S3 Ep 41 Steven Miletto Explains the Challenges of Managing Tech in the Classroom

In this episode, Steven joins us to discuss the evolution of technology in education (and challenges that many of us don’t think about that educators are dealing with every day).


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Show Notes

With a level of passion only surpassed by his nearly four decades of experience as an educator in Georgia, Dr. Steven Miletto has served his community well as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. As a content creator, you can see and hear Steven on his Teaching Learning Leading K-12 podcast. We have a great conversation today with Steven about the evolution of technology in education (and challenges that many of us don’t think about that educators are dealing with every day). Technology has become ubiquitous in our lives and we are always surrounded by it. There is value in technology, but only when used wisely. 

S3 Ep 041 Steven Miletto

In this episode, you will hear: 

  • The evolution of technology’s role in education
  • Steven’s journey into technology in his career
  • The changing point in schools from having technology as an advantage to an addiction
  • The slimming of the cellphone and how tech is thought about  
  • Policy debate in academic institutions
  • Tech hygiene in education
  • The fight between value and distraction in education technology
  • Healthy tech habits everyone should know

About Steven Miletto

Steven Miletto has been an educator in Georgia for 36 years. Steve has always focused on helping kids achieve their dreams. He has served public school families as a history teacher, assistant principal, and high school principal. In 2009, he was the Georgia Principal of the Year and a finalist for NASSP/MetLife National Principal of the Year in 2010. In 1989 he was the Teacher of the Year at South West Dekalb High School. Currently, he is the executive director of a regional educational service agency (RESA) in Georgia (US). Also, Steve is the host of the audio podcast Teaching Learning Leading K12

Connect with Steven Miletto:

Website: https://stevenmiletto.com 

Blog: https://www.stevenmiletto.com/blog/ 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SRMiletto

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/srmiletto/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenmiletto/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@smiletto

Teaching Leading Learning K12 Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/teaching-learning-leading-k-12/id774209159 

Take a listen to Episode 409 of Teaching Leading Learning K12 with R. Blank: https://www.stevenmiletto.com/r-blank-ceo-of-shield-your/ 

Additional Links:


Dr. Steven Miletto 0:00
With all that being said, the next transition is going to be this thing that creates a lot of disagreement in education, which is that these, these can become really useful tools that a teacher if they teach the kids how to use them correctly. And I’m talking about the, as the smartphone with the apps into play, that there are all kinds of cool apps out there from being able to identify, and this is in the early days, this is not now. I mean, now they got like an app for literally for everything. And the but like some of the early apps, there were some that would help you identify the leaves of plants. And there were, there were some that would help you, you know, learn early, early translation of languages and stuff. Found out that it wasn’t exactly right. Sometimes the but there was all kinds of cool stuff happening. And so you had disagreements in schools and school systems across the country, and I think across the world.

Announcer 0:52
Welcome to the healthier tech podcast, the show about building a healthier relationship with modern technology. Now, here are your hosts, R blank and Stephanie Warner.

R Blank 1:05
So today’s interview with Steve maletto, is it’s really the first time we’ve had a pure educator on the podcast and we cover a lot of ground. I think the listeners are really going to love it. One part that stood out to me was it was just this, this fascinating storytelling of the evolution of the role of technology in education, which happens over the same timeline, basically, as my life. So for his perspective, he’s able to explain and illustrate the way that technology has been impacting education and how that has changed over the last 40 years. I think it’s a fantastic discussion.

Stephanie Warner 1:45
Yeah, I absolutely agree. And you actually hit the note that I was actually I was I was that I honed in on as well in the interview. And when he he has a history with history. And when I found this, this interview became is much a kind of a history of the evolution of tech in especially in the classroom as he’s an educator. And it was, it was it was fun, and it was a really fun conversation. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

R Blank 2:12
Yeah, well, let’s not delay it. Yeah, let’s start. Really looking forward to today’s episode with a level of passion only surpassed by his nearly four decades of experience as an educator in Georgia, Dr. Steven maletto, has served his community well as a teacher, Assistant Principal and principal, achieving great heights, including being named Georgia Principal of the Year. As a content creator. You can see in here, Steven on his teaching, learning leading K through 12 podcast, as well as on YouTube and his voice over work, which will not surprise you at all. As soon as you hear him speak. Helping kids achieve their dreams and sharing his story and his passion with us today. Welcome, Steven to the healthier tech podcast.

Dr. Steven Miletto 3:00
Thanks so much R. It’s great to be here. Hi, Stephanie. And thanks for having me.

Stephanie Warner 3:04
Great to have you. Oh, my

Dr. Steven Miletto 3:06
gosh, four decades of my charity, so that because yeah, I never thought I thought about it that way. Because you’re right. Yeah.

R Blank 3:17
What’s really tricky is when you start to realise those four decades actually span five decades. Better. Yes, yeah. So it’s great to chat with you again, I’m not sure I mean, I know that you remember that we spoke but I’m not sure if you remember that. It was actually my appearance. My interviewer on your teaching learning leading podcast was actually the first podcast I appeared on. And that was, so that was the first of what has become almost 100. And that, so I have very fond memories of our discussion was a really great experience. And I’m glad to be able to have you on our podcast today.

