I am finally reading Clay Shirky's book, Here Comes Everybody. I know, I should have read it months ago like the rest of the world, but if you haven't read it yet either, it still resonates even in this rapidly changing world. Listen to this:
"When I was a teenager, I remember reading letters to the editor in my local paper, where the grown-ups were arguing about whether to allow students to use calculators. The unspoken worry was that since calculators had appeared so suddenly, they might disappear just as suddenly. What none of the grown-ups in that conversation understood was that there would never again be a day when we needed to divide two seven-digit numbers on paper. What seemed to them like a provisional new capability was actually a deep and permanent shift, one we students recognized immediately" (Shirky 294).
Do all of your students get this today about the web and all of its possibilities? To be honest, I am not sure all of mine do, and that is why this quote makes me think so much. As a teacher, I feel so often on the back-end of the "Web 2.0" movement -- barely hanging on. Yet, for some (many?) of my students, I am pulling them along. I am showing them not only, to keep Shirky's metaphor going, why this calculator is here to stay but also why they should be recognizing this as part of THEIR worlds.
So in the end, am I in front or back?