Today is the first day of summer vacation for me. (Background Music). I'll be busy. I'm going to MOMA to see the new installation of the work of Salvador Dali. In the afternoon, I'll take my son to Yankee Stadium to see the Yanks play the Mets. It is a makeup game from an earlier rain postponed game. What a way to start summer vacation.
Summer vacation is long. Essentially it is the last week of June, all of July and August, and the first week of September. Personally I'd like a redesigned school year, similar to one I've heard about in Fairfax County, Virginia. I'll address this idea later, for now I'm most concerned with loss. Loss of what was learned this past year and will need to be relearned starting in September. I'm not speaking about the scholars' loss, I'm concerned with the teachers' loss. The scholars will be fine as they use the social networks all summer long. They will be learning new things, while the teachers are probably not. The technology gap will get wider between the scholar and the teacher this summer.
What are schools doing to bridge this technology gap? The social network scene has been very active for our scholars. Education Week has reported on the social network bonanza. While the scholars are advancing their skills, some rather unfortunate occurrences will happen as these scholars post the wrong pictures of themselves or engage in cyberbullying. When we return to school in the fall, so much will have happened over the summer and teachers will be out of the loop.I doubt very much that curricula will be written that incorporates the good use of the social network tools. I doubt the schools will be prepared for the technological onslaught we will encounter from these more tech savvy scholars as these social networks grow via cellphones and other hand held devices our scholars acquire. They are getting so far ahead of us and away from us in this areas, it is a wonder school seems relevant to them. We are not preparing them for the 21st Century with our outmoded schools and teaching methods and tools. They are learning more outside of school, it won't be long until they may just not come to school.
What I'd like to see is more access in schools to these tools so teachers can use them. I'd like to see more teachers trained in their graduate and undergraduate education courses in how to use these tools in the classroom. I'd like to see more professional development and mentoring in the schools with technology. We have moved away from technology because of the fear of technology and NCLB and the tests associated with this law. Even the presidential candidates aren't that concerned with education.
I'm working in the summer school, so I'll have some time to work with the scholars and social networks. I'll be involved with CyberSchool, too. Sure summer vacation may have begun today, but we all know it will be over before we know it. I hope teachers take some time to do some social networking.