Wednesday, April 27, 2011

C4T #4 Summary

Aaron Eyler is a High school history teacher who hopes to engage more members of the educational community in developing a more comprehensive understanding of the type of academic environment we need to develop students' minds.  He is definitely one of the teachers that I will continue to follow long after this class.

Technology As The New Math

Let’s be honest about something. We continue to perpetuate a culture that believes an individual is born with some inherent trait that allows them to be “good” at Math. We even talk to kids about how well they do in some subject areas as opposed to others.  This is all straight bunk. Even worse, we are only expanding on this belief with the infusion of new tools and technologies.  We deem it perfectly acceptable to hear someone say “I’m just not good with technology.”  We need to fight this mentality as a collective unit; not just on the technology front but on ALL fronts. We need to stop allowing kids to convince themselves that they aren’t “good” at certain subject areas and that working hard to learn a new skill, topic, theme, or idea is exactly what we have to do at some point or another with everything.  Face it: technology is the new math.
 I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never thought of it like that, but from now on I know I will. Technology moves so fast. There is really no way that we will ever be able to move fast enough to keep up with it. But it just takes time, just the other day my 75 year old grandmother came in the room and said she didn’t want to waste the gas money driving up to town to pay her bills, so she wanted me to show her how to pay them online. You have no idea how big of a breakthrough this is for her. She used to claim that technology was evil. But even she is starting to get the hang of it, or at least be open to the idea of it. We MUST instill into students that giving up is not the answer. Working hard to overcome our obstacles is how the human race has gotten where it has today, so we should use that mentality each and everyday we are faced with a hardship. Thank you for your post…..I will be blogging about your post with in the next two weeks. Feel free to check it out at

You Get One Shot At This…

I’ve read a bunch of posts and articles about failure recently that discuss the implications that  it has (directly or indirectly) on our education system.  On Education Stormfront, a brief comment about a Seth Godin video titled, “Punishing Curiosity”.  In the New York Times, an article from the Opinionator titled, “The Power of Failure”.  On The Learning Nation a post titled, “Failure Doesn’t Teach Kids, WE Do“.  Educators need to start discussing failure and the need for kids to learn persistence when facing adversity. We live in a time of instant gratification, but more importantly, we live in a time where we don’t value reflection and learning from mistakes. We’re too busy, in school and life, running on to the next task to really think about what we are learning.  We can’t ignore failure as something that needs to be discussed with kids. If they “fail” at an assignment, why do we prevent them from being able to redo it to improve their work? Isn’t a huge component of learning the ability to reflect on what was done and make improvements?  We need to get away from the one-shot deal that makes up 90% of the activities we work on with kids.  It’s the hypocritical mindset that has us telling kids “you need to understand this concept to understand future concepts,” yet we find it perfectly acceptable for them to grasp 70, 80, or 90% simply so we can trudge through an irrelevant curriculum. It’s no wonder so many kids become masters of “doing school.”

Isn’t an understanding of the material superior to the possible inflated grade teachers may be scared of? We need to make sure that these students grasp everything, and if we allow them to fill in A or B and promise them that they won’t have to see it again, we aren’t helping anyone. If the student knows that they must understand the topic before they are able to move on, then that is exactly what they will do!

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