Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday Lab Reflections

Discussion amongst peers can be entirely productive and extremely stimulating. Sometimes all it takes is one question or activity to open a slew of ideas; and once the dam breaks, look out below! Upon viewing a video of a classroom in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, the class embarked on a discussion of open educators, open classrooms and technology....how they were, how they are today, and how they might look tomorrow. Reflecting on my early youth in the early 1960s, technology "advancements" consisted of film strips and an accompanying 78rpm record which served as a "Weekly Reader" for current events. (don't laugh, this really WAS 5th grade at Roosevelt Grade School) Fast forward to the 1970s and my first round of college, and the newest technology was overhead projectors. A professor could place a book or newspaper between a glass plate and the projector and it would transpose on the screen. Wow! Now we have computers and whiteboards which lead to student interaction, blogging by anyone with a thought, online collaborations, and open classrooms. Incredible! After a group exercise in the 7 brilliant/stupid things teachers do with technology, we debriefed via a student jigsaw. (another first)
I appreciate the opportunity provided to me each day in the way new concepts are introduced; but after witnessing the tremendous potential of integrating technology in the classroom, why aren't schools and teachers being sufficiently challenged in its application? UW-SP is an awesome institution with so much to offer in the way of thought; however, I question whether it is truly reaching out into the surrounding communities like it could. I understand they cannot force their way of thinking onto local school districts, but they do have a sphere of influence which could be exerted in a friendly and cooperative way. In many of these schools the tools are already in place, yet they aren't being used properly. Is someone paying lip service to change? Or are they just ignorant of the opportunities in their backyard?
When I see an unfinished puzzle on the table scattered around the outside, my first instinct is to look for ways to attach the unused pieces. The same holds true for classrooms throughout Central Wisconsin. The unused pieces can be found amongst the halls of this great university, yet no one is tapping into this unique resource. As a future teacher in a classroom of unmotivated students (possibly sitting in the middle of a school of unmotivated teachers), am I about to embark on journey of ultimate frustration or one filled with special satisfaction? Stay tuned......

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