"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

High tech- Low tech

My school became an iPad school this year. What does that mean? It means that every student is checked out an iPad like a textbook and most teachers are conducting lessons using the tools available to them on the iPads like Canvas, Notability, Pages, and many other subject-specific APPs. One English teacher told me she was thrilled because now she could have her students submit all their papers through Turn-It-In, an APP which helps prevent plagiarism. It really has changed education at our school overnight. But...I've noticed some really sad side effects of the iPads and their widespread usage.
  • Fewer kids are checking out books, even ibooks. More kids than ever are coming to the library as just another place to hang-out with their friends and to even play video games together. Fewer students are reading or looking at the books. We are part of a statistic which is happening everywhere high tech is integrated. As kids embrace the technology, the less they read. The less they read, the less they can read. Sad.
  • Every year since our library opened eleven years ago we have dedicated one table to jigsaw puzzles. The puzzle table has become a place for kids to spend a few minutes at lunch being quiet or working in concert with someone else to finish a task. It has been a very popular spot, up until this year. Now no one, or very few students, bother with the jigsaw puzzles I dutifully put out for them. The puzzle table is a victim of the ipads, I fear. Low tech (jigsaw puzzles) cannot compete with high-tech iPads.
  • Remember when your kids were little, say two years old and you would plop them on the floor next to another two year old? What would happen? The kids would play next to each other, not with each other. I think it is called simultaneous play. Anyway it is part of their development. Kids have to learn how to play together and they don't do it at first.  With the introduction of iPads, it is as if we have kicked kids backwards in development.  They sit next to each other and play on their iPads, not interacting with each other. It is as if they are back to the simultaneous play stage of their lives. 
  • One day while walking through the cafeteria where kids gather before school, I noted a whole lot of kids playing video games on their iPads and no one reading, Not one person. I remarked about this to an administrator who was supervising the room. Without missing a beat she said, "That is why kids bring guns to school." What? I was pretty shook up by her comment and very surprised. I was thinking reading, and she was thinking guns. Ugh. She went on to explain that kids don't talk to each other these day and don't know how to work out their problems. So if there is a conflict what do they do? They bring guns to school. Hey, what do you do in video games? You shoot everything, right? Scary!
I really worry about us as a society if we never have time for low-tech (or no-tech) activities. What are your thoughts on this subject?


  1. We are 1:1 with Chromebooks at my school. While we do have students who are readers and will prefer print books, not ebooks, we are still seeing the library has a hangout place. Resulting my job and my coworkers as glorified safety monitors. I've thought about doing a low scale makerspace where students who hang and do something creative, but I don't think the administrators or the staff will see it that way. I'm still trying to combat their traditional library perception.

    1. I have not really thought of creating Maker Spaces because of the lack of flexibility of my shelving and the way the library is used throughout the day. But I should give smaller projects a try. We have SO MANY kids treating the library as an extension of the cafeteria, even wanting to eat in it. It drives me crazy having to act like a library guard.

    2. I feel your pain, Anne! It really sucks out my energy at the end of the day.

  2. I agree 100% with this post and am very sad too. In our zeal to embrace technology, we are sending our kids backwards in reading ability, social skills and people to people interactions. Plus, studies show how superior books are to computers when it comes to learning material. But none of the higher ups in education appear to read or care about these studies. :(

  3. My district also seems to think that technology is the answer to our district's problems. Even our new library hires are not trained in library skills, they are technology teachers. I am sad to think what the collections will soon look like at those schools, and at every meeting I attend with them am reminded of how little they know about literature and books.

    Interestingly enough, my own children, who do often choose technology to my irritation, will come home from their school and complain about having to use technology for everything. They would much rather have a hands-on project than be stuck with their face on a screen completing an assignment.


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