I use technology every day. Who doesn’t? We all flip on electric lights, Many of us drive cars. Others ride buses. Some of us have cell phones. Some of those phones are “smart” phones and others are “feature phones. Some people have PCs and some have Macs. There’s an emphasis on 21st century tools and 21st century schools. Will students be prepared to use this tool or that tool? How can they truly be prepared for college or the work force unless they know Microsoft Word or use an iPad or an iPod? What are the skills that they really need to be successful in this day and age? There are the same 26 letters and the same 10 digits now as there were forty or fifty years ago and there are a nearly infinite number of combinations and permutations of those figures.
We emphasize Common Core and the NETS standards. We’ve got students who get benchmarks and schools that achieve AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) and teachers who are evaluated by APPR and test scores but we’re falling apart. We’re coming apart at the seams. Never in the last 40 plus years have I seen our country so stressed, so divided. Never have I seen schools, teachers, administrators, students and parents so stressed as they are now.
So what do we need that’s way more important than high tech and high standards? We need heart. We need compassion. We need community. We desperately need community more than at anytime in our past. Without community the rest is just waste and consumerism. Jargon and bandwagons can’t prepare us or our children for the 21st century any better than community. Without community we cease to exist. We break down into warring fragments.
Instead of iPhones and iPods we need I love you’s. Instead of text messages we need touch messages. We need people who can connect at the heart. We need people who can be present to each other. Wherever you are whatever you are doing make sure that you tell the people you’re working with or teaching with that you love them. Tell your children and anyone’s children that you love them. Love builds community and that is what we need more than anything else.