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Friday, March 11, 2011

The Times They Are a-Changing

"The Secret Powers of Time" shows the present-day effects that society's use of time is having. The perceptions of people who are past, present or future-oriented impacts on the way that we live our lives and carry out decision-making. It talks about how the brains of boys are actually being digitally 're-wired' due to video games and instant gratifications that they encounter on a daily basis. People around the world perceive themselves as busier now than ever before; and yet, the growth in technologies is supposed to make our lives easier and less taxing - not more stressful and increasingly time-consuming.

Schools today are premised on the idea that learning will have a future pay-off. These future-oriented schools don't mesh with today's values about living in the moment and creating whatever isn't offered (the premise of the web 2.0). Our lessons are built on the idea that knowledge and skills will pay off with future goals and options, and yet, our students enjoy instant results and immediate gratification from instant messaging, tweets and wireless communications when they step outside our classroom walls. These two perspectives are clashing in our classrooms as instructional times that are not high-interest, socially connected and personally gratifying events for the student often lose the audience.

Teachers are competing with an exponentially growing movement that pits the person at the center of the world and hands them the master switch the size of a cell phone. Our schools are places where those cell phones aren't allowed, because it would distract students from our messages and lessons. That cell phone and its applications have become more a part of your student's life than anything you can craft and present in a class. We need to merge the two worlds in order to use the powers of technology for good (not "evil") and bring life-long learning to the conversation table in our student's mind.

Our teaching must touch them in personally relevant ways. More often than not these days, that means instantly gratifying instruction that prides itself in students actively constructing knowledge in socially-networked ways.

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