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Teaching Concepts That Are Not Found In A Student’s Pocket

Everyone of us is well conditioned to send and receive information through our electronic devices. Regardless if we are at work or hanging out with friends, whenever we need the answer to data driven questions, our phone or our computer is able to give us many of the answers we need. As our youth begin to navigate a world that is filled with almost limitless information, we must ask ourselves a question:

How do we educate our youth in the areas that cannot be easily accessed by their devices?

In every graded course of study there are elements that are becoming less and less important for students to know and understand because of the information our computers give us each and every day. As I am writing this, my computer is fixing every one of my spelling mistakes. It is also suggesting to me when there might be a better way of expressing myself by underlining words when my sentence structure is unclear. On my phone, I can find the location of every state in the United States. With another click I can also find each of their capital cities.

By adapting our curriculums away from concepts that are easily found by using a computer, we can begin to engage our youth in ways that our electronic devices have limited capacity to help.

Before we go down this rabbit hole, please do not think that I am suggesting that we shouldn’t teach our kids how to spell, take math, or the need to memorize the US states just because it is on our phones. Each of these examples can be easily learned or found by utilizing technology but have great value for a young student in many ways. However, as educators, we should be asking other questions:

  • Are we teaching kids to problem solve in our content area?

  • Are we teaching kids how to create in our content area?

  • Are we teaching kids how to emote in our content area?

The skill sets of creativity, problem solving, and emoting are three of the most important concepts that can be taught within each major discipline of which our computers have limited capacity.

Problem solving is the cornerstone of what our students need as they face the challenges of life outside of academia. Regardless of it being in their personal life, everyday situations, or in their career, young adults need the ability to assess a situation and find a way to make their situation better.

Creativity brings out the full understanding of a subject area. Not only do creative students understand the content but they also have the ability to recreate, adapt and modify the concepts presented to them.

Emoting is what makes us human. Understanding beauty, being happy, compartmentalizing sadness / anxiety / and fear, are concepts that everyone needs a lifetime to learn. Giving children the foundation of self expression through writing, performing, and displaying their talents in all subject areas, gives our children the pride and understanding of their self worth.

As educators and parents, we need to explore all of the ways our children can maximize these tools to provide the building blocks of their future self. We need to teach our children how to create, problem solving, and emote in all of our STEM classes. We need to teach how to create, problem solve, and emote in all of our language arts classes. We need to teach how to create, problem solve, and emote in ALL of our classes.

With the understanding that our kids have a large portion of our curriculums right in their pocket, we need to adapt the content we teach so that we are educating the parts of our students’ lives that can not be accessed by utilizing technology.

In all disciplines, let’s teach our kids how to problem solve, be creative, and promote an understanding of the different emotions that our students encounter every day.

Our world is changing, but are we?

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