And so it finally happened. It was obvious really. Just two students giggling in the corner of the room staring at their iPads. So I walk over, slowly … with the worst possible thoughts going through my head … thinking to myself, I am pretty sure that during our digital citizenship lessons we learned that if we find something inappropriate we should tell an adult and not share with a friend. I take a deep breath, tilt my head to peek at the screen, and this is what I see …
Followed by, “Mr. Alex, I got a new high score on the dino game!”
To which I replied, “the dino game?”
“Yeah – you know the one on Chrome when there is no internet!”
“Oh yeah, sure, the dino game” I tried to sound convincing but it didn’t work, and with a look of pity on their faces the students went on to explain “so you see Mr. Alex … ” (at this point I was having flashbacks of trying to explain how email works to my Grandpa twenty years ago) “if you are using Google Chrome and you are not connected to the internet then you can tap here (on the dino) and try and jump over the obstacles to make a high score!” (on a desktop you press the spacebar to start. Try!)
And so the tables were turned – the teacher becomes the student. I have always believed, and now more so than ever, that my role in the classroom is that of “chief learner.” Knowledge is a currency that is decreasing in value every day, because we can just Google “dino game” for example, and you can find out everything you need to know (click here for example). The real skill lies in figuring out what we don’t know, how we can find out about it, and how to act on our new knowledge … aka learning through inquiry … aka critical thinking.
So now that it is official – I don’t know it all – how am I going to take action? What are the implications for me? And really the sobering truth is that I hope my students leave the classroom being (insert your choice of learner profile trait here ___________) because even though I might still have a trick or two up my sleeve now, soon enough the tables will turn for good … in the words of said previous student, “don’t worry Mr. Alex, I can show you how … so first you … ”
* for the record once the internet returned the students were back on task and highly engaged =)