Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pro D for getting teachers to consider 21st Century Learning.

I came across this video through Thomas Whitby and the Educator's PLN.  It was part of the Educator's Conference.  The video below is an excellent way to get teacher's to understand why we need to become 21st Century teachers for our students: a great way to introduce the teachers to the concept and to get teachers to start thinking about changing their way of teaching in the classroom.  In our school many teachers are against cell phones in the classroom.  Teachers don't take the phone away but they do ask for students to turn the phone off, and with good reason.  I have been part of a number of cheating scenarios that involve cell phones with class notes on them and test taking.  I can understand why teacher ask for phones to be turned off.  Cell phones are so small, they are easy to hide, to take out and quickly put back.  But to have a policy across the school for the banning of cell phones is wrong, forcing others to follow this policy is  even more wrong. 

I understand I need to support my colleagues in some areas, the entire school is working to stop  plagiarism andcheating, etc.  But I need the support as well.  

The technology budget in a a school can only go so far and most kids have better technology then the school itself.  With IPads costing around $600, students have the resources to look up information, take notes, read books, practice for tests, and many other things.  So why are we stopping them from doing this?  

There is only so many wireless connections in our school, and we had a principal that had the foresight to get laptops for teachers to use, not only in the classrooms but at home as well (learning was taking place everywhere).  Teacher's needed to connect to the wireless when moving around the classroom, and placing their computer where they needed them.  But when outside devices (the student's cell phones, computers, etc) started to take all the wireless connections in our school, the wireless went down for the teachers, for the mobile computer labs, for everything.  Teachers would use the COWS (computers on wheels) with their class but have troubles connecting because a student's IPhone would be taking the wireless connection.  There was so much problems with connecting to the internet to use a web 2.0 tool in class that both the teacher and the students gave up.

We can't just give up.  We need to fix our wireless in our school (have more connections), and let the students bring in as many mobile devices as they need to learn from.  We can't stop the learning because of technology problems or not enough money.  We need to put the money into the wireless and let the students bring their own computers, which they would take care of, and respect more so then computers from the school.  

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