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
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.