Classroom Technology

Should Schools Embrace iTeen Culture—or Counter It?

By Liana Loewus — November 23, 2010 1 min read

A somewhat polarizing article in the New York Times says there’s research suggesting that kids these days—immersed in technology that rewards small doses of attention—are hard-wired for learning differently than previous generations. The piece profiles a talented 12th grader who spends late nights making short films for YouTube and playing video games, and whose grades are suffering because of it.

Some educators are embracing kids’ new skill-sets by incorporating the technology they use at home into the classroom environment. One principal “asked teachers to build Web sites to communicate with students, introduced popular classes on using digital tools to record music, secured funding for iPads to teach Mandarin and obtained $3 million in grants for a multimedia center.”

Still, others fear the technology is ruining students’ ability to concentrate. From the article:

It's a catastrophe," said Alan Eaton, a charismatic Latin teacher. He says that technology has led to a "balkanization of their focus and duration of stamina," and that schools make the problem worse when they adopt the technology.
When rock 'n' roll came about, we didn't start using it in classrooms like we're doing with technology," he says. He personally feels the sting, since his advanced classes have one-third as many students as they had a decade ago.

The article gives a nice glimpse into tech-filled teenage lives (including that of a female students who sends 27,000 texts a month—or about 38 per hour!) and is garnering heaps of comments.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.