Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Present in the Moment: A BYOT Reflection

I think I can safely say that technology is part blessing and part curse.  Today for instance, it was a blessing.  I needed electronic copies of old receipts from closed fiscal years.  Simple as finding the transaction number on a spreadsheet and a search box… 10 years ago (heck, 5 years ago) I would still be sifting through shoeboxes looking for elusive slips of paper.

Sometimes though, technology is a curse.  The constant need to check email “just in case” has kept me from focusing on the joy in front of me.  My anxiety for control and order is fed by the burden of instant communications.  Feeling the need to answer every email - even if it’s Sunday afternoon. 

Being present in the moment. 

At Brebeuf, we remind ourselves that God is found in all things.  To recognize God in all things, one must be present in the moment.  The counter argument to BYOT is that kids will constantly be on devices.  The concern is in part a loss of control on the adult front.  But I think the deeper concern is one to consider – will students lose the moment because their nose is buried in a device? 

I argue that the benefit of BYOT is having this discussion.  By engaging students in the conversation that now is a time to use a device (say researching) and now is not the time to use the device (discussion of irony in a piece of fiction).  Part of our responsibility as educators is intentionally modeling when a device is appropriate and intentionally modeling when the device is on the desk or in a backpack.  Young people use technology inappropriately because they have never learned otherwise.  By modeling, discussing, practicing and reflecting using the device the student chose in school, we provide a safe and supportive learning environment for tomorrow’s adults.   

It’s really not about the device.  It’s about giving experiences in an authentic context.   And the side benefit is we develop men and women who recognize when it’s time to use the device and when the device should be left in the backpack.

***Now I am putting this blog away and going to Camarata … with my technology.  Modeling timing multimedia show to accompany the music… AND being present in the moment. 

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