Dr. Steven Miletto 3:54
I appreciate that. And that’s cool, because I did not realise I did not remember that was our first that was your first talk. So because it was fun. I learned a lot and a lot of stuff going on. So I appreciate the offer coming back. So this is cool. So congratulations on having your podcast healthier tech. So this is awesome. So thank

R Blank 4:09
you. So yeah, so as I said in the intro, you have a lot of experience. There’s a certain number of decades of experience in education. So how did you get in to education?

Dr. Steven Miletto 4:24
The, just just as a note, you know, it’s funny. My, my father loved history. And I mean, he read books to you know, tomes of books, that you know, giant books that they read a million years when I pick up off the shelf now as a reader, but he watched history, he looked at history read history stopped at every sign on the road that you run into as you’re on trips and stuff like this. And in those days, I didn’t, I really didn’t spend a lot of time making sure you know, telling him that I liked history, because he really impacted me and Basically what ended up happening is in high school, my history teachers were not interesting nor fun. And it was part of my brain went, you know, I can do this I can do definitely better than, than that gentleman did, and that one did so. And so that’s pretty much I thought that I want to make history, something that people like kids like and makes them want to know more. That’s, that’s a goal.

R Blank 5:28
I actually, it’s funny you say that, because I went through high school, also thinking that history was the worst subject. And then when I got to college, I ended up completely to my own surprise, majoring in history, because it college it was taught just in such a different way, and you really got to engage with the content. And it was really interesting. But that did not lead me to a career in education. So and then, and now you you also have this teaching learning leading K through 12. Podcast. So when when did you start doing that?

Dr. Steven Miletto 6:07
I started that in November of 2013.

R Blank 6:11
Wow, in the more time in the long, long ago. You’re a pioneer.

Dr. Steven Miletto 6:18
It’s a it’s, it’s crazy. It’s wild. And like, I can’t believe how much time has gone past. You know, I just published episode 530. Getting ready to do 531. Which is cool. And in the beginning, I started off with going Hmm, what am I going to talk about?

R Blank 6:37
Yeah, so what your what do you talk about on your show? What’s the focus? What what are you hoping to achieve with it?

Dr. Steven Miletto 6:43
Well, my main goal is to provide resources for classroom teachers and building administrators. And, and when I say that, though, it’s not like, all I’m going to talk about is just traditional sorts of types of things going on in the classroom, or in the building. It’s also about, it’s about helping the teacher and the ministry, but it’s also about providing them resources for things that they might have thought not thought about, like for example, not only do I interview everybody from Red tech to writers of rigour books, and how to how to do instruction and stuff like this, or leadership, but I also then do interviews with writers. And, and they talk about the writing process. And one of the things I tell writers is they say, you know, just about every teacher has, thinks, you know, knows they have a book in home, and we’d love to know how to make that happen. And, and so we do a lot of that stuff. And so it’s, it’s about providing them information, just like your, your interview was about talking about the EdTech space and stuff like this, and things that are going on, that people should be aware of. So that’s in a nutshell, it’s all it’s all about providing those resources, though, for classroom teacher building administrators. Very

R Blank 7:53
cool. Yeah. And we’ll have the link to that in the in the show notes. Now, as we were chatting right before the show, I’m really excited to have you not just because I really enjoyed talking to you. But there’s, we don’t really get a chance to speak with very many educators on this show. And so there’s, there’s, there’s a, there’s a place, I want to take this conversation. So if you’ll just give me a minute to kind of intro it like what I’m thinking, right, because I am both old enough slash young enough, that Tech has always been a part of my academic experience. So and I obviously like I’m not just talking about overhead projectors and slide carousels, because I remember taking my first programming class when I think I think I was seven or something. And the programming language was called logo. And you had this little turtle that you told how to they called it a turtle. It was a triangle, I told you where to draw. And and then when I got into high school, I think I took basic and and C. And then when I got into college, I took C++. And when I went to college, I had a laptop since day one. And again, you know, I’m at this dividing line age because when my brother went to college, he did all of his papers on a typewriter. And meanwhile, I go to college, and I have a laptop in my room from day one. I had internet not very fast but internet in my room. And and so I come from this era, where I always considered being exposed to technology in school as being an unequivocal and tremendous advantage of a privileged upbringing. And it’s a big part about how I got into tech early in my career because I was a software engineer for a couple of decades. So that’s the background for what I’m about to ask you, right? Because my sense of things is that this isn’t the case anymore. That having a access to technology is important in getting a leg up on future skill sets and job opportunities. But it’s also creating these other forces of constant distraction, competition for attention, cyber bullying, and I’m sure you can, you can tell me a lot more. And so that’s where I want to take the conversation. Because as someone like myself, who’s been out of school for a couple of decades now, the whole thing just sounds to me, like it would be incredibly disruptive. But again, it’s really important. So how do you are in the course of your career, right, you would have seen the exact changes that I am talking about. So what are your thoughts on it? And you’re not you haven’t been just a teacher, you’ve also been a principal. So you get to help, kind of direct policy? What are your thoughts on what I just laid out?

