This is a thought-provoking piece of writing. Mr Thiel discusses important aspects of Whitby’s (2013) Educating Gen WI-FI, and raises the question whether educators should confiscate mobile phones, seeing as these digital tools are a natural part of the students’ life. This post struck me because I, a bit reluctantly, let the students use their smart phones for research purposes today for a presentation project. I was very unsure whether this would impede learning or not. My experience is that students were more motivated, and instead of yelling “teacher! teacher” what is [this] and [that]”, they could simply work as explorers on the web, in charge of their own learning processes.
The child on the cover of Greg Whitby’s new book looks down at his phone, leaning to one side and away from the viewer, curling a thumb over a tiny screen. At first glance, he’s a symbol of disengagement, challenging educators to lift his gaze. You’d say impatient with schooling, hiding away in the back row, cultivating a look of defiance. His melancholy pout seems practiced, selfie-ready. If he’s asking for anything, it’s for someone to confiscate his phone.
But you shouldn’t judge a cover until you’ve read its book. Having finished Educating Gen Wi-Fi I see this child as attentive, not distracted; learning, not resisting; asking only to use the tools of his daily life to contribute to life at school. As Whitby explains: “For today’s young people technology is more than simply something you use for fun or a novelty, it is an integral and natural part of…
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