Maybe it’s because I am reminiscent of my youth and was craving a walk down memory lane that I decided to read this book? Or maybe it’s because I wanted to know that all things I love were returning into today’s mainstream? Regardless of why I ended up with this title, I now wish it lived on my bookshelf and I didn’t have to return to the library. Just looking at it reminds me of my favourite records and drawing with my family members at the kitchen table before dinner.
The Revenge of Analog by David Sax was a beautiful follow up to Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation. It was as if the book fairies aligned these two reads so I could continue this idea I constantly return to – slow down, live simply and disconnect from all things technology – even if just for an hour.
There are chapters about vinyl and its intimate production process, paper and its ability to enhance our creativity, and the ability of board games to connect us conversationally – all ideas that resonate so deeply with what I believe and what this year away from work is all about. For those of you that know me, I have a deep love for paper and pens and there was even words written about Moleskine notebooks!
And then I get to Chapter 8: The Revenge of School and there is this need to share with everyone digitally! An ironic turn of events, but a necessary share to get all of my readers thinking about bringing purpose to all things in their classroom, even when it comes to how we use technology.
David Sax (@saxdavid) digs into the insurgence of SmartBoards and their slow demise. He speaks of MOOCs (massive open online courses) as “one of the greatest promises and failures of the educational technology movement.” I couldn’t stop reading this chapter and re-reading certain sentences. What all of these technology advances have in common is their lack of connection with humans and their inability to be manipulated with more than a swipe. Educators who can be responsive in the moment and peers you can collaboratively think with bring an experience to learning that is far beyond that of any device.
“Teachers are the key to analog education’s past, present, and future, and no technology can or should replace them. Not because they have the most knowledge, but because without them, education is no more than facts passed back and forth. If you want facts, go read a book. If you want to learn, find a teacher.” (p. 202)
I have mixed feelings when it comes to technology as I sit here writing these words to you on my computer. What I know for sure is that we all need to slow down, learn deeply and connect with each other collaboratively. We also need to incorporate technology at appropriate ages and in meaningful ways that enhance the learning of our students. I agree with David, I do not believe that technology has no place in the classroom, I’m just trying to figure out what its place can be so that it doesn’t disconnect our students from each other and decrease children’s curiosity.
“One thing that I have taken away is this: whatever technology is being used, the success or failure comes down to the interaction between the student, the teacher, and how the teacher manages that relationship. How that teacher poses questions. How they orchestrate their classroom. How they direct the dialog along lines of learning. What it comes to taking kids from point A to point B, no digital technology can do that”, Peebles said, stopping every few breaths to say good morning to another student. “That’s still the job of the teacher.” (p.204)
A wonderful read, from start to finish, that I highly recommend to everyone.
Yours in reading,