(Excerpted from Yossi Prager’s address to the 2011 graduates of the Azrieli School for Jewish Education)
Children’s immersion in technology raises a host of challenges and opportunities. Most of the discussion about technology and social media focuses on the dangers – the fall of the boundaries that Orthodoxy tries to maintain, the ease of access to pornography, the culture of exhibitionism and more. These are all real challenges. For the classroom, technology poses a challenge or question of a different kind: should the classroom incorporate the smartphone or make sure that it stays in the lobby?
In thinking about the role of technology in the classroom, I want to suggest that the underlying question is whether you view students as consumers or producers. If they are consumers of content, then the only question is how will they most effectively consume the content you provide. No doubt, technology has a role, perhaps limited, to play on this.
But think for a minute about your students as producers, of content, of innovation, of ways of thinking that will move us all forward. In this case, integrating their school challenges with their way of conducting the rest of their lives is the only way to challenge them.