All they have is a textbook. And it's bringing me down.
I'm bummed about students only having textbooks to use during class. You see, once you have students capable of harnessing the power of the internet rather than just one one textbook, you realize that just bringing a textbook to class places limits on students. It limits them to one set of ideas, one way of information presentation, one set of facts in which they place all their faith. Limiting students to a text installs the "there is only one right answer and it is in this textbook" virus in students. From what I've seen so far (especially in my honors class), even though they may have access to the internet outside of class, bringing just a text makes students think that answers from the textbook are the ones the teacher wants, and if they repeat the book then that answer should be good enough.
I don't want my students to settle for good enough.
Just having a textbook for students also limits the amount of opportunities for students to synthesize multiple sources of information, making meaning from the integration of ideas. Sure, I can have students do that on paper, selecting a few sources for them to read and then synthesize. I could take them to the library and have them select from sources there. However, I found it more meaningful when students could practice needed skills such as being able to search the internet for sources, evaluate the credibility of those sources, collaboratively read and annotate those sources using web tools, and then generating their own understandings, showing what they understand using technology.
I know that some of those skills can be practiced without technology, and I plan to do that in my non-1:1 classroom this year. But having seen what thinking students can do when they have access to technology, I can't help but think of what my students won't be able to do once they are set loose into the technological world into which they will graduate. I can't help but think about the needed technological communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills they won't have because they just had a textbook.
I can't help but think about how our students will already be behind from the moment they graduate. That's what's giving me the blues at the moment. And the only cure is to try my best to help them, as their teacher, starting now.