Image from Lawrence Miller Galleries
It was a sad season, this past holiday and for that reason I couldn't wait to pack up the tree and assorted swag on January 1st. It has all been stashed away with hopes for a better tomorrow. This is one reason you haven't heard from us much lately - since we tend to be a light-hearted blog (in our ironic sort of way) we just didn't seem to have much to say. That and in light of so much sadness in the world - does it really matter if Sally calls you Mrs. Smith or "Hey you?" What's really important is that Sally is around to yell at you at all.
Another reason this humble correspondent hasn't had much to say lately is due to something going on locally. A few weeks back all fourth grade parents in our town received an email telling us about a proposed curriculum change. Starting in September it will be mandatory that all 5th graders in our town's seven elementary schools have their own iPads. This will be a partnership (that means families need to buy the iPads unless need is demonstrated) and the children are to use these "educational tools" in the classroom and at home. My extensive thoughts on this can be found over at TheSwellesleyReport. Suffice to say, I find it all a bit concerning and the arguments in favor less than convincing.
Image from Wired.co.uk
There was a presentation last night and the parents of the children in the pilot program were most enthusiastic. They love it and thought it added much to the classroom and helped prepare them for middle school. Children were able to (among other things) build their own websites, create their ideal societies and present them to peers via video - sounds great. But is this compelling enough to mandate families purchase iPads for ten year olds? Moreover, I was disappointed by the response to the parents who raised concerns. Essentially the response was 'this is already happening, kids use iPads for games - we will teach them to use them as tools, this is the world today, other towns are doing it, this will close the digital gap, you should get on board.' There was very little discussion about the rightness of giving ten year olds these devices or the merits of 1:1 screen education vs. collaborative learning. Well, here's hoping I am wrong and it is a brilliant success.
More and more, these days, this modern mother finds herself feeling like a salmon swimming up stream. Then again, does any of it really matter as long as the children are safe in school?