I just attended a party where the majority of all the mini conversations were either about Facebook or Twitter. I sat at and ate with a Sociologist High School teacher who grumbled about how his teens were always needing bathroom breaks to go text a friend about the latest breakup discussion that was going on. He talked about how interfering this was in his class, how disconnected the kids were, how they have lost the ability to focus on their learning because of how the Internet kept their social lives going on. I was so mad at how he doesn’t get the newest, most exciting trend that is going on in education! If he complained about how technology interfered with his teaching, how come he can’t see that he should tap into this new revolution to enhance his teaching! I asked if cell phones were allowed at his school. No, of course not, but they all have them, but aren’t supposed to have them on. So, if they have them, and they really have them already on, why not use them? Have the kids continue conversations going on in the classroom by texting their ideas to sites like Twitter, Yabber, Edmodo. I have seen where a teacher, in a lecture based, large classroom used cell phones to allow all to share ideas. They allowed others, outside of the class, to chime in their thoughts on the topic. It allowed kids who weren’t the self-confident ones to vocalize their thoughts through the use of technology. I have seen, first hand, a teacher whose students were irresponsible, lazy, disconnected to the old fashion 20th Century teaching style – tap into this new revolutionary style of teaching and grab her students interest. The students blogged, connected with other classrooms, created multimedia presentations, used free tools off of the net and, in turn, all 70+ students scored in the 90 percentile or higher on their writing exam. Their scores offset the national norm for the Independent Schools writing exam. The kids worked at night, and on the weekend on their assignments. If teachers, like the High School teacher I conversed with tonight, don’t see the worth of that these technology tools have and can’t adjust to this new revolution going on in the classroom then I feel sorry for the students and ashamed that educators, who chose to enter a career to capture students’ interest to teach and instill idea of loving learning, are working in this field. Teachers need more professional development in this new revolution. They need to understand and be made to grasp this new era by administrators, parents, and students. It would benefit them, the students, the classroom management, the interest in learning, and so much more. I am just baffled and disappointed.
Party Discussion May 31, 2009