A shortened version of my response to Mr. Welsh was published on the editorial page of the USAToday on Monday June 29, 2009.
You can go to the link above to find my letter as well as one other published on the subject, or you can read my letter below.
John Strange, Professor of Professional Studies, University of South Alabama - Daphne, Ala.
No one can stop the communications revolution. Not parents, not school rules, not punishment by teachers, not measures yet to be devised. So, let's look for the positives.
At least students are writing. In 1995, I wrote that we had entered a new era in which students were no longer reader/writers but listener/watchers. I urged teachers to find ways to get students to "write" with multimedia so that they contributed to the products being listened to and watched. That is beginning to happen.
Students are inventing a new language, which some don't like. But it is inventing, and it sets a context for discussions of creativity and language that provide a marvelous teaching opportunity — if we are prepared to take advantage of it.
So let's teach with technology. If we honor the use of new communication tools, we are much more likely to get cooperative students. But if we try to ban these devices, we will fail.
Teachers cannot teach the same way they taught five years ago. We have to rewrite our lesson plans and learn some new things (including texting). We have to learn from the students.
How exciting — we can be learners again, not just teachers.
Posted at 12:08 AM/ET, June 29, 2009 in Education - Letters, Letter to the editor