If I Was A Dog, I’d Be Wagging My Tail Right Now

In July of 2006, I embarked upon a major, like once-in-a-lifetime type major adventure…I performed on an Armed Forces Entertainment tour of the Middle East to entertain our troops.  And let me say again, it was truly an honor to bring a little “home” to the men and women fighting to protect our freedoms.

Upon my return, I wrote the following memoir/chronicle/article type piece,  If I Was A Dog, I’d Be Wagging My Tail Right Now, about my adventure.  I recently came across the piece while reading through some old stuff I had written and thought others might enjoy reading the entire piece.  I say entire piece because The Fort Worth Business Press provided me with my own personal 15 minutes of fame by publishing a portion, complete with a picture of me and my guitar on the cover of the November 6, 2006 issue.  You can still see the FW Business Press article here.

If I Was A Dog, I’d Be Wagging My Tail Right Now

Darryl Loy

Director of Operations

Fort Worth Academy

Saturday lunch outings have become a bit of a family tradition for the Loys.  A short time ago, my family and I went out on a Saturday lunch excursion to a 1950’s style diner near our home.  Both of my sons enjoy our Saturday lunches but my youngest son, who is 7, simply enjoys anything involving food.  This particular Saturday, he ordered a big juicy burger, lots of fries and a big Dr. Pepper.  A short time later, the waitress brought his meal and laid it before him.  He took a minute, soaked it in visually then sat back in his seat and said, “If I was a dog, I’d be wagging my tail right now.”  Laughter erupted around the table.  His wit has never ceased to amaze me.  But more than his wit this time was his ability to verbally express his sheer sense of excitement about the savory opportunity that lay before him.

No doubt our two black labs at home were the inspiration for my son’s verbal prowess.  I know when the boys burst into the backyard, stand clear of the dog’s tails.  They wag so furiously they are a mere blur and can cause serious bodily injury if contact is made.  Now take a moment and picture a dog that is frantically wagging his tail.  What is he thinking?  To me, it is the perfect expression of excitement, anticipation and even a wee bit of reservation all rolled into one canine idiom.  That is the sense of pleasure my son so appropriately communicated at the diner that day while staring at the feast set before him.  And quite honestly, that’s the way he approaches many of the things he encounters in a day.  Shouldn’t we all?  He has an enormous comfort zone he operates within while I often struggle with pushing out the boundaries of my comfort zone…picture the infamous mime trapped inside the invisible box.

In March of this year, I received a very unusual phone call that would prove to push the boundaries of my comfort zone.  I am one of those very fortunate individuals who have a wonderful “day job”.  I truly can’t wait to get to the office each day.  I am blessed with a group of co-workers who share my love for the job and a kindred sense of purpose in our individual roles at Fort Worth Academy.  I am also one of those individuals that have a “night job” that is equally as enjoyable but more than that, it is extremely therapeutic.  In addition to being Director of Operations for “The Premier K-8 School in Fort Worth”1, I am a musician.  My unusual phone call was from a singer friend in Nashville and was related, obviously, to my night job.  The call went something like this:

Judi:  Hey Darryl, what are you doing this summer?

Darryl:  Not much, usual family vacation to Florida probably…why?

Judi:  Want to go on an 8 country USO tour through the Middle East and Mediterranean with me and 5 other guys including your good friend Glen to entertain the troops?

Darryl:  Yes.

This is the point where I usually wake up because most of the time these kinds of conversations are merely dreams.  You see, when you are a musician, regardless of where you are on the talent curve, you want to “go on the road” at some point during your career. Every musician dreams of getting on the tour bus, having “roadies” and “groupies” and playing in front of thousands of screaming fans… trust me, I know this.  Some give this dream up in short order, a huge mistake in my opinion.  Others, like one 44-year-old bass guitar player who shall remain nameless, refuse to give up the dream…ever.

To date, I have been fortunate enough to play a few large venues, have roadies that are responsible for all my gear and yes, even played in bands that had groupies.  Though not the stereotypical groupies like in the movies, but the guys who claim to be musicians too, want to buy you a drink and talk about what kind of strings you use on your guitar, ask what your favorite amplifier is or, better yet, point out that you didn’t play that part in the second verse of that last song correctly.  But the one major dream aspect that had escaped me was the whole “going on the road” thing.  A real “tour”.  And here it was.  Not a dream this time.  This one was real.   When I hung up the phone, immediately my son’s lunchtime quip came to mind and it was totally appropriate for me as well!  I was filled with those same feelings.  If I was a dog, my tail would be wagging like there was no tomorrow!

