During a visit to the main office, I noticed a elementary student, having what I would call, an extreme bout of confusion. What object could cause a smart, young student this level of confusion? Operating a traditional telephone. Yup, a telephone…with a cord. A land line. Something many students don’t encounter or have knowledge of.

The student, to no fault of his own, didn’t understand the dial tone or where to push “send” to make a call. After assisting the student, I asked if he had “one of these” at home to which he replied, “my family only has cellphones.”

To jump to around a bit…

Are schools still teaching students about the traditional telephone or should we begin to change course and reach students who are using smartphones?

The traditional telephone and a smartphone is a metaphor for how many (most?) school districts operate and can be helpful to apply along the entire education spectrum.

Questions to ponder…

– Are you still teaching with Windows XP on software that is 10-years old not based on budget concerns, but because its what you are comfortable with?

– Are you still teaching with a “sit and get” approach?

– Do you shun students working and saving documents in the cloud because it is deemed “dangerous”?

– Do you teach technology as a “special”, like art or physical education or instead do you use technology to sweeten a lesson?

Which side are you on?

The 21st century student is further along and flying faster than we feel comfortable with, but it’s our job as educators and administrators to catch up and meet them where they are!

To reach a student who has only known life with the Internet, never used a phone book or traditional telephone, new techniques and methods must be sought. Teachers and administrators are faced each day with capable students, who will learn apps on the fly without a need for professional development, and will move seamlessly between technologies without complaint. Students must have deep, strong technology skills and we need to force the issue. With a global economy, their lives depend on it!

Teachers and administrators must take the next steps for betterment and understanding to reach students and it starts today!

Are you still teaching the traditional telephone? What are you going to do to adapt and reach your students?