Monday, December 29, 2008

Check out this new tool!

I am always looking for ways to improve teaching and learning. Today while browsing the Web, I came upon a curious tech tool. Now some would refer to it as a toy...not I! For any level of student, this is a great tool. A pen that will remember your pen strokes and then download the information to your computer to save/store for later. When you get tired writing, it'll record for you! Check it out here.

I love the implications of this for public education. What do you think?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Who says that our kids can't read?

I am in my 18th year teaching physical science, but in my first year of US History. It has been a bit of a struggle...a work in progress if you will. At times I feel like a first year teacher. I have been trying to bring in technology when possible and will continue to do so. However, my most successful lesson to date came not out of technology or some grandiose elaborate scheme. No, it came from reading. Let me explain...

We have just completed the Revolutionary War and are starting on the Article of Confederation (AOC). I asked the kids to brainstorm a list of issues that they would face when developing their own country. The list that they came up with was impressive...teacher certification, military, voting and so on. Here comes the reading part...I asked them to them read the AOC to find how these topics were addressed. They read and re-read looking for these things that the authors of the AOC did not include. They were shocked to find that if they, mere 8th graders, could come up with them and that our forefathers did not! And they had to read to be successful!

So don't tell me that our kids cannot read. They choose not to. So maybe it is not the reading that is the issue...maybe itis that we are not giving them the right reasons or motivation to read.

I welcome your thoughts...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Schools are Changing?

In this age of instant gratification using computers, I have a few concerns from a technology and an educational view.

1. If we are so tech savvy, then why was Sarah Palin vetted better?
2. If we are so tech savvy, then why are son many companies asking to be bailed out? Can it be that they were blind to what was coming or that they did not use technology properly to see what was coming?
3. If we are so tech savvy and want our students to be, then why do so many school systems block sites or worse, not have policies that govern technology use adequately or even worse, lack the hardware to use technology properly?

Just a few of my favorite questions at Holiday time...