Monday, January 25, 2010

Today, as I was walking down the hall at my school, I had a great idea. Can you believe it for one thing and just wait until you here it. You are going to love this Dr. Strange coming from me. I owe it all to the video from the 1st grade class. I thought wouldn't it be awesome if I could get some authors to talk with my library classes via Skype. My kids would love this and I would get a kick out of it myself. See, my brain is coming around to all this technology stuff. Now to convince my Headmaster that we need a projector screen and access to Skype. I need to research all this and see how much this would cost. Anyway...excited about the possibilites.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ok Dr. Strange,

My brain is on overload. I have to say that I don't like it either. This, I fear is what is wrong with our world today. We are multitasking with our brains on overload. I just want it to slow down. Now that I have started on a such a positive note, I will move on to discussion of the first video Vision of Students Today.

In this video, students at a university give us insight into how many hours a day they spend emailing, watching TV, talking on their cell phone, texting, social networking, sleeping, eating, etc. The numbers totaled 26.5 in a day. One student holds up a sign that says "I am a multitasker". No one can multi task 26.5 hours in a day. That is my fear for these students. They are giving up something and it's not their cell phone time or their texting time. I fear it is there 3 and 1/2 study time. That is my concern with all this technology. We are losing what is important. We are going 90 to nothing for what? Making sure we tell our friends on Facebook what we are doing ever second of the day while our loved ones in the room are desperately trying to get our attention. Maybe I am giving myself away here but you get my point. They said "we didn't make this problem" but "it is our problem". I agree and I like that they said problem but I don't know if they identified the true problem. It is not the chalk board in the front of the room. Although I can completely identify with the frustation of a class size of a 115 and the teacher who never knows your name. I can identify with the text book prices being outrageous. But I am not completely sure that information goes hand in hand with how many text messages they send in a day. Is this a suggestion that if the information where emailed or piped through a computer instead of being taught in a classroom that their day would be better spent? I honestly don't believe that learning from a computer or a Iphone is better than a classroom. I see the problems our young people are facing today and I worry for my kids. We can't do more than we are our doing in a day. What is the answer? More use of technology - I just don't know if that is the best answer? We are fostering a world of people who want to be entertained and I worry about that!

Moving on to Ms. Hines blog. I thoroughly enjoyed what she had to say. I felt that she was right by saying that teachers being perpetual learners. We as educators need to be constantly motivated to learn in order to keep our students motivated to learn.

But what I really enjoyed was her statement that we can be 21st century teachers without technology. I want to say that for the record I DON'T hate computers or technology. I just so don't want it to replace the teacher or the teaching that goes on in the classroom. Nothing will impact a child more than a teacher who shows a child he/can is valueable and able to learn. When a child has confidence, he/she can do anything. Maybe computers can help build a child's confidence. I am willing to go with that - maybe more so today than I was a week or two ago.

I love the comment she made that she wants teachers to work smarter not harder. Yes, technology will facilite that in the classroom. Grades can be calculated, communication with a parents can be done with a touch of a button and in a teacher's timeframe, parents have access to grades at all times, and the list goes on and on. I beleive that technology can be a wonderful asset to the teacher.

On to Mr. Fisch's blog. I didn't agree with his even posting the comment made by another gentlemen that teachers who are technologically illiterate are jeopardizing our children. I commented at length on that. I feel that Mr. Fisch himself acknowledge that the comment was a bit too harsh. A teacher with a love for learning, love for teaching and love for children cannot and will not jeopardize a child simply because they can not operate the latest and greatest software. I also found some of the comments posted to his blog a little alarming. One in particular was by a Giondi that felt internet filters should be lifted or at least relaxed in our schools. Why and why? Children need boundaries and if as educators we don't provide those boundaries then we are not doing our job. The internet should be for teaching in a school setting and that can be done effectively with blocks. I thoroughly agreed with a Ms. Kohos who really went to bat for teaching who are lacking in their technology skills. She agrees that technology is good and necessary but that Mr. Fisch went a little too far. Thanks Ms. Kohos!

As for the numbers of how rapidly things are changing every second in the technology world...keep my head spinning won't you!

