the third rail

moving things forward

Basic Training(wheels)

December 22, 2010 by seanwilliams · 2 Comments · teaching

Yeah, it’s been a while since I last posted. And who knows how long it will be before another but….

This is what’s been on my mind lately ~ boot

I’m not sure teachers have to do cool stuff with technology. What I mean is if you are teacher with second graders and you are comfortable teaching them to use PowerPoint – that’s okay, I’ll take it! The kids have to start somewhere and if teaching them to use some basic software is what the teacher can do – Go for it! Just please, please, please, teach them to only use one  transition.

Now, is that what I want teachers to do? Not really. Would I like them to podcast and create digital portfolios and Skype with other classrooms? Of course! But even then, when do the kids get the basic skills? I wonder if in the push to get “21 century” skills into the classroom we are missing opportunities. If teachers got props for just getting the kids onto the machines would attitudes toward using technology change? Would they be more likely or willing to take it to the next level?

training wheels

training wheels

What if tech timid teachers worked in the lower grades and their commitment was just to get the kids to learn password security and basics (like word processing)? I am not saying the “oh your finished early print it up” is the way to go, not at all. I still think teaching how to use technology should be explicitly taught not just busy work. Of course that’s another whole topic! But what if the lower elementary grades were a tech basic training? Just like learning the math facts or phonics. I know the kids could do it and would probably welcome it.

My thinking is that many teachers are intimidated and don’t teach ANYTHING where the students use computers other than running a program. When the students move up the grades later teachers have a HUGE curve to get the kids caught up and do the cool projects.

There is also all the UN-learning that needs to be done; log off EVERY time, only use YOUR password, don’t SHARE your password, etc.

Just some thoughts that have been bumping around in my head. With a little time I off it feels good to get them posted.


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Kathryn (koolkat222)

    Great post, Sean! As a 5th grade teacher, you know that I do get frustrated when students are lacking many of those basic skills.

    Thanks for voicing it so well!

  • Diane

    You and I really need to compare notes. Have you read my curriculum? I should send you my year plan. As you know, I teach grades 1-8 in the lab and only have each student once or twice a week. Over the five years I’ve been doing this job, my year plan has changed and developed, and improved of course, based on what teachers are willing to try once they see what these kids can handle. The best projects are the ones that arise out of the teachers’ needs based on the standards they need to convey.

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