On my drive down to the Jersey shore for the 4th of July weekend, I split my time listening to Pandora and a podcast by The Brilliant Idiots, Charlamagne Tha God and Andrew Schulz. This particular episode was recommended to me for its interview with Malcolm Gladwell but I never got that far. I was fascinated with their conversation about a recent Kanye West concert they attended. It wasn’t the talk about the show that got me hooked but Andrew’s metaphor equating the concert to vanilla ice cream. In his opinion, it was a solid performance but there were little things that could have been done to improve the show. “You don’t change the base flavor – it is simple and perfect. I think vanilla ice cream can be improved upon by just adding sprinkles.”
This got me thinking about teaching and tech-enhanced classrooms. As teachers become more tech savvy we are seeing more students sitting in front of devices. In many cases, the tech is being prioritized over the content being taught and the standards in which the content is grounded in. I must admit that I have been guilty of this myself. Too often we are dazzled by the newest tech tool and can’t wait to use it with your students so you find a way to make the technology fit. Although this is not the best way to go about enhancing your lessons with technology I do applaud those teachers who are at least jumping in and giving some tech a try.
With my recent move back to the elementary level, I have found myself going back to basics. Sometimes pencil, paper, and a little conversation are all that is needed. The use of technology in our classrooms is here to stay and I agree with Andrew that adding sprinkles to vanilla ice cream keeps the kids coming back for another scoop. Technology definitely engages students but good teaching is good teaching. It’s okay to reach for some good old-fashioned vanilla ice cream (hold the sprinkles) once in awhile.