Are We Neglecting Relationships While Promoting Technology?

Wow, what an amazing event today at the brand new #HWDSB Education Centre to kick off the Transforming Learning Everywhere #HWDSBTLE movement. Guest speaker Dean Shareski @shareski was great to listen to and he posed some very real reflective questions for educators to think about. I also really enjoyed the face to face with many Twitter friends and board employees I knew about but haven’t formally met yet.

But I have to say, my best learning and reflection came from a parent volunteer driver. After the small talk and introductions, I said to her, “Isn’t this amazing?” and she replied, “I’m not sure?, My 10 year old son hasn’t talked to one person and he hasn’t taken his eyes of his iPad.” And then there was a pause, I was thinking about her question, and she wasn’t sure if she should have said that. The first thought that ran through my mind was I begin every meeting I conduct with a line such as “Everyone in this room will be respected and heard” and I instantly realized her comment had to be heard and taken as a valid point of observation.

She continued to say she feels her son is become too dependant on the device and he is beginning to isolate himself from interaction with his peers. He’s definitely learning new skills, but not developing skills we had from our school days. We talked a lot more about other items too, but it really started to make me think.

At the end, Shareski said something along the lines about educators need to harness the power of technology while at the same time be aware of the pitfalls (those are my words of his idea). He continued to say we need to think of ways students can build healthy relationships with people while using technology. I instantly looked for this parent to say “This is what you were saying!” but I didn’t see her.

So what do you think? As educators we know we should be embracing technology (and I will continue for sure), we know balance is healthy and we know students love using it, but are we neglecting the relationship building piece that comes with promoting a 1 to 1 environment?

Would love to hear your thoughts.