I have just finished listening to the interview with Thomas Friedman over Skype at the Flat Classroom Conference in Doha, Quatar. I kept having to stop the podcast to jot down something he said because he has got a great way with words and most of his answers contained little gems that really got me thinking. To me his message seemed to be very much that technology is changing the world but that the use of these new technologies is fraught with danger and distraction and that now, more than ever, teachers are needed to help students learn how to cope with these new challenges. Here are a couple quotes I really liked:
Continuous partial attention is lethal to creativity.
It was interesting to hear that someone who is a real hero of the Web 2.0 world takes great pains to keep himself unplugged so that he can maintain the focus and creativity needed to write two newspaper columns a week.
You can’t download judgement or wisdom or values.
We need to take advantage of what is new but not lose sight of what is old.
These two quotes really resonate with me when I wear my IT integrator hat. I want the teachers at my school to feel valued for all the skills they already have and know that the important things they have to teach – judgement, wisdom, values are more important than ever. Even if the information they teach is not as rare a commodity as it once was.
One more sound bite I really liked:
The internet will make you smarter but it won’t make you smart.