Enough Messing Around

As I was reading the section “Messing Around” from the Digital Youth Project I first started thinking about how I (and many other educators) have this reluctance about technology that holds us back from giving our students the opportunity to use technology extensively in their learning. I was all ready to tackle that subject. But, then as I re-read some parts, I realized, as an educator, I’ve been ‘messing around’ with technology just like the kids in the study. According to the study, “Messing around is often a transitional stage between hanging out and more interest-driven participation.” (p. 20) Just as the kids in the study, I’ve been tinkering and exploring, seeking out more information through Google searches and endless clicks on hyperlinks, figuring things out on my own (where’s the HELP button), even starting projects and abandoning them. I think I’ve also had students use technology in the classroom without much direction or even responsibility to do so. Maybe I thought I was forward thinking in my attempts for students to use Power Point or Google Docs but I was never evaluated on using technology in the classroom. It was never part of my job description. But it’s time, although long overdue, for me to quit messing around and get some direction in my use of technology for learning. Towards the end of the “Messing Around” in the DYP study the authors talk about some kids who have used what they learned by messing around with technology into profitable “ventures”. The authors conclude, “…they [youths] demonstrate the ways in which messing around can function as a transitional genre that leads to more sustained engagements with media and technology.” (p. 28) I had the realization in the last few months that I owe it to myself and to my students to get some real direction and commitment to infusing technology for learning in my classroom. I also realize the messing around was an important phase for me to go through and I’ve learned so much from it. But it’s time for the rubber to hit the road, to move on, to get on with it, to jump to it. On to….geeking out!

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