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Technology: Friend of Community? Or Foe?
Written by David Behrman, 01 of May, 2012
Heidi Hayes Jacobs gives a remarkable presentation. I had the pleasure of hearing her at the EdJewCon conference in Jacksonville FL earlier this week. A very commanding presence.
And she has to be! Her most common phrases were “eyes on me” and “look up here.” Why? Because she was trying to introduce web tools to the audience. And as she introduced each tool to her audience, the tools themselves took over, distracting many of us from her words, from her presence, from hearing her message.
The very act of expanding the world of the audience—of us her class—diluted the power of her presence, and blurred the focus of her talk.
What should we do? We know that technology is a powerful force and a powerful tool. We know it’s here to stay. And we know that in many cases it’s the key to learner engagement.
But there’s a problem too: how do we introduce these new, dynamic resources while maintaining a true community of learning? How can we visit the world via the web while maintaining a true community at home? How can we encourage the broader dialogs and exchanges that the web enables while maintaining a common conversation at home and in our schools? How can we have a classroom experience which uses technology to open the classroom doors to the wider world, while still preserving the class as a community.
Perhaps at the end of the day it’s a question of control. Perhaps we need to learn how to surrender control of the traditional classroom, while providing glue within the classroom, the school, and the synagogue so that our students, our parents, and our families will not spin off into their own worlds, like so many residents of Babel.