Candy Crush School
Role Daddy, Darin Feldman weighs in on the latest classes he'd like to propose for New York Schools...
New York City will be lifting the ban on students bringing cell phones to school! Its a tremendous victory for the 5 boroughs, Mayor De Blasio and for kids and parents in the region. The significance of such a move, especially by New York city, can't be understated. Given the timing, I thought it would be a good idea for all communities to look at their school systems and see how educators can make mobile devices more meaningful and functional tools in our children's lives. Our country's economic fortunes start and finish with the investment we make in education, making it imperative for us to embrace technology and figure out how we can make our children more productive with it. While I have compiled a list of classes that I believe should be taught for students here in New Rochelle, they in no way are meant to be a "common core" curriculum for schools outside the area. I firmly believe that the technology needs differ by region and that the classes to be taught should be decided at the local level. With that being said, here is the list of classes I am proposing.
1) Texting Lingo 101 - I think we would all agree that its very difficult to teach and equally challenging to learn if we are not coming at it using the same language. Acronyms can be very frustrating to learn at first, especially if not used or taken in the right context. I believe my mother would have benefitted tremendously from such a class just knowing that LOL more often means "laugh out loud" instead of "lots of love". It was always so hard for me to understand why my mom always ended a text conversation with me by laughing out loud. But she wasn't laughing, she just wanted to tell me she loved me.
2) Group Setting Socialization and Conversation - When kids are with their friends just talking and hanging out, its important that not all of their attention be given just to the people present. They probably have many other friends and more likely, just acquaintances that are not with them at that given moment. These students need to be taught the finer nuances of acting like you are part of a conversation, but really just engaging in text talk, snap chats or instagramming with other people that are no where in sight.
3) Dating 101 and Breaking Up - The days of working up the nerve to ask someone out on a date, face to face are long over. No one should have to deal with that anxiety when the phone can do the trick. Students need to learn at what point during a text conversation it's appropriate to ask a person out on a date. How many exchanges should there be? What happens if the person doesn't text back right away? How long should the initiator wait for a response before resending that text? The closing part of the course should deal with the inevitable break up. I don't imagine this portion of the class will take too long if the students can learn the acronym INYIM. (Its Not You, Its Me) I failed to mention that this course should only be taken by students that took the Group Setting Socialization and Conversation class. Being able to look at your phone while being out with your date is a critical skill that may not guarantee a long lasting relationship, but will certainly boost the odds.
4) Driving While Blindfolded - Asking teens not to text while driving is just an unrealistic exercise in futility. Instead of making it illegal to text while driving, we should equip them with the skills needed to do both simultaneously. Yes, distracted driving is tantamount to driving while blindfolded. So then why aren't kids just being taught to drive with blindfolds for certain increments of time? The more our kids can learn to rely on their other senses besides vision while driving, the safer our roads will be for all.
5) Learning how to Tweet - This one is a no brainer. Parents want to be involved in the education of their children. They should have the ability to be part of it in real time. There is no reason to wait until after school to find out how a kid did in class. All classroom activity, by both the teachers and the students, should be recorded via Twitter. Teachers will tweet their questions to the class and pupils can tweet their responses. One basic 30 minute prep class for all students on how to use Twitter on their mobile device is all it takes at the beginning of each school year. Tweets from parents during class should be encouraged, but not required.
6) Candy Crush - The idea of schools still requiring some form of physical education in a student's curriculum seem a bit archaic given the technology we have today to help occupy their time. More importantly, maintaining gymnasiums and fields is a costly undertaking for all schools. Given that very few students ever become professional athletes, we would probably be better off leaving physical activity of students to the private sector. Those periods of time that are now freed up by the elimination of gym should be used for classes on Candy Crush and other popular mobile device games that teach kids to think on their own and have recreational fun on their own when friends aren't around.
We have really come so far with technology. Its about time that our schools start using that technology to prepare our children for the future. I would hate to think what the consequences might be otherwise.