Contrary to my initial thoughts, the number one skill Spencer suggested was knowing when to turn off technology and experience things first hand. His blog post began with a personal experience that resonated strongly within me. Spencer told of a Saturday, when, like many educators, school work was on his agenda. His son wanted to go out and pick oranges for orange juice. After initially explaining to his son that work must come first, he had a change of heart and decided to go pick fruit with his family. He shut down his devices, and as he picked the oranges, the technology and the work became further from his mind. Through this experience, he learned that what he wanted most for his students was for them to experience life. He wanted his students to have big plans and dreams, but he wanted them to know when to shut down all the gadgets, reduce their digital connectivity, and embrace the moment.
As I was reading this article, I felt like Spencer was speaking directly to me! As an educator, I spend so much time researching new and exciting ways to teach things and planning for dynamic learning experiences each day, that I often miss out on other experiences. Reading this made me more aware of the need to “power down” my technology, take a break from my work, and enjoy the moment. In a profession with that is constantly changing, with access to technology resources that are constantly evolving, we must know when to “press pause” and enjoy life experiences and relationships. I am going to take this insight today, turn off my technology and enjoy the rest of this day! I know that, ultimately, this skill will make me more effective in every aspect of my life.
Response to John T. Spencer's "The Most Important 21st Century Skill"