Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blogging for the Future

"In any given day, 68% of children under two will use a screen media, for an average of just over two hours (2:05)"-Pay Attention.  As I was watching this video shocked at the statistics popping up on my screen I realized my two and a half year old daughter was not only playing a video on my nook(that she turned on and started herself), she was also flipping through pictures on my iPhone(that she again, started herself.)  If that's not an "ah ha" moment I'm not sure what is!  As if this video and the video A Vision of K-12 Students Today didn't make me realize enough that we need to incorporate technology into our classrooms to help promote learning then watching my tech savvy two year old certainly did. 
I know there are many arguments out there that state that children are too involved in the technological world today and sometimes they need to power down, and I have to agree having a child sit in front of the Television all day watching movies or playing video games with no educational content makes me want to throw any such device out the window.  And I know in my example above my daughter was watching a video and flipping aimlessly through the phone looking at pictures of herself or my husband making an innumerable amount of ridiculous faces and laughing at each other , neither one having anything to do with education, but they definitely have their benefits as well.  The nook for example, has a number of educational games ranging from matching skills (auditory reception skills) to basic skills in letters and numbers al of which have had a huge impact on my daughters learning capability, and the fact that she can turn on the games and play them by herself gives her a major confidence boost.  And although she is definitely one of those children who has a limited amount of time to watch the T.V. she can still learn from the time she has, just the other day she was counting backwards from ten at TWO YEARS OLD! I asked her if she had been practicing that with daddy and she said no..."okay so where did you learn that?" her response "Oh mommy Dora just taught me."  Yes that would be the Dora the Explorer, with the talking monkey whose parents let her walk aimlessly in the woods alone and talk to wild animals...yup thats who taught her how to count backwards.  If that doesn't show you that technology can be helpful in education that you probably shouldn't be an educator.
So if our children at the age of two can do all this stuff and teach our older generations how to use these devices (which my daughter has done with my mother on numerous occasions,) then why are teachers so against using some of this to benefit childrens educations?  Well most of the time the answer is because its scary!  How are we supposed to teach using technology that we haven't even heard of?  We barely had computers and cellphones when we were growing up and now were expected to teach using them?  Well to that I say...how did WE get through our schooling years...its not like we walked into school knowing everything..just because now were the teachers it doesn't mean that we are no longer able to ask for help.  And speaking of asking for help, what better way to teach our students respect, responsibility, and communication skills then asking them to help set up a class Wiki or class Blog.  Its not teaching them how to to solve for X when 5X+12Y=14X(I don't even think that's a real equation), but it is teaching them three very important techniques that you actually need to learn in REAL LIFE!
If this doesnt make you think maybe we should pull some technology into our classrooms then here are a few more statistics that have made me think:
  • Children will have approximately 14 jobs before age 38, half of those jobs don't yet exist today.  So how does making a child write the same word ten times help them prepare?
  • Students have learned to "play school" studying the right facts the night before a test to pass and thus become a successful student.  How does this help them in the work place?
  • On average students in class only get to ask a question once every ten hours.  How do we expect them to learn when they're not even engaged in the classroom?
So next time your students are falling asleep in your class because they got bored watching your back as you write notes on the board and talk endlessly about something they don't care about.  Think about how you could use a blog or a wiki or anything that can engage your students and make them want to learn something.  Were teachers and its time to make learning fun again!

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you on two counts. First, there is much at children (even very young children) can learn with technology. I've seen what my grandchildren have learned from Dora and Diego programs. They also watched several excellent DVDs from immersion Spanish and about learning sign language. It's amazing how much they learned and retained.
    The second point that I agree with you on is that for many teachers the new technology is scary. Sometimes it even scares me in that it's so hard to stay current. However, through edublogs, Twitter and online seminars we can all stay relatively current and share our own good and bad experiences to help each other.