‘Smart phones are dangerous, like marriage and music and fine cuisine – or anything else that become an idol. They are also very useful, like guns and razor blades and medication – or lots of other things that can ruin your life . . .’
These are the first few lines of a book I read during the Christmas holidays, 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You, by Tony Reinke.
Tony is a Christian writer and self professed “iPhone addict and techno junkie”. Educated in business, journalism and liberal arts, Tony takes the reader through a Biblical worldview of the multitude of areas of life that technology and specifically smart phones impact and shape our lives.
I found this read both informative and challenging, both personally and as the Principal of a school, which strives to use, and to teach our students to use technology wisely and safely. Our staff are working to embed technology into lessons so that they can be more engaging and effective. We have entered the first year of our BYOD for Learning program with students in Years 5, 7 and 11 being required to bring a device to school for their everyday lessons. As a school, we cannot hide that technology can and must be an integral aspect of 21st Century learning.
What I enjoyed about Tony’s book was that it provides a thoughtful analysis of the changes that digital technology brings to our society, homes and classrooms. It is not a book of doom and gloom, rather, he examines and makes clear the pitfalls, and suggests approaches to limit them. In essence, he argues that digital technology is a gift of God but we must be alert to and resist the danger of letting this gift become our master.
Here are the 12 ways Tony Reinke has identified and I’ve added a brief summary:
So what does this mean for a school committed to equipping our students to use technology well?
We are taking steps to adopt and embed the eSmart framework for all our students as they utilise technology. This framework is an extensive program that will give students a wide set of skills to know and understand how to use technology well.
We are launching the start of this program with an evening information seminar on Thursday the 22nd February. We are hosting this evening with Susan McClean, a highly experienced communicator and expert on cyber safety for schools and parents. I ask you to seriously consider my invitation to attend this evening. Not only as it will be a rare opportunity to hear such a high profile speaker at William Carey but because it is vital that the school and families partner in guiding our students, your children, in the development of healthy practices as safe and wise users of digital technology.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)