Change happens. You can either do it, or it will be done to you.

Someone asked me a question similar to this; “What do we do about kids that are distracted by devices in the classroom?”

My response was, “Maybe we have to be less boring?”

Although this is obviously not that simple or black and white, it is something that we have to think about.

Do not think the expectation only has gone up for teachers in the classroom.  Look around your staff meetings; how many educators (paid to be there) are disinterested?  Sometimes they go to their devices, and sometimes they bring in their marking to get done during that time.  Sometimes they are multitasking, but sometimes they have a singular focus; it’s just not on what is happening in the room.

When I start many of my talks or sessions, I encourage people to go to devices and provide them spaces either through hashtags on Twitter or Google Docs.  This isn’t someone saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”  This is understanding that there is an insane amount of opportunity in bringing these devices into the fold to further learning during, after, and sometimes even before the face-to-face learning happens.

Do I believe that people are 100% into my sessions at all times? Nope.

What this is understanding that if I were to teach the way I taught several years ago and ignore what exists in our world now, the problem isn’t solely placed on the learner.  I have to take advantage of these opportunities.

If you teach the way you taught pre-devices, pre-google, and pre-social media, and then introduce devices into the classroom, the majority of us are going to have a hard time staying “engaged”. We have to rethink our teaching.

I do not know much about this Michigan high school that recently banned devices (July 2016) in their classrooms, but my questions would be the following:

  • Tell me about the opportunities you see with your own learning using devices.
  • How have you implemented opportunities for learning with devices in your own professional learning?
  • What opportunities do these devices bring into the classroom that didn’t exist before?

These articles used to really bother me, but what I have learned is that I never know the whole story. There is always more to any article or tweet you read online.  That being said, here is one part that bothered me:

The decision regarding the new cell phone policy was made after several discussions with the high school advisory committee, made up of teachers and support staff, and with the parent advisory committee, Bohl said.

Notice anything missing? Me too.

Change happens.  You can either do it, or it will be done to you.

Either way it will happen and I am doing my best to embrace the former than the latter.

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