Last Wednesday, we had three awesome presenters for ECMP 355. They discussed how they are currently technology in their classrooms and warned us about some of the myths about teaching and technology. I’m going to share with you one large idea that stuck with me from each of them. Our presenters were Kathy Cassidy, Clarence Fisher and Darren Kuropatwa.
Students using technology for their work (from Flickr)
Darren Kurpatwa talked about scribe posts. He explained how his students create their own textbook through scribe posts. At the end of every class a certain student is nominated to create the scribe post summarizing the class. He said that he had no part in creating the scribes, he simply comments on them the next day telling them what he liked about it and what could make it better. This idea really stuck with me. Today, in my field placement, I encouraged one student who knew what was going on to tell the other students what he knew. Within minutes the students who did not understood were well on their way to grasping the concepts. I would take at least twice as long myself for just a single student. This really goes to prove how incredible students teaching each other can be. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s the social factor, perhaps they understand each other better, who knows. What I do know, is that this works. I will definitely be incorporating this concept into my teachings in the future. I love the idea of the students creating their own text book and making as good and useful as they want it to be. I really think that this will be a powerful teaching technique, especially when you have access to the resources and technology capable of this kind of work.
Child using iPhone (from Flickr)
Kathy Cassidy discussed how she has been able to incorporate technology into her grade one classroom. I was really skeptical to think that students that young would be able to use technology effectively enough. She also discussed and dismissed various myths regarding using technology in education. The idea that stood out most for me was when she discussed how students need to have a balance of online work and pencil and paper work. In this day and age, being able to write with a pencil and paper isn’t good enough. Students will need to be able to type, text, and use video tools in their every day lives. No doubt paper and pencil skills are essential, but now, more than ever so are these technological skills. Education should being preparing students for the real world, the world outside of the school. The real world is no longer limited to pencil and paper. A student who is able to use these new skills in a productive manner when they graduate school will be one step ahead of his peers who did not get the opportunity to do so.
Students in Papua New Guinea connecting (from Flickr)
Clarence Fisher talked about his class and how they use blogs. The idea that he talked about that got me thinking was that we need to give our students a sense of community. We need them to know that it’s OK to look at other people’s work and to get information from others. When I was a student, I wasn’t given this luxury. If my thoughts didn’t come originally from my head it was as if I was cheating. We weren’t encouraged to build off of each others work. I can’t imagine how much better some of our projects or papers could have been had we been encouraged to work with one another. We need our students to not only know about the resources around them, but how to use them. The best resource they have is not the internet, but people. The internet has the ability to connect them to people who know things that may be interested in. Things that teachers may not be informed on. I will never know everything as a teacher, but I do not want that to hold my students back. If we, as teachers, can build this sense of community for our students, they will never have limitations on their learning.
I am really glad that our class was able to hear from these teachers. They’re words of wisdom and ideas will no doubt affect how we teach in the future. I hope other teachers will be able to get their message in some way as well.