Dr. Steven Miletto 10:54
Well, what’s really cool is listening to you talk about that, because, you know, when I was in high school, one of my math teachers needed help doing stuff. So for extra credit, because he also taught at some sort of computer course at the school. And, and so I’m always game for extra credit. And so I go to his classroom in the afternoon along with about 15 Other hits. And we would have these magazines and we take these magazines, and we would sit there and go to if then therefore, we would type these statements in and what they were named Sarah computer. And what’s funny was the first time I did it for him, because my friend was one who recruited me, he said, Come on, and do this. It’s fun, you get extra credit on your next test and all kinds of stuff. And I’m like, well, that’d be cool. And so I go and do that I learned something important because in those days, they didn’t auto save.

Stephanie Warner 11:41
We’ve all learned that

Dr. Steven Miletto 11:43
they come in and go where is it? You did push you did make it save right? Yeah. So we go back to me in high school with that and, and college taking some courses here and there that are just kind of these intro to these these different types of languages and things like that. And to moving forward in education and what’s funny is Yes, I had the over the oh my gosh, can’t believe I can’t think of the name of the projector the

R Blank 12:19
Yeah, I couldn’t think of the name of it either. I was trying to

Dr. Steven Miletto 12:24
like Elmo, right, Elmo. Elmo is one of the companies makes us think they’ve been around forever. There’s you know and use find lots of them and people in like schools, junkyards and stuff. And there’s always some art teacher says Give them to me, I’ll make use of. But the so it started making this progression where in the 90s, what was cool was, you know, in the in the late 80s, so I was my first year teaching was 1987 1987. For those who say, with pride right here? Oh, it’s awesome. You’re the 80s. Man, there’s never been better ran it’s gotten.

R Blank 13:14
We’re gonna have to agree on

Dr. Steven Miletto 13:15
the 90s We’re pretty darn good. Yeah. We shouldn’t say 2000s in VLAN,

Stephanie Warner 13:22
10x, or Gen X.

Dr. Steven Miletto 13:26
So what was interesting was suddenly, certain things started happening. That became very noticeable, right as I became a teacher, because I had gone through a college where they had computer labs and stuff where they were teaching other languages, like you mentioned, something called Fortran and COBOL, or something like that. And, you know, and so there are things like that going on. And so in the schools, where I was doing my student teaching, some of them had these, these computer labs that a certain company named Apple was, was selling them, which were these things called, I think they’re called Mac classics, which are these tall little towers with a little bitty screen on them. And, and, and so you had these things, but then they didn’t last long. Because at the same time, as they start buying those, then, you know, apple, the apple company started really marketing to what they were coming up with, and they’re coming up with a lot, suddenly, you start seeing the early versions, like the Apple, two E and apple. I mean, there’s any new nomenclature that comes after that. And it was pretty well, because what was happening was, we were, you know, teachers were being encouraged to learn how to use templates and learn how to do make different things that, you know, you could do it the old school way, like if I wanted to make a seating chart, I sit there with a ruler and I would start to make copies of it and then write on it on pencil and I pin you know, and, and, you know, there’s any number of things that suddenly we started learning about, you know, early versions of spreadsheets. One of the school systems that I was in, use something called Lotus 123. And, and what is the system started switching, making sure that they were introducing you to word and then there were, I’m trying to remember what it was called. And there’s different versions of it. And then there was an Apple had its products, which you know what you’re doing. And as a, as a teacher, I was a history teacher and in one of the schools where I was that I wanted to go to the school because I was the principal was awesome. And I wanted to follow him I had been working with them another school and, and he said, you know, Steve, he said, I’d love to have you come to the new school, but I really need a yearbook sponsor. And so I became the yearbook sponsor. And I say this, because this is kind of really my delving into beyond just starting to learn how to use the computer for the things that we’re becoming in that school system. Because the yearbook company, said, so we’re in the process of switching from hand drawn pages, to computer drawn pages. And they use a product called Aldus PageMaker. And, and they said, We can set you up with paper, we can set you up with computer, or we can do both, would you would you like to do both. And so I chose both, because I’m like, I should really learn how to do it the classic way at the same time, teach the kids how to do it the new way. And so I went to my remembers of new school. And so I went to my principal, and I said, Hey, the company says they’re going to provide us with this software and this computer, and all I need to do is tell them what they what we want, they can either do the DOS based system or the Apple System and, and my principal looked at me and said, All right, we get to choose what we want. So we’re going to Apple and I said, Alright, so the, that’d be great. So I told the yearbook company, that’s what we want. So we got they set us up with a couple of printers, they set me up with these couple of whatever flavour of Macintosh it was at the time. And, and then about a month later, the school system decided to overrule my principal and made the high school all DOS based. So the art teacher loved me, because we were the only place where you could find all these apples. And but so I tell that story to come forward. And I, you know, in those days, were excited because they introduced us to something new called email. And we do dumb things like you send an email to your next door neighbour and say, and hey, Joe, how you doing? And I’d run next door and say, Hey, did you get my email? I’m gonna respond to you. Alright, I’ll run back. You know? It’s dumb stuff like that. And