Here were the details of the proposed tour:

8 shows in 7 countries

24 commercial flights in 18 days with layovers in 2 additional countries

28 pieces of excess baggage to accommodate our sound gear

Venues are:

US Embassy, Ankara Turkey

US Embassy, Amman Jordan

US Embassy, Cairo Egypt

Air Force Base, Souda Bay Crete

Navy Base, Sigonella Sicily

RAF Base, Akrotiri Cyprus

Air Force Base, Izmir Turkey

UN/Italian/US Air Base, Aviano Italy

Excitement – WOW!!!  OFF THE CHAIN!!!  A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!  Places to go, people and things to see, experiences that some people will go their entire lives and never experience.  The Pyramids.  The Sphinx.  The Mediterranean Sea.

Anticipation – What am I going to see?  How will the mental images I have, what I think these places should look like, compare to the real thing when I get there?  Who will I see?  Who will see me?  What will I eat?  Will there be Dr. Pepper?

Reservation – I’ve been outside the continental United States exactly twice, and just to Mexico, never outside North America.  Now I’m going to be thousands of miles from home, across the Atlantic Ocean, for over two weeks.  I probably can’t even call home when I want much less actually get home in a reasonable amount of time.  And there is a 6 hour layover in, of all places on the planet, the International Airport in Beirut Lebanon.  If you look up unstable environments in the dictionary, you’ll find a map of the Middle East.  Many Middle East Countries aren’t…how can I put this…terribly fond of Americans.  While I may have traces of a Native American heritage in my lineage, when you look at me, there is no mistaking my nationality.  I will in no way blend in.  Guns, bombs, missiles and military presence are ways of life over there, even in the American-friendly countries we will be visiting.

But wait.  As exciting as this opportunity is, it is so far outside my comfort zone, I can’t even see it.  And in addition to the logistical reservations associated with this opportunity, there was another aspect of the trip that would push me outside my comfort zone.  It was the personal relationships component.  While I knew two of my fellow band members very well, one I’ve known for almost 20 years, the three other members of the band I had not met previously.  I was facing a situation with these new people which would require me to effectively live with them 24 hours a day for the next two and a half weeks.  Now people who know me often describe me as quiet, reserved and even shy.  Admittedly I’m not outgoing and I’m not one of those folks who never met a stranger.  But I realize my challenges in this area and today I purposely force myself to talk with people when I’m in a situation where I don’t know anyone.  But it wasn’t always that way.  Allow me to digress for a moment.

When I was in 4th grade, my mother dropped me off for the first day of school.  It was the same school I had attended since 1st grade and we only lived about 4 or 5 blocks from school but my mother insisted on driving me.  I got out of the car, we said our goodbyes and she turned the car around and headed home…or so I thought.  As I walked toward the school, I had a bright idea; I could avoid this entire uncomfortable experience by just continuing to walk.  I would just keep walking on down the sidewalk and down the street away from the school, no real agenda, just no desire to be thrown into a situation with a new teacher and other new people.  I got about two blocks from the school and things were going great, on my own with that school and all those unpleasant new things behind me.  But as I continued up the street, imagine who I saw driving up toward me?  Yes.  My mother.  She had somehow figured me out and circled the block instead of going home.  How in the world did she see through me like that?  I got in the car and she asked where I was going.  I’m sure I tried to come up with a reasonable response but I still got the talk about having to be in school and ultimately I went on in that day.

I don’t recall any other issues that year, but another episode occurred the next school year.  A month or so into my 5th grade year, my father’s job was transferred to Houston Texas.  This was far worse than my 4th grade experience.  Now I was being thrown into an even more drastic scenario for someone whose comfort zone was about 1 foot square.  Not only a new teacher and a few new students, it was now all new students, all new teachers, all new administrators, all new buildings and even home was now completely different.  My mother dropped me off that first day and I, maybe remembering the 4th grade first day, went on into the school and to my first class.  But I did NOT want to be there.  As I was sitting there stewing over my situation, I had a brainstorm; I devised a fool-proof plan for getting out of there.  I would fake an illness.  No one wants a sick kid in their class, right?  So I began working the plan.  Lots of “Teacher, my stomach hurts”…”Teacher, can I go to the bathroom, I don’t feel so good”…”Teacher, my head really hurts, what does a brain aneurism feel like?”  Remember, I was only 10 years old.  Finally the teacher decided to send me to the nurse’s office and I thought I was home free, literally and figuratively.  The nurse checked me out then stepped out of the office and the counselor met her in the hall.  I heard their entire conversation.  The counselor informed the nurse that my mother had told her that I would do this and under no circumstance was I to be sent home.  Once again, out-witted by my mother’s insight into my very being.

