I have been reading and writing about a number of non-fiction books lately that focus on the dangers of technology. This one is very school focused. Bauerlein feels that the immediacy and intimacy of social-networking sites has seduced kids and that their Internet focus makes what they study in school seem boring.
I'm not sure that the boring school versus engaging outside world comparison hasn't been around since schools began. But he thinks that because what we teach isn't happening in this moment and because it's not about (or seemingly relevant) to them and their friends, that school content loses.
I think he is right in saying that students more often use the Net today as a way to communicate and connect than as a learning tool. That is certainly more true now in Web 2.0 than it was in the early days of student Net use.
Besides teaching and writing, Bauerlein has also directed the office of research and analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts.
In a Teaching & Learning Q&A, Bauerlein answered the question, "So what role (if any) should technology play in education?" by saying in part:
"...insert a few assignments now and then that prohibit the use of (technology). Have them do research that uses microfilm and archives, no Google. Have them spend 15 minutes each morning reading a print newspaper, not a news web page. The goal isn't to dispel technology, but just to preserve a small but critical mass of non-technological learning and inquiring.
For one hour after dinner, for instance, everybody reads (parents have to model this themselves - they can't just say, "Go to your room and read a book".) In the morning over breakfast, they might wheel a TV into the room and have the kids watch C-Span or some other serious programming."
Research without technology. A reading hour. Forced C-Span viewing. Useful solutions?