27 April 2009

TECH OVERLOAD, part two of BLog BLock

This chapter of BLog BLock is inspired by....
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/25/ben-okri-poem-twitter I would love to present this Ben Okri (Nigeria/Britain) poem to them and challenge them to unlock it, and then do one of their own. But their inertia has infected me at this point in the year. And I am feeling impatient with them--they are too young to see and feel the power in this new medium, I think. Still entirely involved in the complexity of high school--so little of it has to do with academics. So....
I will not twitter, not because I wouldn't like it, though. I would like it. It would become yet another addiction: the challenge of 140 characters to write a poem or critique a book or send a recipe is tempting. And the drive to be "followed" would take over. But I want to stay married, and my family thinks this "tech problem" I have is endearing and quirky (so far). So I will not be using twitter.
I admit, and I am not sure if this is my age or my personality, that sometimes I want to slow down, limit my input, ruminate on what is most recently in the front of my brain. I actually just thought of three links that I could insert here on this topic, but I don't want to network or link right now. There is a limit to the usefulness of constant input, to the myriad feeds into the human brain. All this information at my disposal is great, but I need to sort and judge and enjoy it. Just USE it.
My students are still learning this skill. They want me to tell them what to think, what to read, what the connections are, why it is important. But, as I told some seniors today, I'm still doing all the work. Let yourself out of the cage today--why did I make you read Garden of the Forking Paths? How could one class include Dante's Inferno and Things Fall Apart? Is this whole class about me and my love of reading? No, of course not--they know that much. I try to give them what I have as a starting point for their own quest for themselves.
Am I working through the BLog BLock? Not sure yet...I wrote a post for the seniors about the Free Culture movement,which draws on their Sita Sings the Blues experience. Very few of the comments were good: they did not explore the information I provided. I guess I am back to the motivation question...what I found out in 5 minutes preparing the assignment they missed in 41! Have I reached the limits of what they can do at this age? Maybe. I am surprised by their lack of curiosity the most, I think.
I am, and have always been, eternally curious--maybe it is an uncommon personality trait. I can't believe that. I read teacher blogs every day which mull over this same problem, and I know that others in my school wonder about the same thing. How have all these smart kids survived on no curiosity?? And if I hear one more person say that school is sucking the life out of kids, I will scream. I am NOT sucking the life out of my students. School is not the culprit. The structure may be flawed, but the strength of the teachers who show up every day ready to engage the students is enough. I bring life every day, I feel it. Why isn't it infecting more of them? Too late to answer this tonight...but all ideas welcome!
Next topic: So I am constantly surprised by the number of people who are totally uninterested in new, really NEW, ways to experience books, people, school, students, art, poetry, shopping, politics, movies, food, driving, etc.

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