Back to present day.  I responded “Yes” to this tour opportunity initially out of sheer tail-wagging excitement and to be able check the box next to “Has Been On Tour.”  However, I soon found myself on a rollercoaster ride of “tail-wagging” highs to “gut-check reality, can’t even see my comfort zone from here” lows.  Going to Cairo Egypt is not like going to Lubbock Texas.  And would I get along with these new band members?  This had all the elements of my 5th grade trauma multiplied by, oh, a billion!  But over the years, I’ve come to realize there are basically two ways to live your life.  LifeWay One, live inside your comfort zone 24/7.  It’s safe and secure and often a very productive and satisfying way of life.  I should know; I’ve spent the much of my life inside my “zone”.  I have friends, however, that do not make one step in life if they have not yet calculated and plotted all the statistically probable outcomes of that step and have no less than 10 alternate paths planned for step number two.  I don’t think I’m that far out there.

LifeWay Two is to step outside your comfort zone.  True tail-wagging experiences.  I’m not suggesting you live outside your comfort zone, that would actually reverse the meaning and you’d have to dial your life back a notch to live outside your zone.  I know a few people like this too.  But what I do mean is to occasionally take, or make, opportunities to experience things that might not present themselves to you on a regular basis.  You can see from my discussion of the various tail-wagging feelings I’ve listed above, my feeling of reservation far exceeds the other more positive feelings.  I have a family, two young sons and a wife that depend on me, or so I’d like to think.  Is this trip too risky?  Is it too far outside my comfort zone?  Clearly it is outside my zone but ultimately I decide not too far outside.  I go back to the fact that it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  So I jump in, with both feet planted firmly outside my comfort zone and away I go.

This trip, with additional days for rehearsals in Nashville and a “day job” related conference in Memphis upon my return meant I would be away from home for just less than a month.  I had many things to get in order before leaving for such a long time but we would not depart until the end of June so I had over 3 months to prepare and to think about the trip.  To say I didn’t experience the proverbial second thoughts would be an untruth.  In fact, the closer I got to the departure date, the more I had to fight off those feelings of reservation.  I continually reminded myself of the fantastic opportunity this was and how I might just become a better person as a result of some of the anticipated experiences.  I had no idea then how the trip would in-fact change me.

“D”eparture day loomed.  A few weeks out, I began to feel as though this tour was like a freight train barreling down on me as I stood beside the track.  I occasionally wanted to opt for LifeWay One and just jump out of the way of the speeding train and watch it go on by.  Maybe I could fake another illness.  What does a brain aneurism feel like anyway?  No tail-wagging in that option but no stretching of the comfort zone either.  In reality however, this train had LifeWay Two written all over it and the only option I had was to jump on, hold on and make the absolute most of this opportunity I could, tail wagging the whole way.

Departure day one arrived.  I rode with my longtime friend, traveling by truck from Fort Worth to Nashville to facilitate the transportation of our gear.  Painless.  Departure day two arrived but our first flight was still stateside, from Nashville to Detroit.  Relatively painless.  The first LifeWay Two experience for me was the flight from Detroit to Frankfurt Germany.  4,128 miles in the air from Detroit to Frankfurt traveling at an average of 600 miles an hour at an altitude of over 38,000 feet for almost 8 hours.  Not painless at all.  Up to the point we landed in Frankfurt, I was continuously and consciously suppressing the reservation feeling and focusing on the experiences that lay just days ahead of me.

