An Optimistic Outlook On The Infiltration Of Technology Into Our Lives

I have two books I am trying to cram in during the vacation as I prepare for our next Parent Technology Night on Tuesday January 14. The topic - "Parenting in the Digital Age" - is a difficult for so many of us because we cannot simply revert to some of the tactics that our own parents used due to the fact that all of this technology simply did not exist. Whenever I am involved in conversations surrounding technology and our children, the only thing that rubs me the wrong way is responding to people who want to make this something that is either good or bad. The fact of the matter is that it can be either, depending on the motivations of the person utilizing the technology.

My first book recommendation for those who are techno-skeptics (and everyone else for that matter) is Clive Thompson'sSmarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds For The Better. I wrote a bit yesterday about the need for us to reinforce with our children the importance of not partaking in the streams of negativity that can easily be found online. Thompson points to examples throughout this book of how the internet is being used positively to further our intelligence both individually and collectively.

"At their best, today's digital tools help us see more, retain more, communicate more. At their worst, they leave us prey to the manipulation of the toolmakers. But on balance, I'd argue, what is happening is deeply positive." Clive Thompson

Stay tuned for some more on Thompson's book and some thoughts on the second book I am reading, The App Generationby Howard Gardner and Katie Davis.

cross-posted at

Patrick Larkin is the Assistant Superintendent for Learning of Burlington Public Schools in Burlington, MA and the former principal of Burlington High. He blogs about education at