Monday, April 23, 2007

The way they grieve

The horrific events at Virginia Tech last week have stunned the world. Senseless. Unimaginable. Inconcievable loss. But I keep finding myself in a different plane of thoughts, separate from my personal feelings of grief for the families, students, and friends who are trying to survive this tragedy. Maybe it is because I've been trying so much lately to investigate the possible uses of web 2.0 tools and other technologies in the classroom.

I am truly amazed at the way this college generation is dealing with their emotions. In a CNN article from the 18th:

There are now more than 200 groups related to the tragedy on alone. Some have only a handful of members; others have thousands. One group, "April 16, 2007," had more than 28,000 members as of Tuesday afternoon.

These students, and others around the world, learned of the massacre, got in touch with family and friends to let them know they were safe, shared their grief, and have begun the healing process all with the use of technology.

Pictures, videos, instant messaging, facebook, myspace, message boards, digg, maps, online news portals, websites. Ways to communicate, to network, to mourn.

And while I am continually amazed, I am certain that for these students it was natural.

I've noticed too that they seem to also value the human touch and face-to-face interactions. They don't exist completely online. But, they each find the balance.

So, as I search the internet for some of these pictures, memorial groups, and news articles, I'm reminded that our younger generation is moving on, taking the technology tools and using them the way that fits their lives and their needs, with or without us. It's time for those of us in education to pay attention and listen to them.

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