Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Creating castles is a bad idea

Yesterday, I observed a metaphor for why schools need to figure out how to teach using Social Networking tools. One of the biggest fears often expressed by educators explaining why they abhor tools such as Facebook is that they will have no control over what kids say/do outside of class. The only way for a teacher to monitor student interactions would be to have students "befriend" the teacher. Another fear is that Facebook interactions might be unquantifiable, that is, students couldn't receive a grade for online interactions/activities. Enough preface....back to the metaphor...
Pam and I were walking down a street in Tel Aviv. It was a charming neighborhood, looked pretty well off judging by the cars parked on the streets. We were strolling past a school which looked like every other Israeli school building we've ever seen. Drab color, high steel fence. As we approached a back, secluded corner of the school, we observed a young boy deep in conversation with a young girl. Both were probably 8th graders. The girl's mobile phone was on the bricks at the end of the steel fence. It was a spot where the steel ended and the bricks were higher. Upon seeing us, the boy hurried away. The girl calmly took her phone and began to climb around the steel fence, up and over the bricks. She had clearly done this before. "She's running," I commented to Pam. Was she afraid? Didn't look like it. Unsure of what she was going to do? Nope, she calmly walked away from the building down the street. In danger? Didn't look like it. She had her mobile phone and was still connected to her friends. She was still connected to the world. Engaged in her own exploration of the world, she was clearly passionate about pursuing what was important to her. I bet she shares her little field trip thoughts with her friends.

Today will be my first conference at Mofet. I look forward to sharing thoughts about technology with Israeli educators. Thinking outside the castle that is school and connecting kids with the world around them using the tools with which they are familiar seems more important than ever.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there you three! Tomorrow I will join Holly Walsh, Ryan, and little Eliote at the mountain to ski in what they expect to be 14-20 inches of new snow. There is a blanket of white over Ptown right now. The storm was gorgeous. I am loving your blogs and wishing you all the best on the eve of the new year. I am so glad you are enjoying yourselves and sharing the details with us here. I will post your blogs early this week so that others may stay in touch.
    Hugs to all of you. Be safe.