I recently wrote about fear and doubt and how I was uncertain of my future and how that future might include retirement. I walked all the way to the edge and even jumped off into retirement only to be recalled by one of my supervisors. A week ago I was summoned to the principal’s office for what I thought would be a scolding and lo and behold the man wanted me to return to the classroom. I’m being re-invented and in September I’ll be teaching seventh and eighth grade students how to stay safe on the internet, use tools like Google Docs and use their cell phones as learning tools.
The request and the experience has left me with a beginners mind. I’m reaching out to other teachers who’ve taught at this grade level before and who have had this assignment. For the last several years I’ve been a proponent of the educational uses of cell phones. I’ve been at loggerheads with the administration on this point. I’ve come to believe that cell phones are really the present and future direction of computing. For years we’ve been talking about one to one computing and only an elite few districts could actually pull it off. Most lacked the resources. Adding to the proliferation of cell phones is the emergence of the Net Book platform. The near and far term will see a melding of the two and in a relatively short period of time I think we’ll see an almost total disappearance of the traditional desktop and even laptop computers in favor of net centric devices that connect to both traditional 802.11 wireless networks and cellular networks. Recent events in Iran prove the effectiveness of low bandwidth tools like Twitter and SMS to get the message out.
Of course these tools can be dangerous in the hands of young people who frequently lack good judgement and use them to send inappropriate messages which put them and their futures in jeopardy. My assignment includes helping to change those behaviors. It’s a tall order but it’s one that’s got me excited and energized. I hope that you will continue to pray as I need those prayers and so do the students I’ll be working with.