Tag Archives: school

Red Tape – Technology in Teaching

I am working on creating an assignment for one of my maths classes. It’s pretty good, even if I did find the initial idea for it on the internet. My issue is – I think it would work really well as an interactive website, but the amount of red tape I would have to go through to make that happen – in a school that says they are forward thinking with technology – is just not worth the struggle. I think I’m going to have to go back to the trusty pen and paper for this one.

Someone told me a few months ago was that the online world and the ‘real’ world are not seperate – they are in fact one and the same. If this is the case, then we should really be breaking down the barriers to functioning in an online space, whether it be as a business, a professional, a school, or a student. The earlier that kids learn how to safely function online the better, as that is the world that they will be living in when they graduate. If they are prevented from interacting online in a supportive environment throughout their schooling years, what are they going to do when they are suddenly in the ‘real world?’

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As for me and my assignment, I’ve decided to go with pen and paper for the time being. I have suggested to my colleagues that we work towards having an interactive space in the future where students are able to collaborate both with their teachers and each other online, however the amount of paperwork and meetings and permission and red tape that would be involved for that to happen at the moment is just too much.

We know we are going through an educational revolution. We are no longer churning out industrial workers, and because of this, chairs and tables in rows and the teacher at the front of the room isn’t going to cut it anymore. If we are trying to make big changes to the way education is taught and the way schools function, we can’t just wave a magic wand and let it happen overnight. Big change requires time, as well as a shift in culture and in attitudes.

The content and way the material is presented is already a shift – I am trying to encourage my students to apply their knowledge and thinking to real world situations, and to integrate their knowledge over a number of curriculum areas. This will already be a big shift for them. Remember, students expect school to be the same as the way their parents have experienced it, and vice versa. The same applies to teachers too – but that is a subject for another day.

Baby steps.

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Our lives in photos

I’ve been thinking lately about our need to capture everything we see in both our lives and while on holidays on camera. Of course, then we immediately post these photos to social media, instantly documenting our experiences in a personal museum, for others to peruse.

Are we that obsessed with capturing the moment that we forget to actually experience it? While we didn’t all grow up in the instant sharing generation, most of us now have completely ‘adapted’ and feel like we will miss something later, if we don’t capture it now.

Our students, however, have completely grown up in this universe. I remember a time not so long ago where I went through a phase where I had to have all my photos (much less numerous per time period than now!) immaculately organised, and each one of them recorded via social media. Now, I tend to upload ‘as I go’ and am much more likely to use a mobile device to do so, however I am finding I’m only uploading ‘highlights’ of the collection, so to speak.

This has made me think about the impact on my students and for my classroom. If our students have grown up in a world where capturing each and every moment is seen as the norm, they are much less likely to stop and experience a moment for what it’s worth and may go through life with only a superficial view and superficial knowledge of their experiences.

Perhaps we should be taking the time in our classrooms to reflect on the value of reflection!

It’s worth thinking about.

Prac is difficult!

Yes I realise I’m stating the obvious here, but yes prac is difficult. You are essentially walking into someone else’s classroom with someone else’s students with already established routines, and even if you are introduced effectively and professionally (as I am lucky enough to have been), you are still to a certain extent seen as a visitor by the students and they treat you accordingly.  No such thing as the students taking it easier on you cos you’re a uni student – they try their best to test your limits!

That being said however, prac is a really valuable time to learn as much as humanly possible about classroom management, and about the technology available for use in the classroom and to practice using it. It is also a lot easier than taking a full teaching load, and usually less hours involved than for the permanent staff as much as you do try to get involved in as much as possible.  I am 2 days into my final 20 day placement, and it has finally clicked that content is not anywhere near as important as practicing your classroom management skills on your prac.  Think about it – with no experience in the classroom but at least an undergrad degree under your belt in your chosen field, which are you going to be better at – content or classroom management?  Ahhhhhhh…..

I have also learnt that consistency is key.  Not only within the classroom, but a whole school approach can really make a big difference.  My school has developed a whole school Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) plan over the last few years which all staff have had input into, and school rules are visible and actively taught and reinforced in every class.  So it doesn’t matter what class the students are in or what teacher they have, the rules and expectations are always the same.  That also makes it really easy for a newcomer like me to come in and take a class, as they already know the rules, and I just have to remind them.  Regularly.  But it works!