Thursday, February 13, 2014

Breakfast Unplugged

A little story that will hopefully prove a point.

I was enjoying a breakfast with my family at a wonderful mom and pop restaurant. The place is lively with bright colors and good music. The staff has huge personalities and the cinnamon buns make you smile inside and out.

Just after we ordered a tune came through the sound system. It was a song I knew but I could not recall the artist. I could sing it, to the embarrassment of my daughter, and was frustrated I could not remember the name of the singer.

At this point I could have dug out a device and tapped away for the answer. I did not because I do not have a smart phone. Instead, I waited for the waitress. When this boisterous woman came back I asked her who sang the previous song, providing her with a few harmonious lines as my daughter buried her face into her hands.

Of course, the waitress knew. She gave me the answer that I was looking for. However, her and I went on to have a nice conversation about music, growing up with the radio always on, how much fun it is to sing in public with your children looking on in horror, and how annoying it is to have that song on the tip of your tongue. That exchange would not have happened if I had pulled out a device.

Jarred Haas (@jarredhaas) tweeted, "Johnson’s First Sign of Technology Literacy: Knowing when to use technology and when not to use technology." There are moments when tech integration is essential. On the other hand, there are moments when face-to-face conversations and human interactions are just as valuable. As we learn to navigate the technological landscape we need to provide opportunities for children to be conversationalists, debaters, and collaborators. Sometimes, the meandering path is better than the straight line.

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