Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Who's the Teacher?

As I started to get into blogging, it was my belief that I understood technology relatively well and was open to the possibilities of its use.  No fear of it, and I'm a believer.  I do the basics and would like to feel more comfortable in doing more.  The teachers in the district are strong in general, and they challenge me to stay up.  There's the background.  Basically I like tech and feel comfortable with it.

Until tonight...

My daughter, in fifth grade, sat down with me and proceeded to demonstrate to me what a true digital native does.  She just did it.  Didn't consider it, think about it, ponder its outcome...just did it.  Oh, and when something didn't work...a quick grumble and on to the next thing.  Water off a duck's back. 

It is that mentality that I wish I could master.  Go for it, try it out, big even, and then go try again.

No disrespect to the exceptional educators from whom I have learned so much in formal settings, but ...Thanks, Kennedy, for being one of the best teachers I have ever had in my life.



Scott McLeod said...

Well said, Marshall. Well said.

Now, imagine if we turned all of our Kennedys loose (and gave them the tools they need to do great academic work) in school!

Marshall said... my daughter, but still not sure I would want to unleash that on anyone!

Mike Thompson, Principal said...

No doubt about it; more often than not it’s the kids in the driver’s seat when it comes to navigation in a web 2.0 world. Earlier this week at the SAI breakfast in Clear Lake, I listened to a tech presentation by Scott’s colleague, Jamie Fath. Jamie echoed Scott’s message earlier this year with the full B-K staff; in short – change or die (I recall a PowerPoint slide with that slogan in Jamie’s talk). It seems we’re all on the verge of becoming dangerously irrelevant. Here’s my problem though….. Besides myself, there were 5 other principals sitting around the table during Jamie’s presentation. Afterward we were discussing the role technology plays in their buildings and districts – some were talking about their plans for 1-1; others were discussing the impact (or more accurately, headache) of social networking in regards to the day-to-day administrative fires that need to be put out. As the principal of a SINA school, my thoughts turned instead to phrases like “adequate yearly progress” and “annual measurable objectives.” The irony for me as an instructional leader of a school with two identified subgroups is that the “change or die” message itself seems dangerously irrelevant (sorry, couldn’t resist) when the only measure of my effectiveness when it comes to leading school changes rests with two, 40-minute tests on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Assuming you can get past the fact that the test has not been re-normed in 10 years, and assuming you’re okay with the thought that approximately 2 of the 1440-hour school year is the evaluative snapshot that determines SINA, and IF you can get past the fact that the test itself is designed to sort a population of students high vs. low via a Bell Curve even though the expectation is that ALL students will be proficient…….. even if we could somehow stomach all of that ……… the reality is that the test itself is still basically given in the same format as it was in 1935 when it was called the Iowa Every Pupil Test of Basic Skills. Where’s the Twitter feed on the Reading Comprehension portion of the ITBS? Where’s the peer-to-peer interactivity when it comes to Math Total without Computation? How much sense does it make to be working in a web 2.0 world one day and stepping back in time 75 years the next during ITBS week? Sometimes I find it very difficult to get my staff motivated to dig into new technology when we all know that next week I’m meeting with my SINA team to discuss how we can raise scores on our Spring ITBS. In spite of teachers engaging students with technology-based higher order thinking skills, it just seems like there’s a real disconnect and finding a way to bridge that gap gets more and more difficult as another year goes by and we’re still on “the list”. I know, I’ve heard it a hundred times…. The beast that has become NCLB is all more of a legislative frustration than one of school policy. I guess my question is, “When are politicians going to start becoming dangerously irrelevant???”

Tina said...

A lot of educators assume that digital natives are the students and recently graduated students we teach or have taught. I have been working with and teaching with digital natives that are approaching their 30's. Digital natives are here and are teaching amongst us everyday. Teaching is not changing but has changed. I am enjoying the process of letting them take the lead!

Tina said...

Just got on my sons DSi Nintendo game and Jared showed me how to get on the internet using wi-fi. Well number one I told him he had to wait until I read the book sized manual. (he commented the directions were fatter than the game). I had tried twice and could not do it. So he went to his room and came back and showed me how to do it.(minus reading the manual) So I got on my blogs through his game (could not post not sure why but Jared said he would figure it out) So this is good this is bad. Now I have to think over my rule about 3rd graders not having unlimited access to the web and how I am going to do that. I also as an educator wonder how many kids K-6 have similar games and can do the same thing and what sites are blocked. So off to play on the DSi and find out what you can do and what elementary children should not be allowed to do.

Kastendieck said...

Just got back from the 1 to 1 conference in Des Moines. The question of who is teaching was adressed but also the interesting question of' What is Learning". Most of the professional educators had a difficult time answering the question. Now why not ask the students to define it.

Marshall said...

Definitions are tricky that way, in my opinion. We seem to "know" or at least think we know what learning is - or looks like, appears to be, etc. - but to really put a definition together we struggle. Is the question now whether it is that we don't know or that we simply can't put into words what we want to express? With many topics I find this dilemma, and I still don't have an answer...or is it that I do have the answer but can't put it into words?

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