain attempts to get them to care about our curriculum.
Barnwell does a really nice job diagnosing the problem and even suggests a few creative solutions including using technology to record what students are saying. In that way, there is a “balance between digital literacy and interpersonal conversation.” That’s something worth trying.
At Teach Different we have an even simpler solution for how to deal with student dependence on technology; tell them to put it away for just a little bit and place an interesting quote in front of them. Ask them to state the claim the author of the quote is making and then call for counterclaims. At the end, ask an essential question which ignites conversation by challenging students with a simple, yet profound idea that rattle their evolving understanding of themselves and the world. A little mental routine, honed through time and practice, can go a long way towards making inroads into the hearts and minds of young people. After all, conversations are the lifeblood of learning.