R Blank 17:40
yes, yeah, no, it’s so what I, what you’re what I hear you talking about is kind of what I was talking about, right? Because there was an era where every basically every new opportunity to get in use technology made something better, made something easier. And it was just viewed as this. unequivocal advantage, right. But fast forward now, to the the now the third decade of the 21st century. Things Are, are really different, right? I mean, it’s still you still want computers in schools. So kids learn how to, you know, use them and hopefully programme and do all these things. But you have the cell phones in particular are an area I’m very interested in talking to you about like, like, like it into it at some point. And I’m sure it didn’t just happen overnight. But at some point, something changed from every new piece of technology is a fantastic advantage that we should take advantage of, to wait a second, we really, really need to start thinking about how we’re making use of this stuff.

Dr. Steven Miletto 18:50
Well, I got a I got to do a shout out to the pager because the pager happened in there in the middle of a fourth. Right? And, and I say that only because if we only knew what was coming because the pager was annoying, and typically either you were a doctor, a pregnant drug dealer, or a drug dealer. pregnant or a drug dealer? Yes, those three were the people who had pagers, you know? You know, and it’s so you had that error and, and it it’s leading us to the cell phone. And it’s quite interesting because during my time as an assistant principal I went from because as a teacher, I’d never had to really deal with too much problems with the pagers. The kids kind of kept them away and stuff but the, the cell phone created a whole new gamut because kids were learning how to do things, you know, because the day of the Crackberry addicts you know, kids are learning how to type on how to text on those things without looking and just using their thumbs and it’s it’s kind of amazing. And you’re going I’m not that much older than you and I But, you know, I know I played my arcade games in an arcade and stood up and played the things anyway, you know, what happened was, suddenly, we start getting introduced the cell phones that are over just a 10 year 15 year period, they go from being gigantic to these, these smaller things are these little antennas on

Stephanie Warner 20:21
a wearable, the wearable, I think it’s interesting that you brought up the pager because I actually have not considered that and it was the precursor to the, to the firt to the it’s the one thing that we had at the time that you could put on your person. And you could have communication of some sort at any time for the most part. And that really was that kind of first wearable communication thing that can be like pinging at you, whether you were home or not, or whether you were connected to your computer, your big bulky device. I think that’s, that was a really good observation I hadn’t hadn’t thought about and you’d like you’re saying the next step is that we have the phone in that, do you think that the, that’s one of the bigger changes that we had is the going from the big bulky to the thing that you can have on you at all times changing kind of the way technology is thought about and developed from efficiency to like, oh, we have an opportunity, it’s to have information communication at all times. Anytime. Do you think that was one of the kind of key changes?

Dr. Steven Miletto 21:29
Oh, I think so. I, you know, because one of the things that happened in there that I gotta make sure I say, because it was it’s a fascinating timeframe, because we go from very simplistic sorts of things like you’re describing the turtles, which is really triangular, something to suddenly there’s these programmes that I mean, everybody was very fascinated with screensavers, because they get into your fancy your skis screensavers, at the time that did all these cool things. Hey, have you seen mine lately? Let’s watch this. And we’re all right, exactly this cool stuff. And, but what’s also happening, there’s lots of different programmes and the way the computer companies are, you know, the two big e’s are changing the way we’re going to interact with the computer. And suddenly, we have things like programmes that you can use to morph images and stuff like this. And that was one of the programmes I’ll never forget, they were telling us, when you get your own computer, you’ll be able to use this programme. They’ve shown it to us without a computer where we couldn’t practice it. But it was a, it was a morphing thing that changed the images. And it basically took the place of, you know, hundreds of, if not 1000s of dollars worth of equipment that you might have in a studio TVC. And, and you’re suddenly seeing stuff like that. So we’re I want to, I wanted to mention that because all that’s going on. And we have this annoying thing called a pager, I’m an assistant principal at this time. As I finished up being a teacher, I really didn’t have too many kids that had those things. Get a lot of adults are like, Hey, I’m cool. I have

