Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Are American Students Lazier Than the Rest of the World?

After reading this article from the Boston Globe about how American students in this professor's class are lazier than her International students, it got me thinking.

Her argument goes something like this: American students are not doing well in her class because they are playing video games all night while her International students are overcoming their language challenges to produce better quality work. I won't argue with this. I went to school with a few of these students. I find it believable. It is the next argument that I have trouble with.

She says "... creativity without knowledge - a common phenomenon - is just not enough." Hmm. Again, I agree, but I don't see the connection. Because some students play video games too long into the night, we should return to old style teaching of base level facts? OR... would a more engaging classroom that utilizes the power of technology make the class more beneficial to ALL students? The kids with lousy time management skills will continue to do poorly, but that doesn't change the fact that learning how to leverage technology for research, collaboration, creation, and communication is essential to the success of these students.

Just saying...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Creating Traditions

Over the winter break, my wife and I got talking about traditions. At this time of year, there are many. Somehow or another, the conversation ended up on technology. (I don't know how... really!!)

We were talking about how traditions are a part of our core values. For us, a love of nature is a core value. We have planned a couple of family trips to take advantage of the nature that is accessible throughout our country. We talked about how many people, including us at times, feel like technology can be a threat to our core values. It might be in conflict with our work/life balance, our love of the outdoors, our perceptions of what good relationships are about. But then we began talking about how technology has helped us build on our core values.

As we planned our trip to Utah to go to the National Parks, we used the Internet to research the parks, find a flight, book a hotel, rent a car, and look at maps of the area. We might use a GPS system to help us get around while we are there. We might use a cell phone to help us stay in touch with family while we are away or to help us if we get lost. We will certainly use a camera and video camera to document the amazing trip we hope to experience. We will use our computer to share the pictures with others. My son and I will use an ipod to learn the bird calls of the Western birds we hope to see. My kids might use an ipod or computer to entertain themselves for parts of the long drives. Who knows, I might use my blog or Facebook or Twitter accounts to share updates with friends.

My point is that there are many uses of technology that will actually help BUILD on our traditions. Without some of these technologies, we might not be able to make the trip, or it might not be as enjoyable. In the end, the technology will HELP us enjoy nature even more.

What are your family's core values? How might technology help you build upon them?