Empower – Inspire – Impact

The title of this blog is a play on my schools tagline “Inquire – Inspire – Impact”

But why did I change it?  I’m talking about Technology and young people, I really don’t think we need to encourage them to Inquire – they are definitely doing this independently!  But what we do need to do is Empower our students.  Empower and inspire them to be bold and impact the world around them through the medium of technology.  As Scot McLeod, in his TEDxDeMoines talk, put it “How do we take the extra-curricular and turn it into the curricular?” How do we harness the inquiry happening everyday? How do we turn 72 hours of video being uploaded to Youtube every minute into learning in the classroom? (Erickson, 2012) Or maybe the question should be:

“How do we get out of the way and let them be amazing?” (McLeod, 2013)

On the subject of empowerment, I love the article ‘Instead of an AUP, How about an EUP?‘  Why are we always telling students no? Ok the AUP (RUA – MYP & DP NIS 2016) we use in school is fairly positive, however there is the clause ‘ If you do not follow the above agreements, you may lose the right to use technology at NIS’  What if we just said yes? ‘Be empowered. Do awesome things. Share with us your ideas and what you can do. Amaze us.’ (McLeod, 2014).  McLeod writes a short article – but read the comments after, there is an excellent debate and naturally educators want their students to be empowered online, they want them to have an impact, they want them to inspire others.

It’s here I think about Martha and her blog.  I think not just about the awe inspiring parents who encouraged her and impact she has had on a global community, but on her school and the way they handled the media interest.  They told her ‘no’, ‘you must stop’.  I wonder how they feel about this now?  I wonder how they are empowering students to use technology – I guess (hope) they have done a 360 turn and all student’s now have a blog in their school! (Search the net, unsuccessfully, to find a press release from the school).  Here’s Martha’s story…

We continually want students to write, write essays, write reflections, write a blog and perhaps these are some of the reasons we are inhibiting their amazingness? In ‘20 Things I learned‘ (2010) they cite these ‘astounding Statistics’:

  • Images and photos now make up 65% of the information on a typical web page, in terms of bytes per page.
  • 35 hours of video are uploaded to you Tube every minute of the day. (That’s like Hollywood releasing 130,000 new full length movies every week.

Look at the figures for Youtube uploads! There are two years between these articles being published and the figures have more than doubled.  Today, 2017, the number of hours of video uploaded to Youtube every minute stands at 300!


Image: http://www.statisticbrain.com/youtube-statistics/

And we are asking students to write!

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Empowering students also means standing back and allowing them to falter, the have that moment of ‘Why did I do that’.  We know that students learn more for trial and error improvement than anything else, inquiring, figuring it out for themselves. So why should technology be any different.  We should be encouraging students to ask ‘what happens if I press this?’  ‘Teaching children to fail’ is an excellent article for parents and educators.

Image: https://medium.com/world-economic-forum/8-digital-skills-we-must-teach-our-children-f37853d7221e

What we need to do is teach ‘Digital Intelligence (DQ)‘, arm students with the skills they need to stay safe online and manage their own online world.  This way they can make their own judgements and use digital commons sense to stay safe.  It will give them the freedom to move forward, to inquire, to inspire and to impact the world and use technology to make a positive impact on their world.

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