Course 1

Finding the Balance

Those three very important questions of Tim Gascoigne and all the reflections including the reflection of Jett Utecht gave me a lot of reading and thinking during the weekend. So for the readers of this blog, here they are again. They are so important that I decided to repost them. Thanks for Tim asking them.

  • How do we encourage our students to flourish in this world of networks when our organizations are built on outdated theories?
  • As a networked teacher, how do I start encouraging my students to network appropriately?
  • What is my role as their teacher in a world where knowledge and learning is at their fingertips without me standing in front of them?

I would like to add a question:

How do we build/support a healthy balance between the use of technology, the use of their network and the connection/interaction with real people?

An article “Focusing the Digital Brain” in the “Educational Leadership” from September 2009 gives some ideas. Even though we wish the students to be networked learners, let’s not forget the following:

  • Provide Reflection Time
Let’s give the students time to reflect and think about what they did online, no matter whether it was a blog entry, using the iPads, creating something, hanging out/messing around/geeking out, etc. Reflection makes them think and be aware about their choices and action in life.


  • Disarm Them
I don’t like this term disarm so much, but for me it’s about being balanced in classroom. There must be time for both technology use, being connected online and real face to face time. Yes, I still want them to experience to listen to somebody actively, to be focused on a conversation, to make eye contact while speaking and not to get interrupted by a text message or similar.


  • Let Them Teach
If they are using technology why not let them explain each other whatever it is. Often they know better anyways then us as digital immigrants.


  • Build Emotional Literacy
That reminds me of a friend who mentioned the other day that it is so much easier to cancel a meeting with a friend by sending a text message or email. Yes, indeed because we don’t have to deal with possible emotional reactions. Let’s be balanced between online and offline time not to lose the skill to read others emotional reactions and body language. And the same should happen in classroom.


Students digitally conditioned brains are 21st century brains, and teachers must encourage these brains to operate fully in our classroom. We must recognize that relationships and focused attention are key to learning in this century. If we can help students balance the gifts technology brings with these human gifts, they will have everything they need. (page 39, Focusing the Digital Brain)

This quote leads me to my understanding goal of Week 3 of Coetail. Let’s see.

All core content teachers are responsible for authentically embedding technology within their curriculum.




One reply on “Finding the Balance”

Hi Verena,

Thoughtful post. I particularly like your emphasis on reflection time and emotional literacy. People are (rightfully, I suppose) concerned about the cruelty on the Internet that comes with the anonymity of the Internet. Whether we want to or not, part of our job is to teach kids how to be good human beings, whether that is online or face to face.

It’s been shared a lot, but Common Sense Media’s Educator Resources are great for supporting teachers with digital citizenship and Internet safety.

Thanks for sharing,


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