Having taught for almost 14 years, I can prove that teachers can captivate, engage, and even revolutionize, positively, the souls of young people with little or no technology use at all, and without needing to transform education into cool and trendy edutainment. Among my most successful teaching strategies utilizes the ancient Socratic question - answer method, and uses, or needs to use, little technology. The only requirement is a brain.
I love the wonderful things technology can do just as much as anyone, and when appropriate I use it in the classroom. But just because a technology or trend is new and popular does not mean it is good of itself, nor that schools and teachers should accommodate it. Conversely, just because something is old doesn't mean it's bad or outdated for teaching methods.
Now let me say something even more dangerous. I do not think that education in America should primarily be about meeting the needs of the market (to keep America strong and on top of the world, which is what I keep hearing from politicians and the business community), or accommodating to youth trends as the way (we are told) to educate them most effectively.
I concede that education should prepare young people to succeed in a world constantly being changed by technology and market trends. When certain jobs are doomed in America and shipped overseas, it only makes sense that young people know this and seek skills appropriate to those changes.
But a central feature of education should be similar to what the ancient Greeks thought of as soulcraft: the development of people who know the world in something approaching accuracy, who hold a worldview in something approaching honesty, and live by an inward character in something approaching charity.
My concern in education is that our culture is largely not conducive to education as soulcraft (unless there are conscious efforts to do otherwise). Education as soulcraft is, I would argue, even more important than trends adaptation or being technically savvy. What good is education that makes a person who knows all about what's cool and may even create the next technological or cultural phenomenon, but functions as if he/she has no knowledge the golden rule?
Norman Rockwell, "The Law Student." What I find interesting in Rockwell's rendition of a law student, are the pictures that surround the humble study space: Abraham Lincoln. This indicates that becoming a lawyer was, for this young person, more than about the lucrative living to be made. It was about truth, justice, and liberty. It was about serving not just self but others. Whatever you think about Lincoln, it is the motivating idea that I am trying to point out here. Here we see in one picture, what I mean by education as soulcraft.
Believe me, I've read those who argue that schools should eschew attempts at education as soulcraft. And yes, I am well aware that every generation complains about where the current generation is headed. I even see some merit to arguments that amount to "When in Rome..." But the Roman Empire is no longer around, and the results we are seeing from current trends don't appear too promising.
I'm reminded of the old definition of insanity (attributed to Einstein): namely, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.