This is the theme of our school’s tech club. As students learn about and get more access to technology, the internet and all of the wonderful things it can do, I caution them: use your powers for good.
Much like Professor X and Magneto, there are those of us who choose to use our powers, whether gained or inherited, for the good of others and then those who choose to try to take over the world. I feel the same way about certain technologies.
The biggest one is the apps, software and solutions that allow teachers the ability to view student screens of mobile devices (like, let’s say, Chromebooks). When I first saw GoGuardian’s tool, I was excited about the possibilities: keep kids engaged! Use the screenshot tool to create digital portfolios! Teach in small groups while interacting with students all over the room! Unblock websites during your class that students need for projects and exploring!
But then Magneto enters, pulling all metal to use as weapons against learning. “I can monitor students’ activity! I can shut tabs they aren’t supposed to be in! I can screenshot gaming website to use against them in parent-teacher conferences! I can block CoolMath.com during Algebra! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
And just like that, the love of learning is hit upside its head with a car being flung with massive force.
Why? If you are watching kids to get them in trouble, shouldn’t you be monitoring kids to give them feedback? If you are waiting for them to make a bad choice, shouldn’t you be engaging them in learning so they are too busy to be bored? I feel about closing student tabs without their permission like I do about snatching… WE DON’T SNATCH!
If you look at a tool and see all of the ways you can use it to get kids in trouble, you are not doing learning (or technology) a service. If you look at a tool and see all of the ways you and the students could use it to engage in learning, you, my friend, are Professor X, creating a safe, fun environment where kids (of all types) can learn by making mistakes and being themselves.