This past weekend one of my colleagues forwarded an article from the New York TImes titled, Technology is Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say. After I read this article I thought to myself, “this would be a great article for teachers who might want to reinforce the idea that technology is really not that great and here is just one more reason.” I was trying to think of how teaching, learning and schools have changed from when I was a student in elementary school back in the 1970s and 80s. I have to say that I don’t remember anyone having food allergies other than my best friend Suzy who had and still has a severe tree nut allergy. I don’t remember people being on behavior medication either, but I do remember some disruptive kids. I also remember falling asleep in my US History class and passing notes to friends. My teachers were not using technology because we did not have it, so students falling asleep, day dreaming, or passing notes did not happen because we needed to be constantly stimulated by technology.
The first experience I had with a student on ADHD medication was when I started my teaching career in 1993. We had 1 desktop in the classroom and we did projects in a computer lab. That being said, I think there are an awful lot of students being medicated for attention and behavior and I know that number has increased manyfold over the years. The question I have, is, is it because of children not having down time because they are over scheduled, or is it because every teacher has a different threshhold for behavior, is it that people are less patient/tolerant, or is it the food additives? I don’t think we can place the blame on technology for how children’s attention has changed over the years. I do think we can say that times have changed dramatically over the years and education, and educational structures, for the most part, has remained pretty much the same. Which is why, with technology, we cannot continue to do the same things; we should challenge ourselves to try something different, to make technology work for us. We should try to use technology to engage the students who otherwise might be the ones zoning out, not paying attention, or who, for lack of a better word, might just be bored.
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