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Adam Hartley 

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. — Benjamin Franklin

By Adam Hartley

Fenton Area Public Schools superintendent

During the COVID-19 lockdown, our kitchen sink needed to be repaired.  Under the stay-at-home order, there was no way I was going to get a plumber to my house.  I was faced with a dilemma, continue to go without a kitchen sink or fix it myself.  After mustering up enough courage to grab the needed tools, I did what many people would have done in this situation; I went to YouTube and searched “How to fix a kitchen sink.”

 After watching a handful of videos, the sink was fixed.  Thinking, “How hard was that,” I went to get a drink of water and to no one’s surprise, the faucet did not work properly. Technology helped, but the learning process was altered by not having another human being there showing me how to solve the problem.

 Over the past few months, I have come to realize two things are needed when it comes to learning, technology and true human interaction.  In today’s ever-changing world, the argument of technology vs. human interaction is no longer valid. Being forced into an online platform in March, and knowing that technology will play a critical role in August and beyond, schools will be focused on not separating technology and human interaction but marrying the two.  

 Technology helped me fix my kitchen sink well enough to get by until a plumber could come over.  However, without an expert teaching me face to face, asking critical questions, guiding me through the steps and reminding me to learn from my mistakes and to try again, I will never have the skillset to fix another person’s sink.  For us to truly learn, both technology and human interaction is needed.

 We miss our staff and we miss our students.

 We are excited for when the time comes when we can provide both technical strategies in teaching concepts and a time when we can build on the personal relationships, we have known for so many years. The future is here and both technology and relationships will play a critical part in teaching and learning.

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