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I’ve been on a bit of a reflective kick lately, primarily due to my recent attempt to simultaneously execute my planned agenda in the Computer Lab, and also the impromptu agenda of classroom teachers. Let’s just say, not a good idea. ((Understatement of the year, regardless of the signs I saw today that said “You ARE Superman”.)) I truly wanted to do both, and backed myself into a corner that resulted in being told I was making a “First Year Teacher” mistake. ((Totally warranted- this is just my second year, and with no instructional training, education, or background I’m comfortable with my progress. I find it hard to determine when these ‘failings’ are personal growth needs, and when they are because I have different ideas that a traditional teacher.)) Namely, trying to do to much. I was encouraged to prioritize, which I fully agree with. The bump in the road comes when my priorities differ from those around me.
You see, I strongly believe that the new ISTE NETS*S do a far better job of addressing the needs of 21st century students than some of the older versions circulating in my area. I want to prioritize digital citizenship, collaboration, and innovation…. and learn those “Technology Operations and Concepts” WHILE pursing the former. Maybe I’m naive and unseasoned, but I do see a need for a shift in thinking away from “Computers are to crank out content.” and towards the thought that “Computers are a gateway to learning in a global context.”. Yes, you need to understand how to Bold, Underline and Italicize, but students can just as easily do that in WordPress while creating real content for an authentic audience.
I’m really attempting to utilize the time in the Computer Lab in such a way that the students couldn’t do those things without the technology. It bothers me when the time is wasted typing in a FINAL DRAFT that students have painstakingly written out in their best handwriting- or worse, retyping the work they already did at home on the computer. Tell me, how does that meet standards or prepare a child for his/her future in the digital age? When is the last time YOU hand wrote a paper and then word processed it?
On the less bumpy side, I’m very excited about our students actually starting to blog ((You should come visit us soon at our BES Blog Portal!)), because they can meet and exceed any technology standard through that. Can’t say that about Microsoft Word, can I?