This short video on TedxDesMoines is quite encouraging. In it, Scott McLeod reminded viewers that the new power and freedom that the internet supplies can be used to accomplish great good. Specifically, he focused on what is being done by high school age kids. In the face of abuses of the internet such as cyber bullying, there are children inventing things and solving problems using technology.
The video reminded me that with any freedom or power, people can use technology for good or evil. Teenagers who get their drivers license have a new ability to freely move about to new places. This can be used for good: a student giving a ride to younger siblings or drive over to visit an aging relative. It also can be used for negative purposes such as excluding people from a social event, going places parents wouldn’t want, or driving dangerously. McLeod simply takes a positive approach about teens and suggests that we “let them be awesome”.
I don’t think the message of this video is condemning schools as it may appear. For years and years, child prodigies have existed, and young people have done amazing things. Often, it is because ideas they have inspire them and they have the optimism and energy to pursue the ideas. Other times, kids succeed at an early age because of a natural talent. Think of a talent like Mozart. We have music in schools, but hardly have the capabilities to provide personal instruction and high quality instruments to every student. Additionally, there are many children who have zero interest in music. However, we try to expose students to music through the curriculum and allow them to pursue performance through groups like choir and band. I think it is similar with technology. We can try to open doors and introduce different technologies to students in the classroom, but we can’t control what amazing creative things they will do with them…students almost have to do these things extracurricularly!