Friday, September 21, 2012

Can and Can't


For this post, I've decided to reference two blogs that I read today, both of which struck me in complete opposite ends of the spectrum.  We'll call them rumble and humble.  The first one might want to make you rumble, as it deals with political barriers.  Reading the recent post on 2 Cents Worth 's blog, David Warlick brings up an excellent point that we are going to have to deal with as future teachers.  Politics is in everything whether we like it or not, and it always seems to go against us.  Warlick writes about politicians who make up the regulations and procedures that educators are supposed to follow; however, close to zero (if any) of these politicians have ever had firsthand experience at being a teacher.  So how do they know what is best for the classroom?  The school?  The students?  Some say that they don't, others may disagree.  All I know is that it would be nice to have former teachers in politics to help draw up regulations for education.  Does this make you want to go into politics?  I've honestly thought about it.

Now we are going to flip the script a little bit.  Now that you are all fired up over politics and how unfair it is, take a step back.  This is the humble part.  Vicki Davis is one of the inventors of the Flat Classroom Project and the author of the Cool Cat teacher blog (click her name above).  But today I didn't read about new educational ideas, I learned about life.  Vicki wrote about the little things in life and it really made me stop and think.  I know that we are going to be educators and we are in school and have jobs and families and friends and everything else that pressures our lives but when it comes down to it, a breath of air is all we need.  The little things in life are more important than the big ones, and we need to take a step back now and then and just take it all in.  Read a book, eat some chocolate, go for a walk, watch a sunset, just... breathe and be thankful that you are in the position that you are in.  Most of us can't change politics right now, but we CAN breathe.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Technology vs. Talknology

For this post, I want to talk about an issue that I recently discovered thanks to Dean Sharenski.  He wrote a blog last week about how technology is making us more self-centered because we are not talking as much.  Those "useless" conversations that you have with people about the weather or their grandparents are diminishing, leaving people with just conversations (whether online or off) about what they want to know exactly at that time and nothing else.  He really brings up a good point here.  Because of email or social media, we can respond to others' questions when we want, in as little text as we want.  There is no more learning about second cousins or who is going where this weekend.

Talking on the phone is a thing of the past, but I still think that it is necessary for success for people to engage in these "meaningless" conversations.  The main reason, it shows people that you care.  Especially in the field of education where we have to, want to, and are going to be caring for our students and others in our field, we have to be caring and listen to them no matter what they are speaking about.  Listening to a ten year old boy talk about a fishing trip could be the difference between him paying attention during math or talking to his friends.

This is one of the small negatives of technology that may or may not have an impact on your life, but I found it interesting nonetheless.  Emailing now allows people to send heartless responses whenever they want.  Replying to a post on Facebook allows you to refrain from showing the emotion you would need in a face to face conversation.

Now I am not saying that technology is bad, and if anything I love all of the social media connections and whatnot, but as future teachers, we need to make sure that we take the time to slow down and just enjoy a nice "boring" conversation with our students and others to show that we have a heart, that we care, and that we are here for them.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ipads: To Use or Not to Use?

Taken from

In many schools across the country from kindergarten to high school, iPads are popping up more and more to help students with their education.  There appears to be a positive correlation between students using iPads and their overall achievement.  Students who used iPads in their lessons gained more and came out ahead of their peers who did the same lesson without an iPad.  Check out this story and more iPad use stories at this website!

However, one of the negatives of having iPads in the classroom is managing students' attention and making sure during free or work time that they are using the iPads appropriately.  IPads can obviously access the internet which could assist students in getting off task.  Appropriate instruction and monitoring of students needs to take place until the students are able stay on task on their own.

Check out this video of just one of the many examples of how iPads are being utilized in the classroom.

This brings up another question.  Is there too young of an age for this type of technology?  In my opinion there is.  I think that children in kindergarten will learn material whether they have a textbook or an iPad.  Just as long as they get the raw information that they need and they have it encoded in their minds, iPads are not necessary.  In a text that I am currently reading for another class, Jane Healy writes that childrens' minds are developing constantly in their early elementary years, and throwing too much technology at them could disrupt this evolution.  One of the quotes that sticks with me from a chapter in Failure to Connect says "After you've developed your own brain, then you can have an artificial one to play with" - mother from Canada.  I can really see where this is true and that students should not be pushed with too much that would overload their memory capacity.

Overall, I think that technology such as the iPad is an excellent idea for students.  It will help them become more engaged, as well as teach them how to use technology in our always evolving world.  The one problem that I have is using technology too soon.  Students need to be allowed to develop themselves before they worry about gadgets.  But once they mature enough, bring on the technology!