Extracurricular Empowerment: Reflection

Scott McLeod takes a different approach on the argument about technology and our youth. While most headlines we see referring to technology highlight the negative aspects, such as cyber bullying, sexting, and a cause of distractions, McLeod highlights the positive. It is easy to forget about all the good that stems from our youth interacting with technology, when we do hear about a lot of bad.

I believe that it is very important to focus on the positive effects that technology has, instead of dwelling on the negative. Of course, it is important to teach our children and students about internet safety and the dangers that come along with it. But that is not to say that we can’t embrace this revolution and show our pride in what our youth is dreaming up and making their reality.

The example in the video that McLeod focuses on is about a 9 year old girl named Martha, whose blog became famous for showing the poor food quality in her school lunches. Other young foodies from around the globe started sharing their photos and comparing what they were being served for lunch. Martha’s blog became such a hit that she was receiving feedback from the famous chef Jamie Oliver. The fact that the internet can connect so many different people that perhaps never would have met without it, is quite astonishing. Within days of her tweeting at Jamie Oliver, she received a signed copy of his book. Examples like this just prove how advanced our society has become. Our world has become a web of instantaneous connections.

Anyways, with Martha’s now famous blog, her school system decided to try and shut her down. The school board told her that she could no longer post pictures of her school lunches. This caused quite a stir, as it should have, and people around the world started advocating for her. After seeing the number of people fighting for Martha and her blog, the school board decided that instead of trying to censor her, they should look at what she’d advocating for. For once, adults were trying to understand what exactly kids are fighting for, and working with them, rather than shutting them down. In my opinion, this was groundbreaking. Martha began to use her platform to raise over $200,000 to help those in need. That is unbelievable! A 9 year old is capable of raising over $200,000 solely through the use of social media and technology. How can anyone believe that children should not have access to this powerful tool?

The point that McLeod tries to make is that if we want more of these children like Martha and the other examples he named, then we have to get rid of our fear and loosen our control and focus more on empowerment in school. Many of these great happenings are occurring outside of school, but it is important to utilize these skills in the classroom. As teachers and educators, we need to think of meaningful projects for our students to work on and give them the tools and access they need to succeed. Like McLeod said “Get out of their way and let them be amazing.” There is so much about technology that comes second nature to this new generation…so much that adults and teachers just can’t comprehend no matter how hard we try. We need to give students the platform to start, and watch them use their creative minds to create brilliant new ideas.

I think Scott has the right idea….What do you think about Scott’s take on technology?

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One thought on “Extracurricular Empowerment: Reflection

  1. sjknight says:

    I have always appreciated Scott’s take on tech in schools. Although he often targets administrators (since he trains future school administrators), he talks to teachers about empowering students. We can do that without tech, project/problem based and personalized learning experiences can happen with very little tech. Teachers tend to want to control the learning, but with the right planning and support, we can get out of their way and something exciting will happen:)

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