Stephanie Warner 23:06

Dr. Steven Miletto 23:06
yes, but the but for the most part, the pager starts rather quickly morphing into something else, like the BlackBerry and those handheld and like you’re caught on the wearable devices. And what’s funny is that, you know, as an assistant principal, that’s why I would remember the pager because you’re having to have conversations with kids about you’re not allowed to have that in this classroom turned on. So you need to turn it off. Or we get to see you on Saturday, you know, or something like that to the cell phone that has its own unique things. So for anybody out there who’s listening, who’s an assistant principal, or been an assistant principal, you know, this feeling to where all right. We know that cell phone went off in the classroom, that’s why I’m here. And, and I say that because in those days, they were, you know, basically you a lot of times schools had rules and enforcers like to to deal with the fact that the kid had it was responding to somebody or had to go off in the classroom and the teacher wanted it needed it gone so that they could get on with class and and usually what I would do is say, you know the rules you’re not supposed to have them so this time free rein, everybody turn off your cell phones because if I have to come back here then I’m going to take it your parents can get it from me. And so we go from that world to in 10 more years suddenly you have devices that the blackberries gone and now you’ve got texting happening on this on these regular phones and you can use them as a phone and a texter and, and you know it’s, it’s it’s a whole new world when it comes to that and that, you know, during those days it’s just it’s just annoying because kids would call each other they text each other to meet the bathroom or something like that. Hey man, let’s go smoke All right, here we go. Boom. You know and you know if you wanted to have, you know, as an administrator, if you wanted to go break the break the smoking ring? All I got to do is all right. I’m gonna watch Johnny today. Here we go. Oh, look at that Johnny, Sammy and fried are all going towards the restaurants at the same time. I’ll bet it smoked on. Yes, for those of you listening that’s sometimes are worth. So to quote a kid one time, who asked me, he said, you went to college, right? And I said, Yes. And he goes, you paid for college, right? And I said, Yes. And he goes, and so you literally paid to watch to figure out whether I was smoking or not smoking in the bathroom, right? That’s it get away from it, you borrow the, you know, the fun things that come with our jobs. That’s not why I became an assistant principal. But with with all that being said, the next transition is going to be this thing that creates a lot of disagreement in education, which is that these, these can become really useful tools that a teacher if they teach the kids how to use them correctly. And I’m talking about the, as the smartphone with the apps is coming into play, that there are all kinds of cool apps out there from being able to identify, and this is in the early days, this is not now. I mean, now they got like an app for literally for everything. And they but like some of the early apps, there were some that would help you identify the leaves of plants. And there were there were some that would help you, you know, learn early, early translation of languages and stuff, found out that it wasn’t exactly right. The but there’s all kinds of cool stuff happening. And so you had disagreements in schools and school systems across the country. And I think across the world, as to whether we should allow them because you would have some schools saying we’re going to find you $50 For every time you pull that phone out, when it’s not supposed to be out. And he had other systems telling teachers, here’s some things framework to send to your lessons and teach them how to use the phone and certain apps and teaching teachers how to use the phones. Well, now we come full circle, because, you know, 20 years later, I think recently France may have been a country that

R Blank 27:05
decided they banned all phones in schools. Yes, vanderhall in

Dr. Steven Miletto 27:09
schools, and we have a lot of communities again, revisiting that because they become so annoying. I mean, one of the worst fights ever had to deal with was over a kid who had an a Snapchat account who this is, this is actually what taught me what Snapchat was. Because I had heard about it, but never wouldn’t witness it. But basically, a kid took a picture of another kid’s tennis shoe that had duct tape on it. And he posted it on Snapchat, and then was showing other other kids were looking to follow this kid. And they realised that his kid in the classroom, and so one of the kids showed it to that kid. And he basically said, Who and one kid pointed out who took the picture and posted it, he turned around it smacked him and knocked out a tooth or two, you know, wow. Oh, yeah, it was, it was a one,

Stephanie Warner 28:01
not violate my privacy and blast me on Snapchat. Exactly. That’s

Dr. Steven Miletto 28:07
before we were really talking and using those words, and you know, but things like this were happening, were you because in those days, it disappeared quickly, right? I’ve long it lasted. And so kids thought you could just do whatever you wanted, and then it’s gonna disappear. So for a get caught where I can get in trouble.

R Blank 28:25
Right. Now you bring up, you bring up where I definitely want to get into, which is discussions around policy and policy debate in these academic institutions. But quickly, before we do you brought up something else that I hadn’t thought of. And I definitely want to ask, which is, is because you talked about teachers, teaching children how to use this technology in productive, healthy ways. And so I’m wondering is, you know, a term I would use for that is tech hygiene. And so is tech hygiene part of the curriculum. In many schools, do you in your experience?

Dr. Steven Miletto 29:05
Oh, yeah. And a lot of places. I mean, you actually had some gurus of Ed Tech, who came along over the last bunch it and literally now we’re talking a couple of decades. But the you go there conferences, and they teach you how to how to teach kids that, you know what’s, how to be judgmental about what they find, for example, like this gentle one gentleman created a whole website about the very early stages of creating robots during World War One. And it’s all a lie. It’s but he had this website that he created, and so it would get, you could Google it and find it and it would the more hits that it got the more you know how that stuff works. And he did it in a way in a very tongue in cheek way that if you had adults come and go and did they have robots and we’re like, Dude, you found that website, didn’t you? Yep, classes on how to understand to be judgmental and choose. And this is before the last bunch of years and all kinds of political things. This was you know how to understand that anybody can create a website out there. And the same with those apps. And the same with the different devices that are out there that make access to the web. And so teaching them how to and not use Snapchat to do something like that kid did and in my class, and so there’s, there are systems that have lots of things that I would call technology, etiquette type classes. And so the phones can become very annoying, because there’s so quick to do whatever they have to do and stuff like this. But there’s also, I would say the same thing with tablets. And

R Blank 30:46
yeah, I’d say I’d say not only can phones become annoying, it’s it takes active attention to make them not annoying.

