There’s a new slogan rapidly spreading through my school district, as well as other districts across the country: BYOT (bring your own technology). Many of us have been hoping for a more innovative and open philosophy for over five years. We all know the world has changed and we all know that information access is not only at an all time high…we are drowning it it.
The books and articles of interest to me of late, however, give rise to caution when it comes to integrating the latest high-tech gadget into our schools. In fact, Kristin Fontichiaro (professor at the University of Michigan) shared with us this week some excellent examples of how online Web 2.0 technology tools are sometimes full of bling and pizzazz without any meaningful content at all!
Librarians have been trained in aquisition and evaluation of high quality resources, both physical and digital. It seems an emphasis on the latest tool is often stressed today more than the content or information delivered. Although students will be bringing smart phones, ipads, and other tech gadgets to school, using them to multi-task throughout the day may contribute to even more distraction and “shallow” trivial thinking.
How can we help our students embed meaningful purpose into BYOT?
1. As educators and librarians we can model the best practices by balancing innovation with tradition and requiring high standards of critical thinking.
2. We can model our own learning in this new era by showing our own willingness to “learn, unlearn, and relearn ~Toffler” and allowing time to unplug and reflect on the meaning of our learning.
3. We can put people first! Teaching and librarianship are service-oriented professions. We are not books or buildings, we are human beings. We are not robots (yet). Just kidding on that last line. Putting people first requires admitting that they are more important than our tech gadgets which we all turn to throughout the day.