Sunday, November 4, 2012
Blog Assignment #10
Papermate? Ticonderoga? What?
John T. Spencer shows us a cartoon of "Papermate" and "Ticonderoga". I have to admit that I was confused on what this cartoon is about. Because of that, I looked at several comments people made. In one comment, John Spencer replies, "it's a mock of 'I'm a Mac and I'm a PC' commercials." I am assuming that the "Papermate" is the PC and "Ticonderoga" is the MAC. The idea is that the "Papermate", or the "PC", is a lot cheaper to purchase but it breaks more often. Because it breaks more often, you would have to get it repaired or buy replacement parts. In the end, it will add to the initial cost. "Ticonderoga", or the "MAC", may not break as often or require repairs but it will cost more in the initial purchase. On a MAC, it's "assumed" that it requires fewer repairs but you will never know. It depends on the person using it. I say this because I've handled with PCs, varieties of MAC, am tech-savvy and responsible. I am helping someone determine which one to buy for his CADC (College of Architecture, Design and Construction) graduate study. For the specifications required, he would need to spend $2500 on a MAC laptop just to meet the minimum requirements. He will only need to spend $1000 on a Windows laptop to meet the minimum requirement. With the $1500 difference, he would need to do something really bad to the PC just to match the price of the MAC. The MAC "looks" a lot better though in terms of its look and interface. I think the point of the cartoon is no matter which one you purchase, they will do the same things you want it to do, fancy or not. Sometimes it may be better to go towards the "cheaper" route versus the "fancier" route.
John Spencer wrote a blog post called, "Why were your kids playing games?". Like what the title says, the principal asked him why his students were playing games when they should be "learning" and he should be teaching them. When I read it the first time, I immediately thought the principal was out of his mind. I stopped and questioned myself why I thought that way. It may be a biased opinion because of what I had to go through during my younger years. John Spencer explained to the principal that these games are advanced simulation games. These stimulation games engages the students and are interactive. The principal refuses to neither understand nor listen to him. The principal doesn't acknowledge these stimulation games and thinks that it doesn't help the students pass the rote memorization test. He tells John Spencer to go back to giving the students worksheets and packets in order to prepare the students for the tests. In the end, John Spencer uses these ideas and creates a game instead!
In another post, "Con Academy", Mr. Johnson meets with the principal. The principal discusses about "flipping the classroom" and ignores what Mr. Johnson had to say. The principal misunderstands what "flipping the classroom" really means. Instead of using technology or applying interactive methods, he wants to go back to students using pencils, working with packets, and follow the instructions it provides. What about teachers? The principal says that this academy program is "designed to fit the needs of teachers struggling to provide adequate intervention." He also said that the idea of "flipping the classroom" is to replace the roles of teachers! That is not what "flipping the classroom" means! This "academy" idea is nothing but a con like the free bagel the principal offered to him before the discussion. It is free and it looks good on the outside but it may not be on the inside. The school may look good in statistics and how it compares to other schools but it may not look good on the inside in terms of how the students are learning. You know what I imagined? I imagined a classroom full of robots.
After reading these two posts, I think Mr. Spencer is saying that schools are too focused on statistics, test scores, how the school looks in comparison to others, worksheets, packets, grand ideas and how that way of teaching in the administrations mind is not teaching at all! They worry about the school more than the students. The students are not robots! They need to be cared for and nurtured. They need to be "taught". Giving them worksheets and packets are not ways to teach students how to learn. Telling them to follow the instructions on the paper doesn't do anything! It just means that they can read. Teachers are there to teach! They are the ones who understand their students' learning process better than anyone! The principal doesn't. With worksheets and packets, they are just "doing the work". They are just doing what is "required". They are only learning how to memorize information and may be thrown out later. Some students may think it's fun but not the majority. School is not a prison. In order for students to learn, we need to apply interactive methods, establish relationships (limited), and make school "fun". In a way, it makes them eager to learn. They will understand that the teacher will help them if they have any questions. Because it's fun, the students are engaged. Once they are engaged, they will listen. Once they listen, they will learn. People tend to learn and remember things when it's fun. I know it is like that for me.
This reminded me of my younger years in school. It was all about worksheets, packets for vacation homework, studying for standardized tests, and etc. It wasn't fun because I was not engaged. I didn't ask questions because the teachers didn't seem to care. I was in the top class during my JHS years. It was not engaging. I felt like a robot. I was told what to do and how to do it. If I couldn't do it and follow the instructions, I would get kicked out. I did get kicked out! They didn't want to help! They didn't even bother asking me what is wrong or offer help! I basically cried in the office because of the transfer and felt that I was not given a chance at all! It's not that I didn't want to learn. I was afraid to ask questions because it was deemed a "bad" thing and "stupid" to. I did not feel the "nurture" or "care" from the teacher or school. I even attended tutoring sessions on the weekend to help me with my school work. Did that help? No, because it's the same thing. I was a robot in the tutoring sessions. I was given packets to practice on. That was it. This is not teaching and it should not be in our classroom! We should engage the students, make learning fun, and make the students our priority.
Dr. Scott McLeod is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the original video series, "Did You Know?". He also worked on an Iowa version of "Did You Know?" (shift happens). He is currently is serving as the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8 in Iowa. He is also recognized as one of the nation’s leading academic experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues. He is an advocate of technology use in today's classrooms. He helped create the country's first graduate program that is designed to prepare "technology-savvy" school leaders. He is also a blogger on The Huffington Post
In this post, "Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?", he gives us a list of things we should not teach our kids. He tells us not to teach our kids to read the web, write online, not to make videos, not to create a social network, not a pln, not to use cell phones, and etc. The list is very long! Basically, this is a list of things we should not teach our kids if one part is taken away. It's a sarcastic way of saying that it is contradicting to take one thing away but not another. There are people, educators, administrators, and etc. are too worried about incorporating technology into a classroom and into students' learning process. They fear that social networking, cell phones, blogging, having access to websites, and etc. will "corrupt" them. They want to prevent all this "corruption" by taking it away. Well, if they take one away, such as social networking, you might as well remove them from the classroom, take their cell phones away, not have them go to school, not blog, remove Facebook and twitter, and etc. As for using the internet, you cannot assume that they will go to a porn site. The internet is more than that. It's a place where a student can share their insights, gather resources and help them learn! The point is, you cannot protect your child or student from everything in the world. You cannot take away their internet access and not their cell phones. As for the school, you shouldn't remove technology and its uses as it will help the student's learn. If you do that, you might as well take away pencils and papers because there's no reason to write if you have no audience. This brings me back to one of my assigned C4T teachers, Andrea Hernandez. She wrote a great post about authentic audience! I agree with Dr. Scott McLeod. We may be worried about the safety of our students or children but that doesn't mean take it away from them. You can monitor in another way. In schools, students have access to the internet but it's limited!
This may be a good penny for your thought. If people are deathly afraid of what their students or children come across on the internet, how is that any different from television, especially with cable access? You can monitor what they watch and you can do the same for the internet. If you remove their internet access, you might as well not allow them to watch TV. Isn't that right?