Posts Tagged With: education

Should Students Be Allowed to Use the Internet During Tests?

There is a great discussion taking place at this link on the ISTE Linkedin discussion board.  On one level, it’s fascinating to see educators and business leaders from around the world having an asynchronous conversation about this topic. On another level, it’s interesting to see the many views on the topic.  Here is my view:  In certain situations the use of the Internet is appropriate during a test.  In an age when the value of memorizing information is being overshadowed by the ability to locate, analyze, and make sense of information, it seems the goal of a test (in some situations) would be to measure a student’s ability in these areas.

Tony Wagner (author of The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators) identifies the following Seven Survival skills for the 21st Century.  Memorization of facts is not one of them.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Effective Oral and Written Communication

Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence

Accessing and Analyzing Information

Agility and Adaptability

Initiative and Entrepreneurialism

Curiosity and Imagination

If you look at NAIS’s Essential Capacities for 21C,  the ISTE Nets for Students, NCTE Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment and the skills of STEM education, you will find similar listings.  Again, memorization and regurgitation of facts are not on the lists.  I am interested to know what others in the education world think.  Please add your thoughts by commenting on this post.

Categories: 21st Century Skills, School Change | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

iPads as Distractions

iPads bring us all kinds of new opportunities to research, create, and collaborate on one device. We are truly fortunate to have these 21st Century devices in our classrooms. But they can also allow students to bring the age-old arts of doodling and note passing to a new level.

Since the beginning of time, whenever people sit in a class, a meeting, a performance or ceremony of any kind, there are those who find it hard to resist doodling, fiddling, whispering, or passing notes. I remember receiving detention my sophomore year for passing notes with my friend, Kathy, and I still whisper to my neighbors in faculty meetings. Long ago I mastered the ability to sit in a class or meeting and appear to be captivated by the speaker while in my head I am writing a grocery list or in my lap I am writing a lesson plan. The iPad (and cell phones) allow us to do this on an even more covert level.

Today children are using cellphones, iPods, or iPads as they sit in restaurants, places of worship, and theaters. Instead of teaching them to be patient and sit respectfully, attentively, some parents are giving them an alternative. Are they conditioning these children to expect to be entertained and connected ALL THE TIME? What does this mean for classroom teachers? If we don’t hold their attention in class, will they think it’s acceptable to use their e-device to fill in the gaps?

I’m sure students are at least as skillful as I am at appearing to be attentive. Maybe more. They can sit quietly, iPad on desk, deeply involved in their task. But what is their task? How can we ensure that when we hand our students an iPad they will stay focused on the assignment we have given them? After all, we are handing them the Internet, a camera, a voice recorder, a bookshelf, a word processor, an email application, an atlas, a collection of videos, paints, canvases, puppets, and potentially, much more. Add to that the fact that what a student creates on the iPad can remain on the iPad in the applications used. This means the next group using the iPads have access to it.

We have an Acceptable Use Policy in place and we have a set of iPad guidelines. But we need more. As a faculty, we need to be on the same track where this is concerned. These are shared devices. We are all stakeholders.

I am curious to know what your thoughts are. Please take a moment and post a comment or suggestion by clicking on the comment link below. Perhaps by putting all our heads together we can come up with some good answers to guide us.

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Visiting Change

For the last three days I have been traveling with a group of educators, visiting schools which are that for the innovative ways they are educating their students. The range of variables in these schools was wide, with two schools close to 150 years old and one less than two years old. Their enrollment varied from 30 students to over 10,000. The physical spaces we saw ranged from elegant old construction to rented office space to brand new, state of the art facilities. Two schools were operating with high end technology and practically no hard copy books, while one school had a rag tag library of donated books and a makeshift collection computers and tech tools.
Yet, while we talked with the administrators, teachers, and students, we heard some common themes expressed at each school.

The students were highly engaged and happy about participating in the learning process. Their learning was sparked by passionate inquiry. This inquiry was driven by a personal desire to learn more about something. The learning process started with questions. They were using a variety of avenues to find the answers to their questions, including some very hands-on methods. The teacher role was very much that of a mentor or coach who provided guidance, support, and encouragement. Failure to answer a question or solve a problem did not mean the end of the learning process. Intentional reflection about the learning process turned failure into part of the journey to reach the answer. Attentiveness, or focus, played a major role in moving toward an answer or solution. There was not a focus on grades. The focus was on the growth of skills, not on acquired facts. These skills are translatable to the real world, beyond school.

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Hello world!

Hello!  Welcome to my blog, TechOnion.  As technology facilitator in a K to 12 school, I have come to realize that there are many layers involved in effectively integrating technology into the everyday life of teachers and students.  In 2011, we are at a unique crossroads of old and new.  Opinions, tools, techniques, safe and best practices and etiquette from the past are colliding with the new and evolving ones.  Teachers and parents everywhere are searching for what is best for the children in their care.  What skills will they need when they enter the work world?  What technological tools are the best to use?  How can we teach them to be safe and savvy in a 24/7 connected world?  Join me in this journey in trying to understand answers to these questions and more.

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