Dr. Steven Miletto 30:57
This is a note, you know, just like we were fascinated a bunch of years ago with the screensaver, you know, once the new found cell phones got here with the smartphones and stuff like that, and sorry, androids as well. And is that you also have people fascinated with ringtones

R Blank 31:14
Oh, I remember that. Yeah.

Stephanie Warner 31:16
I can tell your teacher because the things you were bringing up are like, oh, yeah, I could see where 30 That 30 kids, you know, several times a day that Yeah, okay. That would be a little that would stick out in my mind, too. If I were you know, you’re

R Blank 31:30
every so much of what you’re saying is give it’s I wouldn’t say flashbacks, but it’s making me think of these things that I remember, but I’ve never haven’t thought of since since the first Bush administration. I

Dr. Steven Miletto 31:42
never never lived life until I’m a huge Three Stooges fan, right? A little annoying when you hear somebody’s phone over and over again. Yeah.

R Blank 31:59
Okay, so take it as taking it back. And by the way, I thought that I that was super interesting. And honestly, I you know, I think maybe at some point, maybe we’ll have Steve, maybe have you back on to get back into the tech hygiene discussion, because the idea of integrating that into curricula is like, I’ve long thought, you know, we need more financial education in school, you know, comparing it to the stuff that I learned when I was growing up. And but for some, and I’ve offered also, obviously, you know, the healthier tech podcast, I think, well, children need to learn better tech hygiene. But I for some reason, it never occurred to me that this was actually considered to be part of an actual institutional curriculum, and that I’d really like to learn more about that. But But the part I’m hoping to pivot back to here is this discussion on the the kind of cyclical nature of the policy discussions, right, where, first, we didn’t allow phones, and then we saw the value. So we started allowing phones, and then we see they’re super annoying. So now we’re talking about maybe, so what, like, what is that process? Like in art? Like? Do teachers, administrators and parents have different views on this? Or do they all kind of come at this from the same perspective? Like, that’s what I’m really hoping for some insight on?

Dr. Steven Miletto 33:17
Well, just as a note, and I mean, this in the best of way, it would be so awesome, if they came from it from the same perspective. And here we come to a common agreement. And because they don’t, like,

Stephanie Warner 33:28
my follow up is, how do you balance it? Because I knew the answer to that question.

Dr. Steven Miletto 33:34
It’s there all over the place. And it’s late. And, you know, and at the crux of it is a kid with the phone who’s like, just let me on my phone, all right. You know, and I promise to do right, and, you know, and most of the kids do, fine, it’s just that you have the other percentage that are doing all kinds of things, from doing things that are, you know, just totally annoying, like, you know, filming, lunch being served. And to just other types of things, and, or literally thinking they have the right to take a phone call during the middle of class and answer it, you know,

R Blank 34:10
really sorry, that’s, I guess I shouldn’t be shocked kids are,

Dr. Steven Miletto 34:14
but they’ve had, especially in the modern era.

R Blank 34:18
And it’s still shocking to me,

Dr. Steven Miletto 34:20
it’s very shocking. And, you know, that’s, that’s where, when he talks about disagreement where people are coming from, because there are some parents who they totally understand my child has his phone only because if I need to get them, I will call the office and the office will tell them that I need to talk with them at one o’clock or something like this. And they’ll come to you know, and they work out something like that with a kid instead of just calling them directly. And this kid, like, should I answer my phone? It’s my mom, you know, and if they answer in trouble, or they’re in trouble with a parent, but not to injury this and that’s interesting. Oh, yeah, that creates and that’s just that type of thing. because in the more modern timeframe, it’s easier to yell at the school than it is to tell your kid

R Blank 35:06
that, ya know, you’re super easy to yell at the principal when you’re a parent. Super. Yeah.

Dr. Steven Miletto 35:13
So you deal with that, and then, you know, and it go back to when I’m early in my administration, and after I’ve been a teacher, and so forth. And, you know, you always had, you always have that teacher who’s way ahead of the crowd, right? They’re using stuff. And so they’re like, you know, I know, the administration has told me, you know, it’s told everybody that you’re not allowed to use telephones in school, but we’re going to my class, because I can show you the neat ways to use them, you know, and, and so you’re in the modern era, it’s, you know, it’s beyond the telephones, all the cool apps and stuff like this. So there’s a disagreement there too, because some teachers are like, yeah, doesn’t matter to me. And there are other teachers are like, Oh, it matters to me, because like, there’s this cool world, there’s other teachers going I don’t want those annoying things in my classroom.

R Blank 35:56
So it’s the sort of teachers don’t even agree.

