Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Response to Driven to Distraction

Driven to Distraction: Notes on Young Adults Living and Learning with New Media by Christopher Sessums challenges a commonly held belief that social media tools used in any way that deviates from the classroom agenda is being "distracted, off task, sidetracked or a waste of time". I agree with Sessums that "self-directed" learning is legitimate learning.
Everyone currently in school knows everything there is to know about attention deficit disorder and too much deviating from the agenda could very well result in being medicated. That's quite the threat to have hanging over one's head.
It all seems very odd to me. We didn't really have labels for kids although a 12 year old who was still in Grade 1 or a Grade 4 who painted his nose green instead of the flower stem was coming pretty close to being labeled slow.
My elementary school was divided into two rooms. In the Junior Room, we were in Gr. 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B. Girls tended to get through the 6 levels in 2 years and boys tended to take 4 years. The Senior Room contained Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Do that math. If the teacher divided her time evenly, each grade got 12 minutes of every hour. For 12 minutes, you were expected to focus. For the other 48 minutes, what you did was pretty much your business as long as you weren't disruptive. I multitasked (an unknown term) - combining seatwork, daydreaming, doodling, passing messages and listening to what the other grades were learning.
Perhaps all this hubbub about kids using social media tools to alleviate boredom in the classroom is more natural/traditional than having helicopter teachers so intensely focused on each child.

No comments: