Posts by Susan Davis
So, Dick (now he prefers to be called Rich) and Jane are upstairs in their bedrooms, supposedly doing their homework. But you suspect they are doing what they usually do, chatting in Facebook, browsing friends’ Tumblr posts, or looking for funny cat videos on Youtube. Think again.
We’ve all been there. Two colleagues across the room tap away at their phones, while the principal describes the rationale for cutbacks in funding for new technology initiatives. (Or switch out the colleagues for students while you are delivering an essential lecture on freedom of speech.) Their jabbing thumbs are punctuated by muffled giggles, as the digital text flies across the room. Is this a rude disruption or an extension of learning?
In schools, we need to figure out how to get our own joy and our students’ joy back, but we are going to have to move past grieving over what has been lost to do this. We need to hack the joyful mindsets of video gamers and use them to reinvent how we engage students, building a bridge to lure them back from the virtual world into the quaint magic of literature, art, and imagination in ours.
Having challenged, in my previous post for Getting Smart, some of the common notions we educators share about collaboration, I acknowledge that it is only fair that I take some time to wrestle with what collaboration really means and why it is so important as we prepare our students for the future.
When I think of instances of true collaboration, Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir comes to mind: a blending of individual voices, each making his or her best effort to interpret the phrasing to contribute to the breathtakingly beautiful whole, all with the common goal of rendering a beautiful piece of music together. This extraordinary accomplishment suggests to me a metaphor for what we need to be doing as educators.
The saddest moments I've experienced recently with the students I work with, especially with the jaded older ones who are close to graduating, have occurred when they have told me, "I don't have any passions" or "I can't remember the last time I felt intrinsically motivated."