Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's summer 2010 - what's new?

Another term at Western Oregon University has started and with it have come two sections of Computers in Education students. My past rosters of this course indicate that I've done this many times but as every time in the past, it will be different with different students, who bring different skills and from a different technological environment. This environment for the first time includes the iPad and its competitors and wanna-bees. This environment includes desires to learn technologies that are becoming more commonplace in the schools. This environment includes peers who when asked a question anywhere in the world grab their cell phones and moments later read an answer.

I just returned from a trip to San Francisco with a group of WOU students who worked with 13 five to twelve year-olds from homeless families or families at risk of being homeless. I was impressed with the idea for the very mature twelve year-old girls that their future was very limited, perhaps to be a worker in that program. To encourage them to expand their ideas I asked if they had Facebook or email with which I could communicate with the later. They said no. I was amazed and quickly recognized my privileges in life and of many in the WOU community. They laughed and giggled as they played in the park, created crafts in the small office room and helped the younger children. Perhaps their lives have evolved more naturally than their peers who live at a keyboard.

The question is so broad and deep that I don't even know how to ask it, but how do computers properly fit into the development of our children? When should they be using computers and when should they be kicking soccer balls? How does this all affect their future and their lives in general?