And here are those experiences:

Ankara Turkey – Capital of Turkey

Travel there:  Nashville – Detroit – Frankfurt Germany – Istanbul Turkey – Ankara Turkey

We arrived in Ankara, met our Turkish DOD liaison Seyhan and were taken to a US diplomatic apartment complex near the Russian Embassy.  Ankara is an enormous city of rolling hills.  It appears housing there is all apartment type housing, very little, if any, single family homes.  I was also taken with the sheer number and ornate details of the Muslim mosques in the city.  There was a great deal of road construction underway lending itself to the fact that the city did appear to be somewhat western in nature.  We set up for the show the next morning on what had once been an US Air Force base and was now a Turkish Military base with a small US Embassy facility inside.  We set up to the sound of small arms fire…seriously.  A group of Turkish soldiers were drilling a mere few hundred yards away.  The show was one of the larger of the tour, probably close to 500 people attended, eating, drinking and dancing along with our show.  The night was closed out by an impressive fireworks show to celebrate the US Forth of July Independence Day.

Amman Jordan – US Embassy

Travel there:  Ankara Turkey – Istanbul Turkey – Beirut Lebanon – Amman Jordan

We arrived in Amman and met our Embassy contact Rene who had only recently been transferred to Amman from The Philippines.  Security was very tight at the Embassy as you might expect.  No photography was allowed, however, we managed to snap a few shots at the show.  On the road leading to the front of the Embassy was stationed a Ford F150 pickup with a large caliber machine gun mounted in the rear.  Another similarly armed Ford pickup was on the south end of the Embassy and the north end was being protected by what appeared to be a Jordanian military tank.  Upon entry into the Embassy, we were whisked into a conference room to meet with a security specialist for a detailed security briefing.  He warned us about certain activities and instructed us on how to profile individuals that may be out to do harm.  We set up for the show then set out to do a bit of sight-seeing in the area.  I knew the Jordan River and the baptismal sight of Jesus was nearby and we did see that.  In addition, the Dead Sea was nearby as well and we were able to visit there.  It was amazing; the buoyancy of the sea does in fact allow you to float effortlessly.  We were also able to visit another significant Christian sight, Mount Nebo.  Back at the Embassy, the show was very family oriented.  Many kids were their dancing and having a great time.  This evening was also concluded with a fireworks show in celebration of the Forth as well.

Cairo Egypt – US Embassy

Travel there:  Amman Jordan – Cairo Egypt

In Cairo, we were met by our Embassy contact, Mark who was a Major in the Air Force and another recent transfer to his current post.  Security was even tighter here as the event was to be attended by the US Ambassador to Egypt as well as many Egyptian dignitaries.  Another unusual security measure was that we were transported in an armored van.  Here in Cairo, we actually had an entire day off to see the amazing sights in and around Cairo.  We hired a tour guide to assist us to be certain we saw all we could.  First stop was the Egyptian Museum.  A truly awesome collection of Egyptian artifacts many of which were well over 4,000 years old.  Within the Egyptian Museum was a special exhibit of artifacts from Tutankhamen including his famous solid gold mask as well as a great deal of his jewelry.  Another museum within the Egyptian Museum is the Mummy Museum.  This museum contains 27 royal mummies from pharaonic times.  The most amazing sight here for me was the mummy of Ramesses II.  I am literally inches from the body of a man who lived over 3,000 years ago.  The body is remarkably preserved; even much of his gray hair still clings to his scalp.  From the museum, we drove toward the infamous pyramids just outside Cairo.  Along the way, we crossed the Nile River.  We also traveled through what is known as The City of the Dead.  This is an area of Cairo which is a burial ground with an interesting aspect.  As with the Pharaohs, Egyptians here are buried with their belongings.  As a result of an overwhelming housing shortage and to protect these belongings, family members actually move into and on top of the tombs of their dead.  We move on to the pyramids.  The pyramids reside in the Sahara Desert which actually extends right to the border of Cairo and the transition from lush green land to desert is very abrupt.  Many photo ops here at the pyramids.  One thing I was able to do here was to actually go inside one of the Giza pyramids.  Amazing.  Next stop was the Sphinx.  Another amazing sight to stand next to after having seen pictures all my life.  And for the record, it’s much smaller than I expected.  Our show here was for another large group, most likely near 1,000 attendees.

Souda Bay Crete, Sigonella Sicily, Akrotiri Cyprus, Izmir Turkey and Aviano Italy were all performances on active military bases in the Mediterranean region.  Here, we had the wonderful opportunity to meet active duty military service men and women one to one.  At each location, we were greeted with smiles and genuine excitement about our being there to bring a small slice of home to these great folks.  The smiles and great attitudes even extended beyond the loading of our 28 pieces of gear and luggage!  These locations brought many unique experiences as well.  Among them, getting up close and personal with some state-of-the-art US military hardware, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea and, believe it or not, American Fast Food!

