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Helping Students Live One Life, Instead of Two.

posted Jul 21, 2016, 6:55 PM by Sam Gibson   [ updated Jul 21, 2016, 7:07 PM ]

Guest Post by Dr. Jason Ohler


Our current technological trajectory promises unfathomable, rollercoaster innovation with no braking system. Our challenge is to find ways to teach our children how to navigate the rapidly moving digital present, consciously and reflectively, so they can join the revolution that is defining their generation. How we address this challenge depends on how we address this fundamental question about teaching our digital-age children: Should we teach our children as though they have two lives, or one?


The “two lives” perspective says that our students should live a traditional, digitally unplugged life at school and a second, digitally infused life outside school. It says that the digital technology that kids use quite naturally is too expensive, problematic, or distracting to use effectively and responsibly at school. Further, it implies that we needn’t be concerned with making sure the mobile tools of today’s economic and social landscapes are available to them. In short, we will teach our students the way we were taught, using the tools and perspectives we experienced.


In contrast, the “one life” perspective says the opposite, that it is precisely our job as educators to help students live one, integrated life by inviting them to use their technology to learn at school, as well as to use it to explore the world and pursue their interests as they define them. Further, it says that if we want to celebrate a future that views success not only in terms of abundance but also in terms of the innovation, we must make sure student’s have access to today’s tools, as well as the training and perspective needed to use them effectively, creatively and wisely.


Te Aka Toitū has taken up this challenge with a bold mission, namely: “To provide students…with an affordable device, affordable internet connectivity and quality digital teaching so they have the skills to contribute to their communities and the wider world in the future…”


Te Aka Toitū’s mission places the emphasis where it needs to be: not on the technology but on the student. In preparing students for their world so that they can become more productive community members. Because of this, Te Aka Toitū, like its students will enjoy a bright and productive future.



Dr. Jason Ohler is a professor emeritus, speaker, writer, teacher, and student of the future. He is also a lifelong digital humanist who is well known for the passion, insight, and humor he brings to his presentations, projects and publications. He has spent over three decades leading educators, students and community members in the effective, creative and wise use of technology. He is well known for his work in the areas of art the 4th R, creatical thinking, and digital imagination; digital citizenship and living informed, inspired digital lifestyles; and narrative, literacy and technology. He is first and foremost a storyteller, telling tales of the future that are grounded in the past. For more information visit his web site at: www.jasonohlerideas.com.