Monday, November 20, 2006

Indigo Children

From "Prairie Fire" by Eric Konigsberg:

Patti told me that she thought Brandenn might have been an 'Indigo Child,' a concept that she learned about after his death, and that was described in a book by the New Age authors Lee Carroll and Jan Tober. 'The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived' includes essays by psychologists and doctors, and suggests that a new breed of children born in recent decades possess not only great cognitive ability but supernatural insight. While these children are often misdiagnosed as having attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder, they may actually be old souls re-incarnated. Linda Silverman told Patti she believed that Brandenn was spiritually gifted, and that his mission to assist others in this lifetime may have been fulfilled by his death.

This excerpt is full of buzz words that are not related to what I'm thinking about or why I clipped the paragraph. Words like: "" Instead, I see a connection to current issues of technology and schools, especially as my school, Punahou, starts a high school one-to-one laptop program next school year. Technology has made virtually any piece of information available in an instant. In schools, delivering information is obsolete. It's on the internet somewhere. Curriculum design has adapted to focus on the discernment of information.

A few steps back first. When a person, student or not, makes a discovery/learns some new set of information, there's emotion, which used to be shared with another person, peer, teacher. More and more--this happens to me with this blog, for example--our discoveries and emotions are shared with the screen that helps us make them, less and less with the people. There's an emotional connection not being made.

The other issue of emotion goes back to the access of information. All of a sudden, anybody can get any information. As a teacher, I closely monitor the emotional and intellectual "readiness" of my students, putting together, according to their needs, readings and information as appropriate. Afterall, I was a major source of their information. Now, not so. It reminds of the time I watched Halloween without my parents' permission. I had debilitating nightmares for two weeks and still remember their effects today.

Digital natives will have human emotions. What can schools do to improve the interface? I'm reminded of what Roger Taylor said at a BER conference a few years back, something like: there's nothing worse than a highly-gifted student with no ethics. Although I think "emotion" is somewhat interchangeable with "ethics."

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