Jon Lackman: Let’s help students find right path through high-speed world

Last modified: Monday, August 25, 2014
To the editor:

In a recent article about Northampton schools taking “more steps into high tech,” the city’s district technology director, Angelo Rota said, “The world is working at that high rate of speed, so we need to give our kids exposure to that. Is that good or bad? I don’t know, that’s just the way it is.”

I find that so disturbing, on so many levels. Should our schools renounce their guiding role and simply accept the culture — in this case, its glorification of technology? Have they considered whether this tech is an expensive distraction, and perhaps even an impediment to learning? Also, what about the culture’s “high rate of speed”? Should we swallow that, too, in the unfounded hope this will get our children better jobs? Is that the only point of education?

And is hyperspeed truly helpful at work, or is it counterproductive? I encourage you to read Carl Honoré’s book “In Praise of Slow” or watch his TED talk. Technology and speed pervade every other aspect of our children’s lives. There’s no need for us to overdo it in the classroom.

Jon Lackman