What amazing experiences throughout the tour.  How many times in my life will I be able to float in the Dead Sea or go inside an Egyptian Pyramid?  Given the events that occurred between Israel and factions in Lebanon near the end of our tour, I will most likely never have the opportunity to be in Beirut ever again.  But the most life changing experience for me may have been seeing how other cultures live in major metropolitan centers in a vastly different part of our planet.  We have so much in this country that we often take for granted.  We have choices where others have a choice.  We have freedoms where many other have oppression.  I’m not about to attempt to make a case for which way of life is right or wrong.  I will say we never encountered any hostilities toward us nor did we feel even remotely threatened in any of the places we visited.  But I know I live in the only country of the ones I visited that I want to live in.  I have a new appreciation for what we have here in America.

The freedoms in our country are what have allowed me to become who I am.  Freedoms that were bought and paid for by the men and women we had the pleasure to entertain and by the soldiers who came before them.  I’ve worked hard at my music career and to a certain extent I “made” this opportunity happen for me through that hard work.  I’m not suggesting I deserved it.  Quite the contrary.  It was in fact an honor to be asked to perform in this role, to serve our country through supporting the men and women of our armed services currently serving on foreign soil.  Yes, I accepted the task immediately in my tail-wagging euphoric stage.  But shortly thereafter, the gravity of the task began to weigh upon me and my family.  I then was faced with my LifeWay choice, stay in my comfort zone or seize the opportunity.  I would not take back my experience for any amount of money.  It was everything I expected and more.  Incredible memories and I made some good friends along the way.

In conclusion, my advice, my mantras with which to live by…

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

Carpe Diem.

Chase the tail-wagging opportunities.

Live each special life experience to the fullest in the moment.  Make the most of it.  Step out of your comfort zone whenever possible though it may not always be practical.  Because when it comes to special life experiences, another old adage is true, “It will be over before you know it.” And when it’s over, all you will be left with are the memories and the relationships you made along the way.  And maybe, just maybe you will be better as a result of the experience and appreciate your life a little more.

1.  Mike Moncrief, Mayor of The City of Fort Worth in a mayoral proclamation issued January 13, 2006.

The Computer Is Just a Tool

Our school is a K to 8th grade school; so near the end of our student’s 8th grade year, their parents take them to neighboring schools for high school visits.  A couple years ago, near the end of the first year of our one-to-one laptop program and the end of my son’s 8th grade year, we took him on those customary high school visits.  Because of our technology drive/focus and because of our son’s keen interest and abilities with technology, most of our questions to the schools we visited were technology flavored.  One of my favorite responses came from a non-technical high school administrator when we pressed him to respond to the question, “Do you allow your students to use laptops in the classroom?”  His answer was amazing…and I assure you, I am not making this up…he said, and I quote, “We teach the classics here and you don’t need a computer for that.” 

That response was so far off the chart, it didn’t even register.  I knew right-then-and-there that this school would not be a place my son would enjoy.  Would he learn there?  Probably.  Would it be relevant?  Without technology present, no…how could it be?  The response to our question basically told me that the administration here really knew nothing about education technology or really anything of computers in general.  We ate their cookies and drank their punch…but promptly moved on.

At another school, we had higher hopes because the school had IT infrastructure and support personnel.  But here, it was a response from an IT support/computer teacher that really shook me to the core.  His response to the same question about using a computer in the classroom was, “Now the computer is just a tool.”  Whoa!  This was no clueless administrator; this was the school’s IT professional saying this.  How incredibly oppressive!  It was as if he was saying, “Now hold your horses here, we can just let a kid run around using a computer in all his classes.  IT is MY domain, you think I’m gonna let just any students on MY network?!?!”  You would have thought we had asked if our son could sit his desk on the roof of the gym during the spring semester so he could work on his tan!  Just a tool?!?!?

Saying a computer is just a tool is like saying Michelangelo was just a painter… Beethoven was just a musician… Joe Satriani is just another guitar player (look him up, seriously).  Yes it is a tool, granted, but as my boss says, “It’s the most powerful tool for education ever invented!”  There are two issues I see as real hindrances to true adoption of education technology today.  One is containment and the second is over-emphasis. 

Let’s look at what I’m calling = Containment.

