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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blog Assignment 2

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today

I would first comment that this was an interesting class project. I wonder which points made were most important to the students. What would the sequel entail? Would the students have suggestions for presentation alternatives to the chalkboard that would be more interesting than Facebooking during class?

I admit that I would probably be no different than today’s students if I were 20 plus years younger and had a ton of time at my disposal. I was a telephone junkie during high school (I remember the day we got the 20 foot phone cord and I could take the one phone to my room and maybe a brother or two would trip over the cord every now and then.). I stayed connected with friends – in person. But if I could use my iPhone and keep up with them all day, every day, I probably would. Not to mention my friends in Istanbul, New Zealand, and New Mexico I would have made while Facebooking. Being connected is just plain cool!

After graduating in 1991, I’m now back in school, acquiring my teaching certificate. The statement “I’m a multitasker” emphasizes an attribute about today’s students that was not present when I was in college (the first time ). When returning to college life, I was really surprised at the number of students who are so preoccupied during lecture with texting, Facebooking, or even shopping online. I sometimes joke that it’s the new ADD. I don’t see it as multitasking, but as distraction. Facebooking or texting doesn’t take a lot of brain power and the interaction may only require attention for many segments, only seconds in duration. Presentation of a complicated topic requires time to understand the key concepts, put them to work, and solidify the theme, theory or method. Disrupt that with multiple short breaks and it is difficult to solidify the theme.

I’m absolutely in support of technology in the classroom. Absolutely! And I’m absolutely in support of lecture that is full of interactive examples or out of the box information that a single textbook couldn’t contain. Lecture that is exciting, thought provoking, challenging and organized, without being a sleeper. And I’m absolutely in support of keeping focus on the goal of the lecture without the distraction.

As for the student whose neighbor paid for class but never came, is that due to the structure of the class? What would convince him to come to class? Is it technology? Is it relevance of the material?

"It's Not About the Technology" by Kelly Hines at

Well said by Kelly Hines, that good technology doesn’t mean good teaching. I couldn’t agree more that teachers need to be eager to use the technology, but most importantly eager to “do amazing things.” I liked her comments about teaching and learning not being the same. Knowing what makes these children want to learn, how they learn, and what motivates them is going to be the key. There is a common thread in several of the blogs or clips that I have seen this last week which really brings to light that students are learning differently and desire different than the traditional classroom and curriculum offer. Programs like 21st Century Teachers are fascinating to me. They are even more fascinating when I learn of initiatives that have worked.

Karl Fisch: Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write.

Extreme? Maybe. Your thoughts?

Only possibly extreme, I must say. If being technologically literate means using email, surfing the web, and using computer aids like word processors and spreadsheets, then I think it is imperative that teachers be technologically literate. These are tools that can make them more effective and reduce non-value added work, hence theoretically allowing more time for teaching and lesson development. Those few basic technology skills can allow exposure to specific teaching methods offered and proven in many areas of the world, a virtually endless supply of teaching materials, and supplements to the textbook. And maybe there is no textbook, only computers and links for the children to work with. I feel it should be required to have basic technology skills, but even more important to develop and use them in your school for teaching and ancillary functions.

Gary Hayes Social Media Counts
Watch the Social Media Count change every =second when you click on this sentence. Think about these changes that are happening at such an astounding rate. What do they mean for your professional career as a teacher?

My first thought about the information is that the activity for the technology social network is overwhelming. I wonder if the activity is even more rapid when students are out of school (it is currently 1:19pm CST).

Social life for middle school and high school students is a big part of their day. Since I plan to be teaching one or the other, understanding their social networking and what occupies their time is going to be important. So, what is Second Life? And why is Twitter so much more active than Facebook in terms of posts? Also, by which means will a student rather communicate with me; through email or Facebook?


  1. I do believe that you can be a great teacher without using technology, but I believe that it is much harder to do so. I also believe that some benefits to students can only be facilitated through technology like creating relationships with students in other countries (aside from the pen-pal think.)

  2. Jackie,
    I really enjoyed reading your comments. I too thought the same about the Social Media Count. It was a bit overwhelming and I couldn't believe what was going on every second. I never thought about what the count would look like when school isn't in session so thanks for pointing that out.

  3. I love the fact that you will connect with the students in whatever community you can. There is no substitution for poor teaching, and no matter what grade level you work in, you will have a diverse group of people and abilities.
    Involving a community, wether it is the local church or twitter, allows a connection that is natural and comfortable for the children. I believe one of the greatest attributes we can give to children is confidence, because it allows them to attempt and achieve.

    Teaching is similar to being a parent, and to be a good parent I have to know my children, what they need, what they want, what is appropriate, and how I can help them develop.

    I do not have television in my house because it does not help with development in any way. Yet, I encourage my 28 month old daughter to use a video camera and phone. My daughter can have a five minute plus conversation with her big cousins. I do not know many children who grasp that concept at that age, never mind have the attention span to chat for five minutes on a phone. I think television is the cause of many students not being able to stay off inappropriate sites in school when they are trying to learn; I think media and technology should be a part of every persons development, but used appropriately. The problem for us, the teacher, is that we have to connect with all the students and use whatever tools we can in middle and high school.

  4. I posted a comment on the "baby" using the Iphone proficiently (see class site) that I think shows inappropriate behavior. We both talk about the little brain power that is needed to be able to use and focus on facebook and similar things, and how this is along the lines of ADD.

    There is a reason why babies/toddlers have to read the same book over and over, why we repeat the same lesson over and over, and why we encourage toddlers and babies to play independently for as long as possible; it is not to kill creativity but allow them to focus on a problem that is not as stimulating or instant and still feel comfortable. Routine is the important thing with babies and toddlers. Nap time, bed time, story time, milk time, etc. Not everything in life is meant to be fast paced answered immediately, critical thinking should/can involve a process and reflection. What happens when something is not exciting and cutting edge...they shut off and seize to learn, my job as an educator is to learn all that I can and help others develop. Why would anyone then think that it is fine to not cover all the basis because the baby is getting an edge up on other babies in certain other areas? Isn't that why we are learning to use technology? So that we can become more rounded and pass this on to the children. What happens when he can't have it his way? Anyway, this is just my thoughts.

  5. " What would the sequel entail? Would the students have suggestions for presentation alternatives to the chalkboard that would be more interesting than Facebooking during class? " Good questions for your podcast. Or for your special movie project.

    "If being technologically literate means using email, surfing the web, and using computer aids like word processors and spreadsheets," My opinion is that these things won't cut it anymore. Take a look at my video which was the first post on the class blog this year.

    "So, what is Second Life?" Try Teacher Reboot Camp. Follow the two links there for more information.

  6. I very much appreciate Jim Fawcett's comments. Yes, it is our job as educators to learn all we can about meeting the needs of the students. I'm sold. Technology can absolutely help in that. I comment on it in my post on my Blog Assignment 3 post under the baby and the iPhone. In the short time I have been in EDM310, i feel my eyes have been opened to the applications in class and the culture of the technology age with students early on and well into their educational careers. As a future middle or high school math teacher, I look forward to using technology to enhance their creativity in problem solving, exposure to real life math applications, ongoing discussion via blogs on solutions or contemplations. For about 4 days now, I've been dreamy about recording my lectures for a class website library for those not proficient in notetaking or in need of review. I would love to see some way to electronically submit math homework, where they do it online in a math based Google Docs type format with the ability to perform collaborative problem solving, peer tutoring, and study groups all on line. Can someone point me in a direction for where to start looking for that?

    Thanks again for your comments!

  7. Thank you for your feedback to help me get in the game, Dr. Strange.