I’ve heard three different senior education leaders (one former governor, one former university CIO, and one elearning software exec) condemn educators blocking the use of cellphones in the classroom. They frame the resistance as a pathetic response to progress. One speaker compared the invention of cellphones to the invention of mental telepathy. We’ve banned from use, the argument goes, one of the most useful technologies ever invented simply because we don’t know what to do with it.
True, the importance of content knowledge is arguably limited now. Do we need to remember facts when we can look them up in 5 seconds?
But this video from the New York Times makes clear that such critiques of education come from a decidely Gen X or Boomer mentality. No matter how much Twittering and checking-in on foursquare the ed-literati do, they’re never coming close to 27,000 text messages a month. Simplistic responses don’t capture the massive gulf between traditional (even the best elearning) education and the typical world of the modern teenager.
Fast Times at Woodside High (from the New York Times)