Get a Grip

Get a Grip

During the last school year, I was honored and humbled to go outside of my comfort zone and go rafting down the Ganga River with a group of energetic eighth graders. I was not alone in being new to this water sport and the newbies on this adventure paid close attention to the directions that were given, of the most being, never let go of your t-grip. The t-grip was used to help navigate the raft and if need be could be your “life line” back to the raft should you fall out. I spent the next few days of this adventure following directions, never letting go of my t-grip!

Do we as educators have a grip on the skills our students will need in the 21st century? Are we teaching them how to merely survive or teaching them to thrive? Are we taking the technology tools that are currently available and using them to our advantage? For instance, what is our stance on smartphones in Education?

Jeff Dunn, in his article, “The 60-Second Guide to Smartphones in Education” highlights some facts that education today must acknowledge:

• Ownership of smartphones continues to rise at a brisk pace
• Smartphone owners download between 50 and 80 apps each
• Students studying using smartphones are three times more likely to track their progress
• Flashcards and self-quizzes are popular: more than 70% of students use this type of app
• Most students use the built-in apps a lot. The calculator, notepad, and camera all play critical roles.

What are we doing to embrace what is already entering our classrooms, what is at the fingertips of most students? How are we empowering them and their parents to make learning more meaningful and relevant to today? How are we training our students to engage with their global community? Students today have more opportunities then those of yester year to make an impact earlier on in life. Why not provide them with the tools to think critically, collaboratively, and problem solve while we can be around to facilitate and support their learning?