Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, April 30, 2010

Technology is still an Anomaly

Folks who come in to evaluate a school visit classrooms, speak to our scholars and to us if we are lucky. The problem is that these evaluators do not understand how technology is used in the classroom. Everything I do is online. One recent evaluator wanted to have my lesson plan on a single piece of paper, because this is how she understands the lesson in her two dimensional print way. I explained that it would take quite a few pages to print it because the lesson plan had links to other pages. She insisted and I ended up printing 20 pages. In addition I had another page that explained my expectations and of course I had links to multi page documents. On the page that explains how I assess the scholars, again we were looking at a multi page print job. Now she had a ream of paper. Then we got to the work of the scholars. Since they are building webpages and they are always under construction, she was flummoxed by the number of pages for each scholar. When she asked for the exit ticket assignment, we went to the scholar's folders which were thick and well used. I use View source when I view the scholar's webpages, copy the code and paste it in a word processing program. I strip out superfluous code so all I have left is the scholar's essay. I format it with double spacing, date it, and print this essay for corrections. I do this everyday. This shows progress and how I prepare to conference with each scholar in the next class. I accessed the box I use to hold each day's attendance sign in sheet and my notes on each scholar that I use to conference and direct the day's work for that scholar.

It must have taken her the evening to ingest all of this, because she came back the next day to watch the process all over again. I think she got it as she watched the scholars sign in, collect my corrections, log in and begin their work. They chatted with me quickly, with their neighbor briefly as the computer boot up and their log ins processed. Within minutes the scholars were off on their merry way, following their path, and interacting with me as needed. She walked around to see what the scholars were doing chatted with a few, thanked us and left.

On the third day, the principal visited and told the class how the evaluator was impressed with them and that she had had quite the educational experience. The wowed the evaluator and the principal just wanted them to know.

We still have so far to go before technology is ubiquitous and understood in our classrooms. Changing how people view a classroom is still so 19th Century.

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