In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey teacher Arwen Kuttner found herself teaching second graders in the dim light of a family’s living room. After reading the children a picture book from the Pay It Forward Foundation, she asked two questions: “Is there anyone here who has had to help any one else this week?” and “Is there anyone here who has needed help and gotten it?” The answers came pouring out.
Teacher Jen Carey left the first iPad Summit, held at the Harvard Medical School, with three takeaways: the iPad is just a remarkable piece of hardware; iPad implementation requires large-scale professional development; and if iPad implementation doesn’t redefine the way educators use technology to create and perform tasks, it’s not worth the investment.
I used to think I was a pretty good teacher. Now I realize that I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, but my classroom was woefully inadequate for many of my students. I failed to equip them with what they needed. I now believe my students are competent to show me what they need, if only I take the time to listen and ask authentic questions. I’m becoming a better teacher by giving up a lot of what I used to think.
In our technological world we have, for the first time, the capability to teach students how to use the strengths and passions of their inner world to make the outer world a better place. This is why the experience of art, music, drama, dance and sports education is essential. It is up to adults to help students make keys for the door of their inner world; to show them how to find the personal energy to address the why’s and the how’s of today’s challenges.
Texas ed tech leader Tim Holt shares a story from the writing process of his first book to demonstrate that what we often preach about personal learning networks is true: Help is out there when you need it.
Short of banning smartphones (a short-term solution, at best), I think the evolution of AI services like Siri means that the problems I pose for my 8th grade math students will have to shift from a focus on finding the answer as the endpoint — to a greater focus on analysis. OK, you have the answer but so what? What does that answer mean in a real-life situation?
And I wonder how teachers in other content areas might have to rethink their teaching and assessment strategies, with Siri at our students’ beck and call?