Dr. Steven Miletto 35:59
Exactly. I, you know, back when I was a principal actually had a disk, I actually had a at a conference, I had a let’s call it a disagreement, okay with, with another principal from another place in the state. And he was from us. He believed firmly that they didn’t belong in schools and that they should WHR at his school, they charge them 50 bucks, get the phone back. And in my school, I had teachers that were learning how to teach kids how to use them wisely, and how to use them in class. And they were actually doing things in class to use the early forms of the apps that we had at the time and stuff like that, and, and streaming and stuff like that as well. It wasn’t streaming, although I was in one school system, where the the person who was in charge of tech, told everybody that we understand that you guys like basketball, but we can’t use streaming anymore, because that’s all you’re doing is watching basketball. And it’s like, oh, my gosh, they so they shut off the streaming in the early days, and all these teachers who are using it for, you know, contacting schools in England or some other country or doing these creative sorts of things, suddenly, we’re going what happened? Am I streaming? I wasn’t playing, I wasn’t watching basketball. Just interesting how it’s evolved. So

Stephanie Warner 37:16
yeah, and I can imagine how hard it is to balance that because there are so many different perspectives and so many different angles. And the fact is like, these things can be disruptive, but they still have a lot of value, and growing values. So it’s a, it’s I definitely cannot imagine how rough and this this conversation gives me so much more empathy for teachers and educators. And I already had a lot, especially after the last few years. But I’d like to pivot just a little bit and ask, you know, ask you as an educator, can you share a healthy tech habit that you think everyone not just kids

Dr. Steven Miletto 37:54
should know? Well, I think what’s what’s important is that they understand that they don’t need to look at it all the time. It’s like, it’s, it’s like just that in itself is There’s any number of aspects of it. But the fact that if you watch people, there’s even there’s a great commercial right now where it’s a car commercial, where this guy is annoying people because he’s looking at his phone but and laughing that was on his phone. He’s looking at his phone when he’s crossing the street and what gets thrown over. He’s looking at the

R Blank 38:23
Oh, I know that. I know that ad. Yeah, the ad. And it’s,

Dr. Steven Miletto 38:27
and the part we always gets run over is the whole point of the commercial, which is funny. But the but it’s, it’s real, though. People have literally I mean, I’m, my wife and I are walking on this really cool walk path in metro Atlanta that goes by the Chattahoochee River and lots of people walk it on, on the weekends. And it’s awesome until you get somebody who it’s like, you want to look at him and go, I don’t know if you’ve heard of these things called earphones. And they’re walking with the you get the phone in the hand, and they’re talking to it like this. And it’s like, you don’t have to do that anymore. You know, it’s nothing. Anyway,

R Blank 39:03
I know I hate that. That’s, that’s a that’s a real pet peeve of mine. And I have a lot of issues with how people use tech. But like if you’re sitting in a waiting room or on a subway, and someone’s just watching TV on their phone with no headphones, and they just expect you to have to listen to it. Yes. What the eff is wrong. You’re raised by wolves, like, how does that even happen?

Dr. Steven Miletto 39:28
So just as a note, because now you’ve stepped into what’s even what’s even better is when you get someone who’s in my age bracket, who’s embarrassing to my age bracket, because they don’t know that there is a thing that you can tell. You can turn off the volume to Oh, one of those fruit games or whatever those games are. Oh, yeah, Candy Crush and Candy Crush or something like that. Because otherwise if you don’t, it’s going it’s like, I’m on a plane with this person who’s like, how do you say this? Can you turn that off? But I think that, you know, so one of the one of the things that I would say is that they really got to teach themselves that it’s not important to have notifications on every minute to look at. And because that creates habits that are bad. I mean, I’ve seen that car commercial, the guy always gets hit. Well, that’s real. I’ve, I’ve seen people on skateboards on their phones trying to cross a busy intersection. And it’s like, are you just asking to be hit? I mean, this is an insurance. Nightmare. Yeah,

Stephanie Warner 40:31
yeah. And there’s, there’s, there’s a there, I’ve learned that when there’s a car accident, especially if it’s a one vehicle car accident, the first thing that the police officers do is look at the phone to see if they’ve touched if they were texting, because you can there’s, you know, and that that’s really the end, you know, walking around the street. Yeah, that’s, that’s definitely real. I think that’s really good advice. And, you know, when you were dealing with kids and parents in this new landscape, is there a particular thing that you would, you would say to that, you know, to help that motivate them to, you know, perhaps use, use less.

Dr. Steven Miletto 41:10
So, one of the things that you talk with him about is that, and this is where you try and get administrators and teachers on the same boat, right on the same so that they’re not coming at each other. Instead, they’re working together to get parents to listen, because a lot of times the teachers have way more influence than what they realise with the families where they could say, you know, Johnny’s really on his phone a lot, and he’s just looking at the screen. He’s not making phone calls or anything, but you know, there’s a time for it, or you can have those conversations. Now, as an administrator, it’s a little different. Because if you were to come to me, that means that I’ve had it, either one of my administrators has had to confiscate it, or I have had to because you were refusing to put it away, which is insubordination, which means that we’re at a whole new level of, we’re not talking about, yeah, very fraction. Yeah, we’re talking about infractions that are, you know, insubordination, like that, where you, you know, there’s some kids who think that, you know, it’s, it’s, I can do whatever I want. And it’s like, no, I gotta tell you, that’s not true. And so, and so that’s where some of that disagreement comes. And so the best thing to happen out of it, it would be for me to call and just Just a note, anybody who has ever been an administrator, or ever been a parent on this side of it, where you get to know the voice of the administrator, like, there’s some parents, I would call and they go, Hey, Steve, what’s he done now? Whereas other parents would go, here and assistant principal, that’s cool. Your principal, the school? Yes, or something like that. But, you know, there’s some parents who you talk to quite frequently to the regular customers. And the point is, is that you would have a conversation with them about, it’s really important that he’s in trouble with his phone, you know, how can you help me help him from spinning, you know, he’s just escalating consequences here. And by the way, I’m saying he but that goes for she also just just want to let everybody know that it goes all spectrums. And, but it’s my favourite distance, I gotta bring this up. My all time favourite one was a kid, who we were seeing kind of constantly when I was a principal. And my assistant principal got so annoyed by me, brought him to me. And he constantly was having a cell phone. All right, and where he wasn’t supposed to have he’s taken out in classrooms and stuff like this when he supposed to be doing something else. And he actually had teachers who were encouraging the use, but not when it wasn’t time. And I said to him, I just have myself talking to us in the cloud in the office. And I said, I said, How come you every time I see you, you’re, you’ve got a new cell phone, you’re trying to go? He goes, can I let you in on a secret? I said, Please, he goes, I carry three. I said, he said yes. And he pulls them out of his pocket. He goes I got this one that really works. And I’ve got these two that don’t work. When administrator asked me for my phone or teacher asked me for a phone I give them one that doesn’t work.

