Things to think on

What am I thinking on tonight?

thinking monkey

image from: http://weblogs.asp.net/blogs/dotjosh/ThinkingMonkey.jpg

Chris Lehmann’s post on students boycotting standardised exams: Reasonable Actions for Unreasonable Times

and Whitney Hoffman‘s reflective question in response to the post:

The real question is why we look at education as a content delivery system whose effectiveness can be tested by standardized six-sigma-esque methods, rather than as long term research and development of new citizens, who need to be informed, knowledge gathers and synthesizers.

and the fact that many teachers I know are right now trying to figure out how to cram a whack of irrelevant data into their students, knowing full well that their students will not recall the info enough to pass the end of year evaluations. And they are stressed as all get out about it. What a way to end a year.

I’ve got lots more to say about this, but right now I just can’t bring myself to say it. I’ve cited him before, but here I go again, KRS One says it well…

You must learn…just like I told you!

Nothing else to say right now besides… bravo to the students and their Social Studies teacher of IS 318 in the Bronx. You make me happy to be a teacher today.

I’m going to think on this one for a bit.

“Put technology where it can be best used… In the classroom!”

[cross ranted as a comment at Stephen Ransom’s EdTechTrek] [and slightly elaborated]

I am starting to think that because many teachers and administrators
still do not know exactly what we can do with technology there is a
reluctance to put it in the classroom.

Example – today the Internet had, for some reason, stopped working
in the west wing of our school. I was at the computer lab with one
other teacher. She packed her kids up and went back because she only
books the computer lab for the last period of the day so that her kids
can ‘play on the internet’.

For her, technology has nothing to do with learning, it is a form of
entertainment. I stayed with my kids and used the time to work on our
Science vocabulary while teaching them how to hyperlink in
presentations. They were linking their vocabulary words to comments and images made by their peers, creating a collaborative learning network around the new terminology they are learning in Science. (Not bad for a wing it activity, eh ;)

For some reason, this teacher has not caught on yet that technology
can be much more than a way to waste time. I can understand the frustration of the new teachers that Stephen mentions in his post, but
until the more experienced teachers and administrators at schools begin
to use technology as a learning tool, really use it, and demand that
good forms of it be available in the schools, it isn’t going to happen.

I can also understand the frustration of the more experienced teachers who are
expected to use technology but who aren’t really given the time to grow
less afraid of it and to experiment with what can be done. There is a huge divide between our students who live and breathe with technology as part of their daily lives and the teachers who don’t. Huge. and while
there are still administrators who don’t use technology in their daily lives and who don’t champion for its appropriate use and availability in the school, let alone the classroom…well…that divide can only be expected to widen.

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