Don’t pigeon-hole technology.  If you have or create a computer lab or if you have a common space on campus where multiple computers exist for use, you are missing the mark.  I would even say having laptop carts for middle school and high school students is equally short-sighted.  What is this saying to your students?  This.  Technology exists in that space over there, outside the classroom and, when we have time or a specific topic that relates, we’ll go fire up the computer…but in the majority of your studies and work, you don’t need to worry about those things. 

Another common form of containment comes from the IT department itself…and it is sort of the underlying tone from the IT guy at the second school I mentioned above.  It’s the, “You (the student) don’t need access to this folder or that computer…Access to a printer?  Not gonna happen…and you certainly will not access the Internet from MY network!” sort of attitude.  Old school IT folks are VERY protective of information systems resources.  I think it stems from the equally old and outdated notion that information, and the access to it, is power..so by buttoning up the network so tight you can’t breathe, they remain in power/control. 

This concept of information as power can be traced back to the middle ages and is really the driving force behind what we know today as social classes.  The upper class, the kings, rulers, etc. had access to all information in the land because they had the money/wealth to pay for it.  And by keeping it very close to the vest, this information was truly what made them powerful.  The middle class had limited resources for information access but they did have access and thereby limited power.  The lower class could afford nothing and were always in the dark.  With our unprecedented access to information today, these classes are quickly dissolving… but I digress…

Now let’s look at what I’m calling = Over-emphasis.

There are schools today that have a non-integrated approach to technology use.  Often times, they don’t even really have any sort of classroom technology in use at all on a normal basis.  These schools devote massive amounts of resources to outlining and defining their position on technology, filling webpage after webpage with techno-jargon and creating detailed plans which elevate technology to a level equal that of their curriculum…a sort of technology podium if you will, there to admire but with a little imaginary sign around it reading, “Do Not Touch”.

Obviously, this is the wrong approach in my opinion.  Setting technology apart from and equal to classroom curriculum has the potential to be detrimental to a technology program.  Over emphasizing technology can bring about anxiety and fear to teachers who are not necessarily up to speed on its use, running them off rather than having them embraces it.  We’ve all had those uncomfortable moments in our own educational upbringing where we were called upon by the teacher to demonstrate something we have little knowledge about, in a room full of folks we think are all experts on the topic…not pleasant.

But now here is where I will say that the computer IS just a tool…one of many, in-fact, in the teacher’s arsenal.  No one would dream of devoting multiple webpages and vast sections of a curriculum maps to the use of pencil and paper, would they?  No.  So why is it reasonable to treat technology that way?  It isn’t.  The tools should facilitate the curriculum, not compete with it.  Teaching a student to use a computer is not an end in and of itself.  In-fact, I believe teaching a student to use a computer is not even necessary today…I think it’s very much like dogs being born with the knowledge and ability to swim, kids are seemingly born with computer skills. 

Personally I think students, and younger kids too, do not have the in-grown fear of computers that many adults have.  Let’s face it, there were no computers available that the average child could interact with in kindergarten forty-plus years ago.  Our vision of computers was of these massive machines that filled rooms, had spinning reels of tape whirring constantly and highly educated men in white shirts and ties who were the only individuals privileged enough to be allowed behind the glass walls to interact with these machines and make them perform what seemed to be magic. 

Not at all the same images kids today have of computers.  Kids encounter computers every hour of every day.  Growing up, we had one TV in the family room and I was my dad’s remote…any time he needed the channel changed or volume adjusted, he called me…even if I was back in my room!  Today, we have a TV in just about every room and the remote is attached to a computer that is responsible for receiving and decoding digital signals.  Other examples, the microwave has a computer in it.  Their calculators have more computing power than Apollo 11 had to navigate its way to the moon! 

Vastly different environment here for kids today.  They are at home behind a computer screen.  In-fact, I like to refer to them as “screenagers”…because everything they interact with has a screen!  Their comfort level is nothing short of amazing to my 48-year-old brain.  Over-emphasizing the technology, however, can instill traits of our childhood misconceptions about computers and push students away from very legitimate and relevant use in the classroom.

Technology is a tool and in must coexist in the classroom or our students will be lost in a world that is becoming increasingly technology centric.  The world is really not a techno-have or have-not but a techno-can or can’t do type of existence.  Be reasonable and safe but be creative in your use of technology and don’t be afraid to let the students lead.