How do I start? I have been feeling a little frustrated with something that I have been seeing and hearing about technology in the classroom. I think this blog may become more of a little rant. But first, here is what I have observed this week in the field study of wonderment!
I have been having the students blog twice a week, once in class and once at home. The parents’ feedback has been very good. Some have said they see the students asking more questions at home. The students are wondering how things work, and why things are the way they are. For myself I have seen that the kids are asking deep leveled questions and wanting to explore them. I now even have parents sending in their wonderings on post its to add to our Wonder Wall. Parents have asked if they are allowed to blog and comment on students’ blogs. Many have said they love the idea this week of blogging a class blog. The kids come home wanting to share what they did over the day. I have only had one negative comment. As result I tell the students it is not necessary to blog at home, they can do it in the school lab or the classroom compter. The main idea for our blog is for the students to share their wonderful thoughts and questions with each other and their families.
Currently , I have been asked the question what are the benefits of the smart board in the classroom. During this week’s student leds I was able to discuss this use of technology in the classroom. I see the smart board as a tool, a springboard for lessons, and its screen is great when sharing our blogs with each other. Sure, it is a great way to grab the students’ attention, but one should never use it as a substitute for a teacher or a real life experience. I will share two things I have seen and heard, I will keep names and places out of this.
I have seen the smart board as a way to subdue the students. To simply use it as a tool to entertain them and keep them quiet. Sure there are times when I share a minute video clip to tart a conversation on animal adaptations or what not, but this does not happen on a regular basis. Using Tumblebooks as a read aloud tool may be great if it is something you are teaching with, a tool to add to a lesson. I have seen this tool only used to keep the kids occupied until the classroom teacher can pick them up after their prep time is over. It kills me to see this. We have taken resources away from another area, an area where the board was used as a tool, to simply entertain the students. I am in awe of this, and frustrated. And we wonder why some parents see that it is only a big TV screen. What can we do?
Second thing I have heard; A friend of mine was discussing her niece who is in grade nine. She is now left school to be home schooled, because she finds school boring and not engaging in any way. Guess what? The school she is leaving has smart boards. My friend asked her niece why she was not liking school. She said that it was all teacher talk, and there was not any hands on lessons. My friend said, knowing what I do with my board, what is the smart board used for in the class. Her niece gave her a great example, and yes I laughed.
The teacher was teaching them about static electricity. Now, we all know what great things you can do to spring the students into their own hands on experiments here. Using notebook software the teacher drew a circle on the interactive white board and dragged it around the board to demo static electricty, this was followed by a teacher talk. Again, I am in awe.
Discussing media literacy this week in class, one has to wonder. We as teachers need to support each other in this ever-changing learning of students. Things are changing so fast, and those of us who feel a little advanced in technology need to encourage, engage, and support our colleagues. I am feeling overwhelmed with all this. After last weeks discussion online, my brain hurt for three days. I could not stop thinking about it. I have decided to start teaching more about online safety with my grade ones and twos next week. I have found a great resource made for primary students, and yes I will share it!