thing 15 – staying informed

Part 1 – First Steps Summary Article

The article I found asked the question, “Are Educators Passionate About Their Profession?” The writer, a school principal, talks about how engaged “students” in a hip-hop dance class are at 7pm on a school night. His son loves the class; moreover, all the students in the class seem to love it and are fully engaged.  They are all excited, they all laugh, they all volunteer to answer questions, and they are pumped to try the new moves their teacher is showing them. In short, they are completely engaged in the class because the teacher is passionate about what he’s teaching. The author then goes on to relate that to a school classroom and questions whether teachers are passionate about kids, teaching, learning, and education. He states that any teacher who is passionate about these things will find a way to engage his/her students and will make change happen.

I really enjoyed this article because it asked me to reflect on why I’m teaching. I think it’s a good idea to check yourself and your motivations about teaching because it’s one of those jobs where you can’t really fake it. If you don’t like what you’re doing it’s completely apparent to students, colleagues, and parents. Conversely, if you’re excited about what you do, you’ll put in the extra effort to reach students and to engage them; you’ll look for new ideas and lessons to make the material accessible; you’ll find a way to get kids excited to be in your class, even if they aren’t excited about the subject.

Part 2 – Next Steps Report Information

thing 15 - data

What surprised me the most was not that students are mobilists, but the age at which students use smartphones. I got my first cell phone in college; according to the Speak Up 2012 National Research Project Findings, 45% of students in grades 3-5 are smartphone users. Wow. I know firsthand that kids can easily use smartphones and tablets – my 2.5 year old knows how to use his favorite apps on our Kindle and smartphones. I just didn’t realize how many kids likely have their own smartphones. I think it’s great that students have so much access to information: they can look up anything they are curious about, they can watch a video on it, they can play a game… but the parent side of me worries about what children have access to and how much time they spend on those devices. I’m guilty of spending too much time on my phone; I read articles, blog posts, I look up answers to questions I have, I peruse social media sites…and while I think that is great, I also see it as a potential time waster. Instead of engaging right now with what’s in front of me, I can zone out on my device. Not that kids will all do that, but if the device is there, it’s easy to check out and do something else and miss live experiences. I am a little wary of putting a smartphone into the hands of an 8 year old for him to use at his leisure, but perhaps with sufficient boundaries we can reap the benefits of having access to information anytime and anyplace.

Part 3 – BYOD

Click on the image below to view a presentation of my district’s stance on BYOD, as well as my views on my district’s policy.

thing 15 - byod

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One thought on “thing 15 – staying informed

  1. As I read through your slides, I agree and disagree with some of the statements. I think it would be difficult as a student to take notes on a device in one classroom and then have to use paper and pencil in another. If a student was truly using their device properly in the classroom, then teachers should allow it. I can understand the teacher view point also, but keeping students from doing what is natural from them is not appropriate also. I could not take notes anymore in class on paper. I can do it much faster on the computer. I never thought I would say that, but as years have gone by that is the case.
    What teachers and students are struggling with now will look so much different in the next 5+ years. We will look back I am sure and wonder why we struggled with it so much. At least I hope so!
    I do agree that students don’t necessarily know how to properly use their device in the classroom. That is something we need to explain to them. In class it is for notes, research and practice. Otherwise stay focused!

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