R Blank 44:21
Brilliant. Brilliant.

Stephanie Warner 44:26
Creating also

Dr. Steven Miletto 44:28
infuriating. It was just it was hard. So you know that type of thing. You know, and it was cool because you know he and I had developed a connection that I said look, you need to stop this man this is and but you know, it’s it’s one of those things where you know, one of the things that you don’t need to spend all your time with, you can turn notifications off and some of social media has become so they think they’ve got to look every time somebody posts something, no matter how real brilliant it is. You know, and I love that word because it can be said in a couple different ways, right? But that’s this is. That’s one of the things I you know, just as a note, I gotta say this because we’re looking at the the phone all the time. These are not things they just do it schooled. And they also do it at home. Yeah, isn’t early might have a tablet. And so some of them are going to bed, you know. And so they’re not falling asleep because they’re they’re all wired because they’re either playing a game or they’re doing something that has those screens on it too. And so I would, I would say if he’s looking at the phone all the time that he’s probably doing the same thing and think he’s going to bed he’s not it’s the thing way back when when we use flashlights to read comic books, when everybody told us to go to bed. And now it’s got a built in flashlight. Yeah, and I’ll

Stephanie Warner 45:48
just give mom the one that doesn’t work at night.

Dr. Steven Miletto 45:52
I put my phone downstairs see I’m not using my

Stephanie Warner 45:54
I’m so good. You don’t even need to check on me. Look, it’s downstairs, you can take you don’t you take it. Just take it with you just

Dr. Steven Miletto 46:02
see that’s that’s probably what he was doing.

Stephanie Warner 46:05

R Blank 46:06
Well, Steve, this is this has been a really super enjoyable interview. And I really appreciate you making the time. And like I said at the start. This is this is this is ground we’ve never covered here. And I think it’s just such an important topic. Obviously education is important. But I mean, specifically how we are addressing technology in education. And I really like your insight and your storytelling. It’s been fantastic. Where would you I mentioned you have the Teaching Learning leading K through 12 podcast, and we’ll have the link to that in the show notes. Is there anywhere else you would like our listeners to connect with you?

Dr. Steven Miletto 46:45
Oh, I also have a website which has, where it’s easy to send me an email through it. It’s called Steven maletto.com. So it says no hyphen or anything to Steven maletto my first and last name.com And if you go there you can see all my podcasts there and my blog and stuff like that if pager

Stephanie Warner 47:03
number. Cool.

R Blank 47:07
Cool. Yeah. So we’ll have the link to that in the show notes as well. So once again, Steve, thank you so much. And and yeah, this was this

Stephanie Warner 47:16
was great. So much fun, some great walk through the timeline of tech in schools. Thank you so much.

Dr. Steven Miletto 47:23
So welcome. Thanks for having me on. This was fun. I enjoyed it. It was great to talk with you all. Thank you so much. Definitely appreciate it.

Announcer 47:30
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the healthier tech podcast. Remember to check the show notes for all the links and resources mentioned in the show. Please like and subscribe to the healthier tech podcasts on Apple, Spotify or your podcast platform of choice. Get your free quickstart guide to building a healthy relationship with technology and our latest information at healthier tech.co

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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R Blank

R Blank

R Blank is the founder of Healthier Tech and the host of “The Healthier Tech Podcast”, available iTunes, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms.

R has a long background in technology. Previously, R ran a software engineering firm in Los Angeles, producing enterprise-level solutions for blue chip clients including Medtronic, Apple, NBC, Toyota, Disney, Microsoft, the NFL, Ford, IKEA and Mattel.

In the past, he served on the faculty at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering where he taught software engineering, as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He has spoken at technology conferences around the world, including in the US, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and he is the co-author of “AdvancED Flex Development” from Apress.

He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Columbia University. He has also studied at Cambridge University in the UK; the University of Salamanca in Spain; and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Connect with R on LinkedIn.

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