Buried in Phones

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“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly
anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

~ Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996)

How many times this year have I told students to put their phones away? I have sent students to the Dean’s Office for refusing.

Yet these kids might as well be using magic wands for all that they understand the objects in their hands. Technology should be a greater part of the curriculum — not just its use for classroom purposes, which is heavily encouraged, but also the nuts and bolts of the technology itself. The number of kids in our academically-challenged schools who are reliant on devices they can neither create nor repair represents a growing problem. We joke about Ivy Leaguers who can’t fix a toilet. Those Ivy Leaguers will be just fine, thank-you, but my students may not be fine. Many are unlikely to be ready for college — even if they could find the money necessary to go. (This is especially a problem for the undocumented who cannot get loans.) But since we are relentlessly preparing them for college, they are unlikely to be ready to do anything else.

Where are the vocational/technical options related to our new technology? Maybe there is no need for these options since we now seem to chuck the old stuff without a thought. But I wonder if we are neglecting possible avenues for skilled trades in our relentless push to up our math and English scores?