Today I watched the Ted Talk Extracurricular Empowerment. In the talk, the speaker discusses the story of a Scottish girl named Martha who made a blog about her school lunches and succeeded in changing the quality of the Scottish school lunches. It was a great story, because it showed how a young girl could use the internet to make real change. She also used her internet fame to fund a program to feed starving children in the developing world. It really illustrated how people can use the world’s resources as long as they can get attention online. Some people use this power to improve food for children, others use it to buy a Chipotle burrito. Whether for good, or ill, or simply silly, the internet can enable people to make things happen.
The point of the talk was that we should not be scared of allowing our students and children to use technology, because we don’t know what they could achieve. This is true, and we should be careful not to stifle creativity, but on the other hand kids can get into a lot of trouble online. Besides cyber bullying and all manner of disturbing material available on the internet, kids can also just waste a lot of time online. We need to strike a balance; one where we can allow students room to create and be activists, but where we are careful to help them avoid danger or sloth because of the internet.
This is once again a lesson in moderation. We have to allow our students the freedom of creativity, but we also have to be careful to keep the students from using the internet as a crutch.