Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I just read a great post by David Warlick. Check it out! The report can also be found here. This report shines a little light on what parents actually know about how their kids are using the internet.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Standing outside yesterday loading our daycare vans in the rain, I began a discussion with a fellow teacher about students and their hobbies. The conversation ended up becoming somewhat of a debate. The quote she added... "Kids today only care about sitting in front of the television with a bag of chips or playing video games". I began by adding my opinions on the differences of the 2 activities.
Watching television is a passive activity. It doesn't take
much thought to sit down on a couch and watch a television. One positive attribute of watching television is that one can gain a little knowledge of the world around them, if they are watching intuitive programming.
Playing a video game is an active activity. A child constantly needs to learn, create and rethink their actions through the course of a digital video game. Problem solving techniques are constantly being tossed about. A child doesn't only watch, they have to constantly think of their actions, learn from their mistakes and try new strategies to reach a different outcome.
The teacher, being a Media Specialist, didn't necessarily agree with me. I thought it was quite sad that this media specialist is so disconnected from the students that she teaches. Shouldn't all forms of media be her forte'?
This leads me to believe that we need to look at the function of a media specialist in our schools. I have read posts from other bloggers describing media specialists in other areas of the country. I am aware that there are media specialists that are turning to digital means to teach in their libraries. As the information revolution changes the way we use media, shouldn't the job description of our media specialists change? Has it changed already? If their job descriptions have changed, then why havn't they changed with it?
The only changes that I have seen occur in libraries is the computerized system to check out a book. This is the only change in 20 years. I do not want to generalize, but this is what I am seeing.
There needs to be reform in our libraries. We need to get the media specialist on board. Now, I ask the question... what is your media personnel doing to engage students with the tools of the information revolution?
Thursday, October 25, 2007
A great post from a great blogger has prompted me to chime in on the topic of curriculum. Curiosity begs me to ask some questions...
Who is writing our curriculum?
Do they actually care about the outcome?
Are they concerned for our students?
Across the board, I feel the answers are concerning. I feel as though they do not have the best interest of the children in mind. If they aren't thinking of the children, who are they thinking of? I can't answer that question. The theme is one of more is better. The more curriculum that we can possibly fit into one school year = better educated students. Being a product of this system, I feel slighted.
Why can't we get it right? Why are those in power blind to the fact that we teach to educate the student, by the best means possible. By definition, this means we give the student the best possible tool to complete the task. We give the student every opportunity to have rich experiences to reflect upon. The current system sets students up to fail. We don't give students enough time and experience to master anything. There is just enough time to be exposed to the information. We expose students to information and expect them to be masters. We wonder why the majority of students would rather be at home on the computer or watching television than be at school. Of course, they have mastered these tools!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The officer went on to tell us a story about how the County Police arrested several gang members near or around our school. He asked us... "How do you think we caught these gang members?". It was a baited question of course. He just clicked on his next slide to show us these students MYSPACE pages. These students published pictures of themselves on MYSPACE in front of large amounts of illegal drugs and guns in their hands. Needless to say, these students from a local high school were wanted for a number of offenses and were arrested when the officer recognized them on the Internet.
Some people would say that this story is quite laughable. Everyone laughs at the bad guy when they are responsible for getting themselves caught. I think there is a television show about this very idea. I did not laugh at the story though. I think this story scratches the surface of what we as a society are up against right now and in the future. Kids growing up today have to be guided as to the amount of personal information they share with the world.
I know that my school district has a whole team that sits behind computers at the Board of Education Central Office that scrolls through MYSPACE pages all day long. They use these pages to find out about trends in schools, fights that may happen, and illegal activities that may be done by students. They have been very successful at preventing many occurrences from taking place in the past few years.
This gets me to my point. If information is put out there for the world to see, it will be used. We need to teach kids at a young age that if they don't want the information known by the world, don't put it on the Internet. Some get it and some don't.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
What a great video about how 21st Century students spend their time learning. Interestingly, it seems as though they are spending less time watching television. They have figured out that there are more interesting and meaningful means of acquiring information available today.
How can we expect students to continue to validate attending institutions of learning, when they can seem to do all of the learning on their own with tools in which they already are proficient?
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The first river that needs to be forged is one of complete and ultimate reform. This "Act" is doing what it is intended to do. The children in our education system that need the most help get pushed along to make our National Report Card appear great. I see this happening every day. We can't continue to lie about the success of our education system. The current protocol is not working.
Our task at hand for educators is to TEACH children. We need to find anything and everything that will motivate these individuals to learn how to learn. Right now, we are teaching children to memorize. We are teaching children that the grades they get, reflect what type of person they are. We teach them that the most important reason they are in school is to pass a test in the Spring. We push them along, even if they do not understand the information we are teaching. The results are accumulative. The students are learning how to be helpless. We make decisions for the students, because we don't trust them to make important decisions on their own.
This effects the students that are the most vulnerable in schools. Until the people that understand the task at hand have positions of power, this will continue.
I am not claiming to know the ultimate solution. I am claiming to be able to recognize the fact that their needs to be a solution, and fast.
The list of students that currently have ADD or some other type of Attention disorder is growing at a staggering rate. Many times I wonder if this problem would still exist if we as teachers could find ways to keep their attention. I know the answer is not constant memorization, boring worksheets, time fillers, and days spent studying for a test to beef up our nations report card.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I can't seem to find the time to blog. I have been mixed up between teaching 14 different classes, organizing a Science Fair, parent conferences, running our schools MESA club, grading the labs of my 14 different science classes, feeding and taking care of 2 birds, 2 aquatic frogs, 557 guppies, a red eared slider (turtle), and 2 Jack Dempsy's (fish), and trying to keep up with reading my feeds. Some where in between this I have managed to start a concrete job at my parents house and have been closing pools on the side.
I have some reservations about heading the mandatory MathEngineeringScienceAchievement club at our school. It feels as though it is another attempt by our government to make themselves look like the hero. The mandatory DVD we had to show was filled with the glorification of government jobs. It even came with a complete section of Math Raps about the importance of these jobs.
I don't know how I feel. I will have to get further into the guts of the operation before I form an opinion.