Using technology to grow smarter, not dumber

People ask me from time to time how I keep from going nuts as a Scoutmaster. Quite frankly, it’s probably the easiest “job” on the planet. In fact, it keeps me from going nuts:)

I get to go camping with guys from 6-12th grade, and a few adults and we learn how to start fires the right way, sharpen and use saws, axes, hatchets and knives, shoot targets with .22 rifles, shotgun and blackpowder, whittle, tie knots, lash together catapults, and so on. Almost everyone who is there wants to be there. While there are challenges, it’s still the easiest job you could ever have.

The ultimate juxtaposition of this is: teacher.

My wife teaches 6th grade. I have no earthly idea how she does it, day in and day out. She has 23-27 kids in her classroom. They are in the beginning years of the battle of the raging hormones, learning what a locker combination is, and transitioning from recess to health education. They’re 12 years old and not all of them want to be there.

I take my troop camping once a month. I can have 27-28 pretty good days this month and I can still just about guarantee that the troop campout will likely still be more relaxing and more fun (Yeah, I need to get out more). I can have an off-day at the office and still be productive.

Meanwhile, week in and week out, the teacher has to be “on” every day of the week, cuz there are 20-some 12 year olds in the herd. An off day has a whole different meaning to a teacher:)

Which brings me to today’s discussion: Technology and education. In Montana, there are a lot of small rural school districts that don’t have a lot of cash, or for that matter, students. Technology is one way that schools try to keep up around here. Distance learning, sharing teachers, you name it.

So today, I’m reading open education, which is talking about teacher struggles with the intrusion of electronics into the classroom. It refers to an interesting New York Times article that elaborates a bit more on the generational divide between today’s teachers and students.

One line in this story sticks out like a hangnail. About the new generational divide between teacher and student: “This one separates those who want to use technology to grow smarter from those who want to use it to get dumber.”

How are you and your business using technology to get smarter about your business, your customers and … ?