Lance Scranton: Technology doesn’t replace relationships
August 25, 2015
Summer has come and gone, at least according to our local school calendar. Students will begin classes on Monday and most parents have already been busy attending meetings and filling out the ever-increasing volume of paperwork. I wish I could remember the names of those pretenders of technological progressivism who promised that computers would make our lives so much simpler! Like some dystopian futuristic novel, computers seem to be running our lives instead of what was promised all those years ago.
Regardless, with technology comes some surprisingly useful tools for the user who will can resist the temptation to rely too heavily on computers, smartphones and tablets and avoids drowning in the technological tsunami that destroys relationships, social skills and many forms of common sense. Paperwork volumes just seem to increase as computers demand more and more information while legalities force public institutions to require more and more signatures to dispel parental fears, over-inform carefree students and promulgate over-burdensome communication that used to be entrusted to teachers and administrators.
But back to useful tools! I remember the nightmarish beginning to my college days when computers were replacing typewriters and if an evil-inspired college classmate decided to turn off the switch to my computer — I would lose everything because I hadn't put in the floppy disk for storage. AAAHHH! Now Google saves everything I do automatically and I share what I need to share and students turn in work on a classroom ap. that makes paperwork less burdensome and feedback much more effective and timely. I'm certain we will raise generations of technology users that suffer myopia but we'll have more trees and fewer paper mills (is that a good thing?).
Communication is immediate and people tend to demand warp speed delivery of even the most mundane information. Schools are inundated with requests for automatic updates of student behavior, attendance and grades. Students will actually sit in my classes and check their grades constantly and complain because they turned in homework just minutes ago and the teacher hasn't changed their grade yet!
When societal myopia takes over we will know we're near the breaking point. When young adults can't see the forest for the trees, helped along by technology that makes it possible and parents who allow it… well, it just increases the stress and burden on those who are trying to do what is best for students.
As you send your son or daughter off to school this year, know that teachers are teaching, coaches are coaching, students are learning but it doesn't all happen at our convenience and regardless of the app. or the technology — nothing can replace the relationship that teachers foster with students so that learning can take place in an environment of trust and acceptance of all ability levels. It is the teacher's greatest gift to accept students where they are at, but refuse to let them stay there; it produces tension but I have a great app for that — just ask me!