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Are you engaging your students?

I stumbled across this video today while surfing through youtube on a completely unrelated topic and what a gem it proved to be. This is the kind of thing that motivates me to continue to research and introduce teaching technologies into my classes. If you disagree with the message in this video or not feel a level of excitement in watching the wonderful things mentioned, then I dare say that your students are beginning to slip away from your grasps and unless you embrace these technologies in your classes, then this gap is only likely to increase .

After my second viewing one of the clear highlights of the video was from a high school student who said ” We have learned to Play School. We study the right facts the night before the test so we achieve a passing grade and thus become a successful student”. How true this statement is, I went through school with the same mentality only truly aiming to learn when the content was delivered in a meaningful, engaging and inspiring way. Flash forward 5 years and this becomes even more noticebale, students are simply not engaged via the traditional methods.

Teachers need to realise the potential of these technologies to improve their practice and delivery, to make it easier to organise and communicate and to ENGAGE all their students, no matter what the subject is.  The skeptics may argue that todays students are starting to rely too much on technology, which is a fair call, but isnt writing and the alphabet a form of technology?  Of course it is, and how much do we rely on the alphabet? I cant even begin to imagine life without it, yet no one seems to say anything about our realiance on it being a problem. Thats because its not, and nor is our reliance on ICT based technologies. Its called progression and too many teachers, mostly the ones who have the leadership roles at schools and the power to infect change, seem to be holding onto the past and shooting down those who choose to embrace the future.

I also find it funny that teachers will boast about being computer illiterate, thinking that it will absolve them of any responsibility for not including technology in their classes. I bet these same people would not admit being unable to read or write, but as we move into the future being computer illiterate will also become shameful and embarassing. To put it simply future schools will not employ those who dont use technology in their classes and even if they do, the students wont listen.

Finally I love how this video finishes off…”If your not using technology to teach, then you should! But then again, you already knew that… and your students did too!” So True…

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4 Responses

  1. Similar topic to my thoughts tonight. It’s scarey isn’t how well we’ve all gotten at “playing school.” That vid is a great one to start people thinking about that issue.

    One of the scariest things for me when I talk to colleagues about ICT integration – not those who boast about their lack of skills (those I know how to help) it’s the ones who think that all it takes is a data projector and a PowerPoint (usually done purely with text).

    We need to remember too that a heavily ICT loaded classroom doesn’t automatically engage all students, just like a “traditional” room doesn’t. Isn’t it more about HOW we teach?

  2. I agree that computer literacy and having ICT in the room doesn’t make for good education any more than a shed full of tools necessarily translates to having a fully maintained house. It’s all about how the tools are used and what they are used for. But at the same time I really think that mrrobbo is right that boasting of ICT illiteracy

  3. … continued… is inane. you would not hear that in other professions. Imagine a doctor boasting that s/he is not up to date with the latest medical technology – he’d rather just use a scalpel! – or a builder joking that s/he has never learned how to use a nail gun… and so just uses a hammer!

    So while the tools alone don’t make a teacher a good teacher, any more than a nail gun won’t make someone a good builder… you could argue that a teacher who refuses to use the best tools available is not a good teacher.

  4. Say It Ain’t So Joe! Thanks for making me look at an issue that teachers sometimes don’t want to admit. Not everyone shares a commitment to the craft and moving into the 21st century.

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