Provocative Quote

“We would never consider teaching children to read without also teaching them to write. In the same manner we must teach our children not just to read electronic media but also to create digital media themselves.”

–from Ann Bell’s new book Creating Digital Video in Your School


I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on Mrs. Bell’s claim. Please share your response by clicking on the Comments link below.


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Clif Mims is a Christian, husband, father, teacher, cancer warrior, and fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Grizzlies.

32 thoughts on “Provocative Quote”

  1. I shared this quote at our staff meeting. When I stood up and read this quote outloud, chatter filled the room. Among the chatter, my boss, stated” That is something to think about”, Thanks to me, we were sent home with that quote and told to have a paragraph on why we do or do not agree with this statment. This really get your mind to rolling, I know it got ours to working. Thanks for the “Quote”.

  2. I think that Spursfan said it best. As a former educator, K-12 curriculum developer, and eons in educational publishing, companies that are producing educational products are focused on hand-held and Web-based technologies. The problem is that the large, urban districts that have the largest of school age populations don’t have the funding to purchase the technologies needed. What would we do if we were limited to certain hours we could spend on the computer? The same with kids. They need to connect and interact in learning using all types of technology tools.

  3. Good comments all.

    In response to your response to my comment, Clif, I have not listened to Sir Ken’s talk yet, but it looks super interesting and I did download it the day you posted it. I’m looking forward to hearing it because it’s something i think about alot. I just worry that schools are not structured to encourage innovation, even though that is the kind of economy our kids then move into.


  4. One of the main problems schools face in incorporating digital media into the curriculum is the lack of financing. However, in the last few months a multitude of free or inexpensive Web 2.0 tools are now available, so financially strapped schools no longer need to feel as handicapped in incorporating the latest technology into the classroom.

  5. Am I the only person who’s has had his/her thinking on this topice challenged? There have been some good points made here today. I’m going to have to ponder this over the weekend.


    Smile and the whole world smiles with you.

  6. I’d be curious to know what Bob Cooter and Sutton Flynt would have to say on this matter. Perhaps I’ll ask them in class next week and report back to the blog.

  7. In the experiences where I’ve given the students the opportunity to create their own digital media I’ve found that the results are astonishing-similar to those described by bigskyteacher and luigissister.

  8. Wow. You’ve been a busy group while I’ve been away. A lot has happened since I was here earlier today. You’ve all given me more to think about.

  9. It’s been my experience that administrators tend to be even more reserved and cautious on this matter than teachers. They create a whole juggernaught in the process of progress often times.

  10. Just like a predicted this morning the responses to this quote run the entire specturm. Fantastic conversation folks. Let’s keep this going in the future.

  11. Our students are spread out over hundreds of miles of farmland so we are making more and more use of web 2.0 technologies. Things like Moodle, blogs, Skype, wikis, podcasts, and slideshare all bridge the physical distances between class members and reduce the need for daily travel into the physical school building. I’m contiinuously pleased with the students creativity, level of effort and reflection, engagement and depth of understanding when these kinds of activities occur.

  12. Creativity is uberimportant. I’m surprised this even being debated. It’s high time that we let the students use the technology in the classroom. They’re using it outside of school.

  13. I agree with the previous comments. You’ve really hit your stride with the blog, Cliff. Keep up the good work. This is a good blog.

  14. I shared this with some of the other teachers during lunch today. We had a really intersting conversation about it. I also shared the gist of Sir Ken’s lecture about creativity. Overall, those that shared their point of view over lunch think that it is indeed important to teach students to be use and be creative with technology. Many of us were able to recall great experiences in helping children in our classes become “published” authors with their works actually becoming available for checkout in the school library. The motivation, self-esteem, self-belief, confidence, and joy for writing that they gain from these experiences is indescribable. We all believe that it’s likely that similar results could could come from creative activies involving tools and media.

  15. Karl’s presentation just like this discussion is very thought-provoking. There are curious times ahead for us.

  16. I think Rick’s suggestion of students creating all kinds of things is spot on. I also think that p1nklady’s observation that education is lagging progressively further behind the corporate world in the use of tech tools. As far as the immediate learning situation is concerned I don’t think it really hurts. However, what happens when U.S. students graduate and are not even close to being able to using the tools that are being used in the marketplace. Karl Fisch suggests, in Shift Happens, that we’ll be in danger of stiff global competition and massive out-sourcing. I don’t mean to be like the sky is falling but I do think we should have a strong level of concern.

  17. Dr. Mims, you’ve certainly started a hot topic here. Before reading through all the comments I would have jumped on board with the “more technology the better” mentality. However, Johns comments reminded me of all the times that we’ve discussed making good decisions about when and how to use technology with teaching and learning. It’s not ideal to use technology just for the sake of using technology (How many times have we heard Dr. Mims say that), but rather it’s crucial that we use the instructional strategies and activities that move students to the higher levels of understanding (the Bloom’s Verbs worksheets and notes that you gave us are paperclipped inside the front cover of my lesson planner). If we can do that with technology then so be it, but if we can’t then we use what will help them get there.

