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Fear of iPods and Facebook in classrooms does not compute

We expect businesses to use new technology. Why not teachers?

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I remember a time when teachers jumped at the chance to use the latest technology in their classrooms. In fact, I remember the time about a decade ago when my administration gave me my first Apple computer to use in my room.

My students were all huddled around me as I investigated new learning tools. The graphics were terrible but it was like magic to my students. It lit their imaginations and sparked great discussions.

Today students have taken a fearless lead in online social networking and the creative use of new technologies. Technology has become a part of life for them and they want more of it in the classroom.

Many teachers and administrators, on the other hand, now seem to fear this. Some claim technology dumbs down students. They block social media sites like Facebook and Web-based e-mail because of a fear that it might be abused. They also reject the use of iPods and cellphones because they are distracting and encourage cheating.

News flash: These technologies are here to stay.

Just as it would be ridiculous to ask businesses, hospitals, or the government to use less technology, attempts to keep it out of school are futile and actually hurt schools and students in the long run.

Part of education is learning about and keeping up with the times. People who lack access to new technology are at a disadvantage. Can you imagine what would happen to someone who applied for a job and didn't understand the Internet today? What about applying to college without understanding how to write a proper e-mail?

I teach juniors and seniors in a small high school in New Hampshire.

I see how the Web has become a vital part of communicating throughout the college selection process. It's hard to imagine setting up college visits or looking for scholarship programs without it.


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