Jumping In First


A common thing I hear in regards to technology and our understanding of it goes along the lines of, “Kids are amazing…we can just learn it from them!”

Although I really believe in the power of learning with our students and that in the area of technology, I wonder sometimes if we use that thinking as an excuse to get out of learning.

Let me explain…

The ability for us to connect and learn from a vast amount of information in a highly networked world is daunting for most, including our students.  Navigating some of these murky waters, can be extremely complicated.  Because of that, I think this is all the more reason that we have to jump in ourselves and learn so we can help guide our students through these networks.  SImply saying, “I am going to learn from our kids”, leaves us often waiting for those moments and we could possibly miss out on many opportunities that we could have created for our students.  Sometimes we “don’t know what we don’t know”, and when we wait for our students to “teach us”, we might miss out on what we can show them as well.

Do I think that we can learn from kids? Absolutely.  I highly encourage it as it empowers our students to act as both teachers and learners.

Is it possible for us to know about all of the technology out there? Not a chance.  Even the most tech savvy educators in the world will not know every facet of technology.  There is just too much stuff.

But for us to simply wait for our kids to teach us, we could miss so many amazing opportunities that we could have helped create in our school if we would have jumped into those waters on our own first.

3 thoughts on “Jumping In First

  1. Chris Betcher

    Absolutely. Could not agree more, George. We teachers MUST lead on this… the whole “digital natives” nonsense is a dangerous myth because it offers teachers an option to abdicate the responsibility for learning about tech themselves. It’s probably true that our kids are more comfortable and less afraid of technology (although that in itself is also an oversimplification too… there are many students who struggle with tech and have little affinity with it).

    What adults need to bring to the ‘learning with tech’ equation is perspective, common sense, advice and wisdom. We need to provide a sounding board for students as they use tech. We need to challenge them with ideas and thinking that they might not discover on their own (or at least not discover in a timely enough way). We need to push our students thinking, as they work with ideas and technology to create learning experiences that matter.

    Can kids take the lead on technology? Sure. Sometimes. Challenge kids with meaningful ideas, give them the tools to meet those challenges, and they will astonish us. And they don’t usually see technology as the stumbling block that many adults will.

    But kids don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t typically explore new software tools without prompting. They often are not the discoverers of new tools, and they often cannot make the connections between a tool and a possible way to learn with it. That;s where teachers come in. That;s why good teachers need to jump in first, as you say.

    Good post, man.

  2. Sean Nash


    “Born into” technology does not mean “academically fluent with” technology. Familiarity breeds comfort breeds fluency. The question in fluency in what? Everyone deserves a capable coach.

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