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We need to help schools

February 24, 2010

One of my clients is a school district, which thrills me to bits, as I am a parent with school-aged children and see the wonderful potential that schools have to introduce technology in a powerful way, both as a way to enhance teacher community and as a learning tool.  I firmly believe that technology can enhance our abilities to learn, what people fail to realize is that some of those things our mothers taught us still apply:

  • Everything in moderation – we need high tech AND high touch opportunities to learn – let’s not assume technology is always good or that it is the root of evil. 
  • Idle hands are the devil’s playthings – if kids are not challenged or learning does not suit their needs, in their boredom, frustration, disconnectedness, they will use technology for less-than noble purposes (no need to list those off)
  • If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all – social networking can sometimes create an illusion that you are anonymous and the regular rules of common human decency don’t apply.  Poppycock. 

Instead, I read about how “google makes us stupid” or we should “get off the social networking bandwagon” or we’ve become “distracted all the time“.  I worry that people are blaming the tool, when it isn’t the tool, it’s the user.  Put technology into perspective – it is a tool, but it also means we have to teach kids how to use it responsibly and wisely.  As employers of the future, we should all recognize how critical it is to support kids, and support the education system to prepare the workers of tomorrow.  In fact, it should be a consideration in every organization’s talent management strategy – if you are concerned about the long term availability of quality talent, then think about how schooling or education fits.  I think we want kids to be tech-savvy, but we also want kids to learn critical thinking skills, problem solving, and channel their natural curiousity towards learning. 

What steps could you or your organization take?  Could you adopt a local school?  Could you share your experience with teaching staff?  Could you participate in work experience programs?  Could you create a talent advisory committee and include pre-teens/teens to understand their perspectives on learning and work?  One person is volunteering at a local school to impart her experience to the teaching staff.   I’m working with a district to help them understand what types of technology could help them and how to invest in technology without huge capital outlays.

What will you do to help a school today?

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