Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?
Scott McLeod is the director of UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the co-creator of the "Did you know?" video series and the author of the blog Dangerously Irrelevant. In his post "Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?" Dr. McLeod writes a satirical letter to those who fear technology in schools. I found this particularly timely as I was having a discussion with my sister-in-law about this very topic earlier today. She told me the highschool where she teaches color guard doesn't have wifi. Why? Because, as Dr. McLeod states in his post, "we can't trust them". Them being the students. Because there is a pervasive lack of respect for our students on a very basic level. There is this belief that we have to shield these high schoolers from the outside world. We have to make sure that we control every piece of information that they encounter. Plus, if we just ignore all this technology stuff it will eventually go away right? What happens when they graduate and go to college? They know exactly how to use the internet and their cell phones to plan a party and order a video game. They know exactly nothing about using the amazing power of technology to learn and create and collaborate.
The iSchool Initiative.
In this video Travis Allen, a high school senior, presents his solution to the budget crisis in his school district. He proposes a switch from physical media to electronic. The main tool in this being the apple iTouch. All textbooks, assignments, and grades would be accessed through this tool. Mr. Allen suggests that this would decrease costs by $600 per student and make schools greener.
I think this is a very creative and well thought out idea. Going green should absolutely be a major focus for our schools. It is a great lesson for our kids and important for our environment. The apps discussed in the video are innovative and certainly could increase collaboration and make the sharing of information between teachers, students, and parents much more efficient. However, I don't know if this is the best device for achieving these goals. I would be really unhappy if I had to read my textbooks on a 3.5 inch backlit screen. Our schools do need to increase their use of technology; I understand that kids know how to use the iTouch and the interface is incredibly intuitive but, I'm not going to write my blog posts or research a paper with it. In short, I like the theory but, I don't like the method. The same thing could be accomplished with laptops or netbooks that provide a larger screen and a full physical keyboard. The apps for grades, lunch menus and assignments could easily be replaced by a well structured school website with blogs for individual teachers.
The Lost Generation.
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir.
Teaching in the 21st Century.