Wow! Those 1st graders are blowing me out of the water. I have to admit that I had never heard of skype or wiki before this class and they are using this stuff in there 1st grade class. Wow again! I watched this with my son at my side and I ask him what he thought of all that in the classroom. He is a five. His didn't have much to say until the DS popped up on the screen and he said "I have that one". I think it is great that they are getting to using these cool tools. I just hope they are learning what they need to succeed. I noticed that the spelling on the blog was not too good. I do realize they are in first grade but...are they getting enough spelling time in the week? Anyway...I will take the advice of the 1st grader who said "we should never say anything mean or that will hurt someone feelings". I think the site was cute and if that was my son in that first grade class I am sure I would be proud of all that he could do on his on.

With that I will say Good Night. My eyes need a rest!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My head is spinning...

I have to say before I get started that I am nervous about this blogging thing. It is new to me and I don't adjust to change well. This may be some of the reasons I am concerned with the rapid advancement in technologies and how these movies are expressing the urgency to keep schools as up to date in technology as possible. I am old school pen and paper and I have to say I like it that way.

I think I have put the cart before the horse. Let me back up. After watching Did You Know, my head was spinning with facts and data that I have never heard before. It scares me to think that I am supposed to be preparing children for jobs that have not even been created yet. Is there a teacher's manual for that. Just kidding (kind of). I don't think that the fundamentals of teaching should or would change just because technology is changing so rapidly. And I think it is sad that people are changing jobs so rapidly - 10 -14 jobs by 38. It seems as if we are a ADHD world. I didn't see any statistics on that by the way. How many of our children are diagnosed with ADHD with this rapid growth of technology. I think our children are suffering from TV, cell phone, Twitter, DS, WII, etc. overload. What kid rides a bike anymore or READS A BOOK. I am a librarian by the way and this is a daily struggle - getting kids to read a book. They would rather wait until the movie comes out. Don't get me wrong I know there is a need for technology. With that I will move on to Mr Winkle Wakes.

Mr. Winkle wakes after sleeping for 100 years to find that buildings and hospitals were full of machines printing information and people talking to other people on small screens. All this was too much for his brain to take in. He finally finds a school and it was just the same as it was 100 years old and he feels safe and good again. Well, I guess we know what the message is here. The schools are behind technology wise and we as a nation of educators like it that way. It is what is comfortable for us. While I can understand the need for techonology in the classrooms, I feel that schools should not be competing with hospitals and workplaces as far as technology. Children are sponges - I get that. They will learn what is made available to them. We put the most advanced computers in their classrooms and they will learn how to use them - probaly faster than the teachers. However what will that replace? Will that replace story time, centers, hands IN THE paint art, one on one teacher child interaction? I believe that there is a push to move us ahead with technology but there has to be a balance between the old and the new. Not all the old is bad. Kids need real life teachers and they need pen and paper to work it out, create, LEARN. I just don't want us to end up like the humans in WALL-E - completely dependent on technology for every aspect of our exsistence.

On a lighter not, I thoroughly enjoyed The Importance of Creativity by Sir Ken Robinson. When I say lighter note, I don't mean the information is less valuable. Quite the opposite. I just mean that I thoroughly enjoyed his since of humor. He spoke about children being born artists and they grow out of it through the education process. He feels that education places values on things such as math and science and gives little value to the arts. I gleened alot of this movie. Every child is different, every child will excel in various areas, and every area including the arts are equally valuable to the education of the whole child. If you ask me how to do chemical equations I may - at 36 - not remember how to. However, I can remember making turkeys out of pinecones in kindergarden and how proud I was of mine. On the other hand, I may not remember all the colors in the color wheel (which I learned 4 semesters ago) but I can remember being extremely proud of my handwriting and spelling skills in the 4th grade. Ms. Pierre made me feel like I was the smartest, most creative child in the whole world. She commented on everything from my artwork, to my writing ability, to my reading and spelling. You get my point. She encouraged me in every aspect of my learning including the arts. My kids (5 & 3) have the best imagination and although I am very proud of what they do at school, I love to tell people they use their imagination. That is what being a kid is all about - creative expression. Stiffle that and a child will be afraid to tackle things that are out of their comfort zone.

Finally, I watched Harness Your Students Digital Smarts. I get the importance of this as a creative measure. Letting children express theirselves and feel good about creating something on the computer. I still remember taking computer in 7th grade and writing a code that would allow a ball to jump across the screen on my computer. That was a big deal then. I want go on and on about too much technology. I think I have made myself clear.

Dr. Strange - I hope I have not made an F in this class already. I would like to say that for the record my husband is a computer programmer so technology supports my family. I am not opposed to equipping our children for the future just wanting balance especially with regards techonolgy.