Posts Tagged ‘i-Pads’

How do you Assess a Student Who Knows More Than You Do?

August 12, 2012

I have a student who is more confident and knowledgeable when it comes to IT. I am more than adept myself, but I am no match for him. The funny part of that is that I have to assess and report on a child who knows more than I do.

I am sure I am not alone. Experts are warning that our children are becoming far more tech savvy that we are:

SCHOOLS should be braced for the next generation of tech-savvy children, experts warn.

RMIT lecturer in the school of education, Nicky Carr, said most children aged 1-4 were adept at tablet technology and smart phones.

“They are very quick to pick up how to make it do what they want it to do,” Ms Carr said.

“These devices are actually really fun and a small child enjoys the instant results that come from brushing their finger across a screen. You don’t need to be able to read or understand language to get something to happen on these devices.”

“It’s a challenge for schools to know how to build on that literacy.

“It’s a financial consideration for them how to equip the school with the devices and then how do they use the devices in ways that are educational?”

Click on the link to read The Top 50 Best Apps for Children
Click on the link to read The Cell Phone will be the New Pencil Case

Click on the link to read There is Still Some Love for the Forgotten Class Whiteboard


Are High-Tech Classrooms Just a Lot of Hype?

February 4, 2012

There is a current obsession with technology in the classroom. Even so, I would have thought that it was only sensible to bring as much technology as possible into the classroom. After all, we are trying to help children develop life skills. In today’s world technology is all around us. It is integral that our students have a familiarity if not competency with the latest in technology.

Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times disagrees:
Something sounded familiar last week when I heard U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski make a huge pitch for infusing digital technology into America’s classrooms.

Every schoolchild should have a laptop, they said. Because in the near future, textbooks will be a thing of the past.

Where had I heard that before? So I did a bit of research, and found it. The quote I recalled was, “Books will soon be obsolete in the schools…. Our school system will be completely changed in 10 years.”

the nirvana sketched out by Duncan and Genachowski at last week’s Digital Learning Day town hall was erected upon a sizable foundation of commercially processed claptrap. Not only did Genachowski in his prepared remarks give a special shout out to Apple and the iPad, but the event’s roster of co-sponsors included Google, Comcast, AT&T, Inteland other companies hoping to see their investments in Internet or educational technologies pay off.

How much genuine value is there in fancy educational electronics? Listen to what the experts say.

“The media you use make no difference at all to learning,” says Richard E. Clark, director of the Center for Cognitive Technology at USC. “Not one dang bit. And the evidence has been around for more than 50 years.”

Almost every generation has been subjected in its formative years to some “groundbreaking” pedagogical technology. In the ’60s and ’70s, “instructional TV was going to revolutionize everything,” recalls Thomas C. Reeves, an instructional technology expert at the University of Georgia. “But the notion that a good teacher would be just as effective on videotape is not the case.”

Many would-be educational innovators treat technology as an end-all and be-all, making no effort to figure out how to integrate it into the classroom. “Computers, in and of themselves, do very little to aid learning,” Gavriel Salomon of the University of Haifa and David Perkins of Harvard observed in 1996. Placing them in the classroom “does not automatically inspire teachers to rethink their teaching or students to adopt new modes of learning.”

I am a bit in the middle on this issue. I am in favour of all types of technology in the classroom, just not as a replacement for standard teaching. Those schools that are dominated by devises, lose out from the benefits of teacher/student interaction. But that is not to say that i-Pads in the classroom wont make any difference. It just means that those i-Pads are not more important to education than a quality teacher.

Schools Must Share the Blame With Parents

April 18, 2011

Teachers are great at blaming poor parenting for the bad habits of their students. Often it is completely justified. However, sometimes parents are not the only one that deserves the criticism. Sometimes when students present poorly at school, it is just as much the failure of the school to engage and enforce standards as it is the parents.

Take this case for example:

Teachers are warning that pupils are failing to pack their schoolbags with basic classroom equipment and instead are bringing mobile phones, iPods, hand-held computer game devices and even the latest iPads to school.

Some schools have even begun to introduce new agreements which require parents to ensure their children are equipped with textbooks and pens at the beginning of each day.

“They often don’t come to school with their books, or without their homework and sometimes they are lacking something so basic as a pencil to write with,” said Chris Keates, the general secretary of the NASUWT union.

“They come with all this electronic equipment, it would be nice if they just brought a pen.

“My message to parents is that you can send a very powerful message to your child about the importance of their schooling by making sure that they are ready to work when they get to class each morning.”

The problem will be discussed at the union’s annual conference later this week, which will also hear from schools which have drawn up “learning contracts” with parents to encourage them to take a keener interest in their child’s day-to-day progress.

Frustrated by pupils forgetting the basics but arriving with hundreds of pounds worth of electronics in their blazer pocket or schoolbag, one Sheffield teacher was instrumental in introducing a learning contract at his school.

The English and drama teacher, who declined to be named, said: “I teach children from some of the wealthiest backgrounds in the city but it was getting to be an absolute pain in terms of the day-to-day basics.

“It’s amazing how many devices kids carry around with them these days. Young people aspire to have these Macbooks and other expensive equipment but it seems to me that the priorities are skewed.

“They automatically reach for their MP3 players and so on, but not for the writing equipment.

“I believe they should be able to pick up a pen and construct a sentence, which is correct in terms of grammar and spelling, without resorting to an electronic spellchecking device which will probably give them an incorrect, American version.”

He added: “Our policy sees any forgotten equipment being marked in children’s daily log books for parents to see and I urge all parents in the country to check their child has the basic equipment for the school day.”

The Education Bill published in January proposed new powers for teachers to confiscate prohibited items, including electronic gadgets, and to also enable staff to examine data such as video clips for evidence of bullying or other bad behaviour.

A survey in 2006 found that 91 per cent of children owned a mobile telephone by the age of 12.

This article is a great example of teachers blaming parents for a problem they have a share in. The following points need to be made:

  1. If you have a child at your school for 5-15 years and they still haven’t grasped the concept of bringing pens and text books to class, you are not running a very good school. Where are your rules? Where are your expectations? Don’t blame parents for not overseeing their kids’ schoolbag – surely you can do more to enforce standards of organisation.
  2. What has mobile phones and i-Pods got to do with not bringing books and pens to school? If you have a problem with electronic gadgets, ban them or at least set some guidelines. Kids will always be drawn to modern gadgets. Don’t blame mobile phones for the lack of student organisation. There is no reason why kids can’t be taught the importance of balancing educational and extra-curricular activities.
  3. If you’ve got something to say to parents don’t do it through the media. Teachers and parents must work together. Articles that have teachers preaching to parents often create a divide which helps no one.
  4. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a likely reason for our students being so disinterested in their studies as to come to class unprepared, is due to the lack of engagement on the part of teacher. One of the most important skills a teacher must have is the ability to stimulate and interest their class. If their class seems bored, it is probably because they have a boring teacher. It’s so easy to blame parents and i-Pods, when the real issue is there are too many teachers who offer little and expect a lot in return.

You might accuse me of being disloyal to my profession. The truth is, I am a parent as well as a teacher, and I empathise and relate to both sides of this debate. Sure there is far too many parents out there that don’t get involved with their child’s educational needs. I hear horror stories all the time. But let’s not forget that teachers choose to enter this profession because they want to make a difference to their students. To do this, they must be prepared to work through all obstacles and challenges.

Apportioning blame is fine – just as long as all parties accept some responsibility.

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