Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Are Students Reflecting on their Future?

Do you have your students thinking about the challenges that lay ahead for them? Do you have them wondering what kinds of jobs will there be in their future? What tools will they use to do their job? What skills will they need? Here is a blog called http://www.21stcenturyquestions.com/ to get your students thinking about some of these questions and sharing their ideas with others. give it a try!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow!

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Over at http://www.businessinsider.com/21-things-that-became-obsolete-this-decade-2009-12, you can see a great list of items that became obsolete this decade. It got me thinking about how many of them we are teaching kids about.

1. Maps - When are we going to accept the fact that teaching kids about paper maps is a waste of time. More importantly, NOT teaching them about GPS, online maps, and mapping using phones is a terrible waste!

Phone Books, Dictionaries, Encyclopedias - The days of guide words is gone. Let's get our kids using online tools instead of teaching them skills they will never need.

Paper - While this might be an exaggeration to say paper is obsolete, it is clearly headed towards being unnecessary in many instances. Let's save some trees and teach kids how to be more efficient with new tools at the same time!

What other tools have become or will soon become obsolete? Which will greatly impact what or how we teach?

Analog clocks?

Newspapers?

Linear text?

What else?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Digital Coping Skills Continued

It is amazing how once you write about something, it pops up time and time again. It's like when you buy a new car and then all of a sudden you start seeing it everywhere.

I have seen so many examples of digital coping skills or lack thereof recently. One example that sticks out is the number of teachers who seem to believe that technology snafus only happen to them or that the snafus are their fault. I think this is a coping skill, recognizing that technology glitches are a part of using technology. This is much like accepting the glitches that come with other technologies. For example, if we run out of gas, we don't suddenly stop driving. If we cut ourselves with a knife in the kitchen, we don't stop cooking. If we get a bad grade on an assignment, we don't stop writing papers. So why do we let technology glitches become barriers to using technology?

Another example of digital coping skills occurred the other day when a group of teachers had difficulty logging into a web 2.0 tool. The chorus of "See? This is why we don't ..." was deafening. Really? Can I cite that old copy of Tuck Everlasting in my classroom library that has page 104 ripped out as a reason to stop teaching reading? Every year, in spring the glue sticks dry up. I guess the art projects will stop in March from now on.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the challenges that arise when using technology with students. I deal with them everyday. But we must begin coping with these issues as we do other issues in our classroom. While I am sensitive to the challenges of teachers, I am also sensitive to the needs of our students. They need us to develop these coping skills and accept the mess that teaching with technology creates. For all the mess, there is unbelievable opportunity!