Competing with the Personal Stream

When we live in a connected world we have a personal stream of information that is comforting to us. Take this COETAIL participant for example who details his wonderful Sunday immersed in his personal information stream. 

I’m sure many of us have been there….relaxing on the couch yet totally immersed in information…information that we want because it’s relevant to us at that time and we’ve chosen that particular information.

IMG 0634
Is he really alone?

Now think of our students with their iPhones, Blackberries, iPods, Laptops, PlayStation 3s, and every other device that they interact with. All of these devices allow them to create and tap into their personal stream of information. A stream that they have created be it friends, news, updates, or status. They’ve decided who they want to connect to, and who they want to learn from. 

Then they go to school, they walk into classrooms and the door closing behind them signals a disconnect from the personal stream…you see their heads go down, their body language shows they’ve switched off and for the next 90 minutes they sit there listening to you talk about your information, not theirs.

You can be the most dynamic teacher in your school but how do you compete with a personal information stream that is waiting just beyond the door of the classroom? A stream that everyone knows is waiting there to be tapped into again. 

I think of the conferences I’ve been at where participants….mostly teachers….get frustrated when the Internet connection goes down…why…because they’re disconnected from their own personal stream and that’s just unacceptable at a conference….otherwise known as their classroom.

Yet we ask kids to do it everyday and to not complain.

The problem with education is we teachers can not compete with the personal information stream. It’s a battle we will never win. 

So the only option is not to compete with it, but to embrace it, use it, foster it, and acknowledge that it exists.

Once we stop competing against the stream and embrace it, a world of opportunities emerges. A new world full of connections, passions, and possibilities.