By: Jeff Carter, NEWSPA Board President (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While technology is moving at a breakneck pace, I’m still struggling to keep my Facebook profile up to date – it’s complicated. It’s not that I’m against technology, it’s that I’m fearful of being subjugated by robot overlords; I watch a lot of sci-fi movies.
Technology and teaching is a constant conflict. I want our student publication to reach the students on the apps they are using; however, I’m not familiar with these apps enough to use let alone teach them.
I’ve come to the realization that no matter how much time I spend trying to understand Insatgram or how many Snapchats filters I try to apply or how many boomerangs I try to create and fail, I will never be as good at these as my students are. Me trying to teach them how to use social media will be YouTube gold but of little educational value.
So instead of trying to roll the boulder up the never ending hill only to have to do it again next year and the next year, I’ve started letting the students do the work.
One of the tasks that the editors in my newspaper class need to do is lead a lesson on new technology. Each editor gets a day to teach the class about some new technology and how to use it for the newspaper.
There could be a lesson on Instagram that explores the ways the profession press as well as other school publications are using the app. There could be a lesson on the various audio recording apps that are out there and which one is best for conducting interviews.
I still remember one a few years ago where a student showed that Pinterest had a ton of newspaper layout ideas for other high schools. And I thought Pinterest was just for Star Wars craft ideas.
I leave time at the end of the presentation for the other students in the class to talk about what the pros and cons of using the technology. Sometimes we try something new after the presentation or something we realize that the new tech is best left alone. I had one group try to make QR codes for the paper that ended up connecting to a website not found screen. It was tons of effort with no results. But even in that case, the students were inspired and learned about how to implement a new strategy. Positive learning from a failure.
When it comes to technology and teens, if you can’t beat ‘em, have them beat themselves. Maybe that’s not the best phrasing, let me see what Grammarly says.