One of the blogosphere’s more intelligent educators, DanMeyer, suggests that a large percentage of teachers are innovative.
Realize that if you’re a teacher and you’re reading a blog post, you’re automatically seeded in the top 10% of innovative educators. You’ll try anything once. Let’s also go with Jack Welch and assume that 10% of educators are hopelessly and/or willfully incompetent.
Convince yourself, then, that 80% of teachers exist on a sliding scale of innovation and are basically up for grabs. Those who don’t want to try [x] aren’t necessarily bad educators. They may have made a rational calculation that [x] isn’t easy enough, fun enough, or free enough to adopt.
As evidenced by the many comments on Dan’s post, this is a hot-button issue.
Beyond the specifics of Dan’s X and Y musings, the foundation of the commentary got me to wondering; are educators truly innovative, or do they see new technology and flinch, when someone suggests that they try integrating it into their classrooms?
Not more than a few short years ago, you could e-mail a student and not give it a second thought. As Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at NYU’s business school quickly learned, things have changed.
According to eCampus News, Galloway responded to an angry student’s e-mail with a derisive reply, and shortly thereafter, it was traveling through cyberspace, faster than you can say Sincerely Yours.
Although teachers in the K-12 world are less likely to e-mail students, many do. I certainly have. Stories like this one about Galloway should make teachers take a moment of pause before responding to any e-mail from a student or parent.
You never know when your e-mail will become the hottest tweet or Facebook post on the Internet.
According to eSchool News, the government has released its National Educational Technology Plan, which calls for sweeping edtech reform. Or does it?
As eSchool News reports:
“The plan, called “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” calls for engaging and empowering learning experiences for all students; standards and assessments that measure key 21st-century skills and expertise; a shift to a model of “connected teaching,” in which teams of interconnected educators replace solo classroom practitioners; always-on connectivity that is available to students and teachers both inside and outside of school; and a rethinking of basic assumptions, such as seat time, that limit schools’ ability to innovate.”
Maybe I’m missing something, but when I started teaching 18 years ago, we worked in academic teams that functioned precisely as the plan outlines above.
We used interdisciplinary learning, team- and co-teaching and used the connectivity mentioned above.
Granted, our technology was not what it is today, but we did have technology and used it.
“Reform” may be the wrong word
None of this is to suggest that the plan is not important and that this is not what we should be doing in education. It just seems to me that rather than reforming, we may just be coming back full circle.
An interesting post at Adventures in Teaching and Learning outlines “points of disconnect” between teaching “effective teaching.” Basically, the post contends that there are things that keep some teachers from being effective — some of which are personal.
Adding my two cents
The blog post covers five areas of disconnect, but I’d like to add a sixth — unwillingness to improve technology literacy.
Even as technology advances explode in this new millennium, I still see teachers and administrators who are unwilling to accept this explosion and refuse to embrace the kinds of web-based instruction that students desire.
This sort of disconnect has got to stop, and it’s up to all parties involved — government, administrators, teachers and parents — to make it happen.
Here we are for Round Two of the Tweets of the Week, something that I hope becomes one of your favorite attractions.
We had a nice start last week, and thanks to a great suggestion, there are no retweets this time. Remember, I welcome your suggestions for this weekly feature. As always, my humble commentary is next to each Tweet in parentheses.
The versatility of a wiki-hosted classroom web site allows teachers to empower students to create many wonderful learning experiences. An embedded slide show is just one example of a myriad of modules that some wikis provide.
Although it’s not part of the wiki, a Jing video screencast can be linked or embedded on the wiki-hosted classroom web site, demonstrating how other tools, like the slide show are used. The example below is a Jing video I created in minutes and linked on my classroom web site, in order to teach my students how to create and embed a slide show on their student web sites, as part of a research project.
The students enjoy these instructional videos, which they can view as often as they need. They love creating slide shows even more.
I’ve been thinking about blogging in the classroom lately. My students do most of what would be considered blogging on web pages on their individual web sites on my classroom web site. It’s not blogging in the way we think of blogging, because their posts can only be seen by me, unless I share them in class with a projector and white board.
I have used a standard blog platform in the past, and my students love it. The difficulty is having them complete school assignments that I don’t want other students to see. Ultimately, this is what brought me to the wiki-based private student web site.
So, are you blogging? If so, what kinds of activities are your students doing in the blogosphere?
Feel free to comment.