Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Opening Words to a Class of Middle School Computer Students

If I were to teach a class of middle school students what I thought was important for them to know before they left my class, my learning intentions message would begin something like this:

Greeting: Good morning / afternoon everyone: (I expect to be greeted in return).

You are not here to learn how to type. You are not here to learn basic file management, and you are not here to produce documents and perform calculations in a spreadsheet. These are just tools in a toolbox. It is however the biggest toolbox in the world, and the most powerful.

No, you are here for other purposes. You are here to discuss what is ethical, and what is not. To argue the black and white of right and wrong, and to fearlessly debate the grey area in between. You are here to express yourself honestly as a human being, and to find your real potential. You are here to create, and to share your creations with a bigger audience. You are here to learn how to protect yourself, and keep yourself safe when on the Internet. You are here to think critically. You are here to learn how to take criticism properly, and not let it make you jaded and bitter. You are here to learn how to use the tools that you will need to become a lifelong learner, and those tools are not the ones in the computer in front of you. They are the ones in your head. Let's begin.

Forcing yourself to blog is mererly force of habit

I am writing my blog on my vacation time because I realized something. This is how habits are formed. The key to blogging is not to think of blogging as learning how to use web tools, or even to reach an audience to one's profit. To begin with, that it....

The key to blogging is to be more conscious of your thinking. Every day, we let little gems of ideas slip through our fingers like sand. Every day, a bigger "nugget" of an idea is lost because we didn't take the further step of forming it a bit, chiseling away at it, examining it like a sculptor inspects a piece of stone for its potential and its flaws.

I think I would like a job in educational technology. I think that is where the next step in my career lies. But why? Is literacy less imporant? Numeracy? No, of course not, but I think we as teachers need to think of technology as something that occurs outside the school computer lab. It is the device, it is the medium, that our students express themselves with on an exponentially increasing basis. I wonder if I could get more students who are non-performers in literacy and numeracy to achieve higher grades and develop a deeper understanding of their subjects by honing their skills using technology as means of expression. I had bad handwriting and didn't like it. Once I overcame the learning curve of typing vs writing speed, I became more inclined to write.