Today I saw Ian Jukes speak--he's dynamic, bright, and he shared evidence that today's children, the native digital generation, have altered minds.
I used to work on the Newark docks, he claimed to be a pro football player in the Canadian Football League (though a look at the all-time BC Lions roster doesn't mention a Jukes), so I cut him more slack than I would most pedagogues, and even though he quoted Thomas Friedman a bit and took a cheap shot at Clifford Stoll, most of what he said made sense.
The one thing that perked my interest was his aside that the news that children are different today than a generation ago, truly different in a neurological way, frightened him. He didn't elaborate, and why should he? He makes decent money chatting it up with high-tech futuristic sorts, and he's evangelical in his approach to education, but still, he said it.
I hope someday to pursue it with him, but his blog The Committed Sardine boasts over 78,000 followers, and I have 12, so my leverage is a bit limited.
If I did ever share a pint or two with him, here's what I'd say. Yes, children are different, yes, technology has a huge role in our lives, yes, all this visual noise is uber-cool but....
If I want fresh brandywines and Pruden's purple tomatoes this year, I still have to plant seeds in March.
If I want just-pulled-out-of-the-mud fresh clams, well, I will have to climb into my kayak, head towards my sekrit place, and rake them up.
If I want music that happens to reflect my limbic state at the moment, well, I have to pick up my guitar, or one of the many scattered harmonicas, or a flute or a trumpet, and play.
No way around it.
My kids are still my kids, altered brains or not, and brandywine tomatoes are still my tomatoes, as long as I am young enough to stoop in the garden.
Which gets to the real point--I plant in March for returns in August and September. I do not believe summer is coming, because my imagination always fall short this time of year. I plant by faith.
One of these years, what I plant in the spring may need to be harvested by someone else in the fall.
That's the way it is. And a CPU can't change that.
Mr. Jukes replied in less than an hour. He's a mensch.
More important, I tried using some of his stuff--and my class woke up, engaged as though it was the first week of school. He's onto something. More as I learn more.