Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Online High School

Who doesn't want to join this school?

I would like to think of myself as a advocate for increased integration of technology in schools and someone who is not "old school" in anyway whatsoever. However, here lately I'm starting to feel like that push for technology in education that so many of us are calling for are starting to be addressed in the wrong manner.

Recently I was contacted by a nice young named Victor who worked for a company called UDEMY. Victor asked me to answer a few questions regarding technology and education, and last one he asked was one that kinda lit a fire in me...the question was:

As a teacher, do you think it is possible to one day have all-online classroom in the future?

A fairly harmless question at face value, but it was compounded with countless advertisements I have heard in the past few months that promote attending high school online. This got me thinking, is using technology in this manner really an making valuable use of technology? I can see the purpose of online courses and degrees for adults, but do we really need to move high school to the internet?

Call me old fashioned, but there is something special about the human component that comes with junior high and high school. While I do advocate the integration of technology into education, I don't think that making a high school diploma available online encompasses what school is all about. The way I see it technology should be used as a tool to help engage students in a lesson. In my ideal classroom, I would use heavy components of technology with my students that would require them to use technology outside of the classroom to connect with what we are doing in class. However, I still believe the the relationships that are built in a physical classroom are too valuable to leave behind and cannot be replaced by any form of technology....but, that's just this old timer talking (Class of 2003!)

Joe McClung
Fayetteville, AR USA

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We Should Listen to the Kids!

As teachers, most of us tend to think that we know everything and that the students should listen to us all the time! Well that was how it was like when I went to school. The students' opinion was never taken seriously. How could it be as the teachers were always right! My dad was a teacher and a principal when I was a little kid. I had to keep quiet or else I was not allowed to get any treats from him.

Then I became a teacher in the 21st century and guess what I had found out or rather what I had learned! As a first year teacher, I had never used Mac computers when I arrived at my present school. I didn't even know how to use the mouse which has no right or left clicks. I felt quite embarrassed that I had to ask a Year 6 student to show me the function. I dared not ask my colleagues because I didn't want them to know that I couldn't use the mouse! I am proud that since then I have advanced quite fast and actually know a lot more than the six and seven years old children in my class. Even then I find myself asking them about certain things that they had learned from their ICT lessons and they never hesitate to show or teach me! They never ask me why I don't know how to do certain stuff because they have this collaborative learning nature which many adults are still struggling to get used to.
A week ago, a Facebook friend has posted the following video on my wall and I thought that it is a wonderful video to share with my friends-whether you are a teacher or not.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Let's Try to Move Beyond the Echo Chamber

I think I am getting a little stagnate with my PLN. I follow great people and get lots of ideas, but it seems that everyone I follow also follow the same people. (Not really unusual since as I said I follow great people ;) I would like to expand my PLN a little bit, how about you?

There is nothing wrong with following great blogs from David Warlick, Wesley Fryer, and Dean Shareski. I think it would be good to see what other, less well-known, bloggers are writing about. Diversity is a good thing!

Let's make this week, July 5-10 a week of discovery. How about we try to find a few new blogs to follow this week that we are not already following and share them on Twitter? We can tag them with #NoEcho so we can see what is being discovered. (I know this will just expand the echo chamber, but at least it will get bigger.)