    See, we do listen, Dr. Mims!!!!!!!!

  18. You took the words right out of my mout p1nklady. Maybe not the words but the point.

  19. This is an interesting topic. I’m going to keep an eye on this one.


    Dance and the whole world dances with you.

  20. I agree that we should proceed in a judicious manner, but I do think we’d be remiss if we don’t begin to latch onto the current educational media and telecommunications tools. My observations make me concerned that the education is progressively lagging further and further behind the business world in technology adoption and implementation.

  21. something’s wrong when i’m sitting in a class and organizing my thoughts about a particular class project into a sweet video-and i’m not talking about the technical aspects being good, i’m taking about the stuff i have to say actually being stellar and blowing the teacher’s mind that i’ve even thought about this thing so deeply-only to have her announce that we have to turn in the project as a research paper and no exceptions.

  22. I’ve been away from the states most of the past 6 years so I am not up-to-date on all the latest gadgets. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not helpless either because I do keep up with this blog. However, while I’m home on furlogough I’m always struck with how involved many people are with keeping current with the latest toys, the most recent news and information, and such. It seems that so many people lose precious time from their lives to these fleeting plastic-cased electronics and mundane information. I’d like to encourage these folks to quit “gathering” so much and look outside of themselves as the important parts of life are passing them by while they are staring at screens and monitors. Now, I need to tie this to Mrs. Bell’s statement. I think that it’s important that we be openminded about embracing new educational media. Had our ancestors not done so we’d still be using stone tablets or maybe even scrolls if we were lucky. I just think that we have to make sure that there is a balance between the role the media plays and that it isn’t overvalued.

  23. Pingback: Clif's Notes
  24. Thanks for everyone’s comments so far. This is a fun discussion.



    In regards to your statement, “They just need to create more than acquire, and that includes electronic media. I think this is the great disservice to our students that we don’t do this more than we do. Our economy now is a creative economy and creativity and innovation are rewarded. So why don’t we teach our students this in school??” Did you happen to watch the video from yesterday’s post? Your comment hits close to the heart of Sir Ken Robinson’s address.

  25. I like the idea in general. I don’t know if students need to always be creating just electronic media, but I think in general students need to be creating more of everything they are expected to learn. They need to create more knowledge, more theory (even if it’s just developing theories because they are students), more artifacts, more ideas, more experiments, more processes. They just need to create more than acquire, and that includes electronic media. I think this is the great disservice to our students that we don’t do this more than we do. Our economy now is a creative economy and creativity and innovation are rewarded. So why don’t we teach our students this in school?

  26. Clif,

    I’ve been a fan of your blog pretty much since you began it. I’ve especially enjoyed your 4 most recent posts. I’ve wanted to reply to each of them, but things are chaotic here with the beginning of the school year. Perhaps I’ll get around to commenting on the other 3 soon, but I have to comment on this post right now because it has gotten my juices flowing-and that’s not an easy thing to do on a Friday afternoon. I think Bell’s point is one that we can’t loose sight of. The younger generations are truly digital natives and use all kinds of tools without even thinking twice about it. For many of them using an iPod, PDA, social technologies, IM, digital video and audio is jusst as commonplace to them as the use of cassette tapes was to those of us a bit older. They communicate with each other in ways that many of use don’t understand and not even aware of. Spend a bit of time browing files at and and other similar sites and you’ll be shocked by what they are doing, thinking about, sharing and “discussing” through the use of digital tools. These and other communications strategies are as normal to them as the telephone is to us. It’s unfortunate that they often sit in classes where they are cut off from these tools which are a normal part of their live outside of school. I’m not sure that I’ve made my point as obvious as I’d like, but it’s Friday and I’m ready to go home.

  27. As I’ve mentioned previously my students and I use podcasts, video, & more. I’m what they call an “early adopter” when it comes to new tech tools. As you frequently encourage your students and readers of this blog to do, Dr. Mims, I make sure that I don’t use a new technology to achieve a low-level instructional objective when I could more easily use an older tool to achieve a higher-level instructional objective. Teachers have to make sure that the instruction is driven by learning and not by technology. In theory I agree with Ann’s point. However, in practice I do not think this is yet a realistic expectation for all teachers. With my skill set and comfort level I try to practice this idea in my classroom. However, I’d be concerned that those without the skills and confidence to make effective use of technology’s full educational potential would likely do so at the expense of instruction as lower-level learning objectives are more likely to be used by these teachers.

    Of course, I learned that from you Dr. Mims. I’ve heard you say that dozens of times.

  28. You’re right. This is a provocative statement. For those that are reluctant to bring technology into their instruction it may provoke feelings of fear, resistance, or even some level of anger. For those that are more technically inclined this quote might provoke feelings of hope, excitement, or even frustration that this argument is still being debated. I fall into the latter group.

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