Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

*Happy Dance*

The school tries, they really do, but when unblocking YouTube is seen as a progressive move- you have a problem (and a serious one at that).

Too often it is left up to the individual teachers to ensure that their lessons are technologically rich. Certainly, many teachers are stepping up to this task, but what about those who aren’t?

Too many students are leaving our schools with no idea about what is available to them on the internet or how to use the internet safely. For this reason integrating technology shouldn’t be an option, it should be mandatory.

“How to use the internet” should be the new “look both ways before you cross the street”. We need to show students how to use sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter safely. Unfortunately, that can’t be done if integrating technology is seen as a bonus rather than a requirement.

I came across this article this morning, about a mother who takes away her teenagers cell phones, ipods, laptops, and the television.

It’s likely that everyone reading this blog is a big fan of technology… and I obviously don’t refute its usefulness for a single moment. However, as the article shows, it’s also very important for everyone (especially kids and teenagers) to be balanced in their lifestyles and seek out entertainment and information from sources other than the internet.

Obviously we don’t all have to go to this extreme, but I plan on having a tech-free night for my spouse and I (our son is still way too young to care either way). I chatted briefly with my students today about this concept, and for a group of 15-18 year olds they were surprisingly accepting of the idea. A few even suggested that they might ask their parents to try it in their household.

Those of you who have been reading know that my challenge for 2011 is to use a new technology every week in my classroom.

Last week I began my challenge by introducing headmagnet to my class to help them study for their exams (I teach High School languages). As you can see from my review, the website was well-received by my students and many of them found it very useful. A few students even commented to me that they spent way more time studying with headmagnet than they would have normally.

I never cease to be amazed at how technology can motivate people to do things that they wouldn’t normally do, or do them differently than they might normally. In the case of headmagnet, the students who normally lack study skills or the motivation to use them seem to be much more confident about their upcoming exams than I would have expected. We’ll have to wait and see until we actually start exam preparations and for exam results to see if it has had a major impact.

Today I introduced StudyBlue to my students as a resource for collaborating with each other on study notes. Stay tuned for my review on friday as I get their reactions!