I respect Cal Newport, everything he writes, and take his advice seriously. Reading his resourceshas helped me increase my productivity immensely. However, a recent passage in his new book, Deep Work, caught my breath and made me give the ‘wait a second’ stink-eye.
“The complex reality of the technologies that real companies leverage to get ahead emphasizes the absurdity of the now common idea that exposure to simplistic, consumer-facing products-especially in schools- somehow prepares people to succeed in a high-tech economy. Giving students iPads or allowing them to film homework assignments on YouTube prepares them for a high-tech economy about as much as playing with Hot Wheels would prepare them to thrive as auto mechanics.”
I heard my mental microphone yelling “Cal, wait a second, technology in schools is a good thing, iPad, Chromebooks, they all increase student learning!”
Further, he was attacking the very root of integrating technology into schools- preparing our students for a techno-based economy when they enter the workforce.
This article is not about disagreeing with Newport. It is about me organizing my thoughts on technology’s role in education. As someone who teaches on TV, whose room is LOADED with technology (I’m the guinea pig in our building for new tech), I need a clear standpoint regarding technology in the classroom.