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It’s time to start planning for next year…



Taking a trip to school today–it’s a tough one.  We’ve still got 2 student days left, but they won’t be the most “academically productive” days of the year.  ( We will, however, learn a lot–I didn’t count the pyramid as “academically productive,” but I think it was certainly worthwhile.)  Today is the day that I start to decide what to bring home for the summer.  I tend to bring home more than I’ll actually use, so I’m trying to make each box really count. 

Ah, what the hay: I’ll just bring it all home…

It worked this year!  The class made pyramids out of 6 pieces of rolled up newspaper.  After we had enough (35), we put them together into a pyramid that’s nine feet tall!  Too cool!

It's nine feet tall!

It's nine feet tall!

This is starting to be a recurring theme: a lack of buy in. 

It’s the last week of school here (so I’m not spending a lot of time thinking about this since I’m sort of otherwise occupied), but I continue to come across more examples of school folks–students and educators–not buying into technology.  It’s almost as if school is insulated from the rest of our lives.

This is from a tweet, so I’m obviously a bit sketchy on the details.  Appparently Lee Kolbert was conducting some tech training yesterday at the “middle school.”

Teachakid: Training at middle school today went well. They gave me 40 min. When the 40 min was up, they got up and walked out. I was still talking.

Again, this is just a guess on my part, but I’m assuming that the collective group had something more important on their minds than integrating technology into their teaching effort.  Or Lee was simply boring (I’m going with the former).

Do most teachers believe technology is important to their instructional effort?  Is it?

I saw a tweet by Will Richardson this morning in which he asked “Aside from tools, give me one thought about schools or classrooms or education in general that is “new” in the last six months? 12 months?”

I don’t like to put forward unbaked ideas (which is a problem, I know…), but my initial reaction was “regressing.”  I’m referring to technology usage. 

If I was a graphic artist, I’d create a picture of a “pro-technology” teacher buried under a pile of bells and whistles.  I love all of it, but, truth be told, it’s turning into a distraction for me as well as my students.  I know technology has always sat on shelves collecting dust, but I’m starting to see it more and more.

I read a post this morning in which Mark Ahlness discussed the end of the online submission of school newspaper content.  He mentioned “buy-in” and a lack of student commitment as possible problems.  That post, I suppose, feeds my thinking: are we am I jumping the shark (albeit, a little bit at a time) with technology usage? Would my students sometimes be better served with a box of crayons?  Hmm.  Maybe I’m just tired because it’s the end of the year…

Note: as I’m re-reading this post I see that it’s (despite the sentiment in the 2nd paragraph) not nearly baked enough.  More to follow.

We’re apparently flu-free!  Yes!

We’ve still dodged the bullet at school.  Good.  I have a captive audience and they have to listen to me!  (That’s a joke related to my last post…)

We’re facing what is definitely an unusual set of circumstances: like so many schools across the United States, our school might be closed for another two weeks because of concerns related to swine flu.  Wow.  That’s mind-boggling to me.  Understanding that (on average) 36,000 people die each year because of “regular” flu, it’s clear to me that I’m missing a major piece of the puzzle as I wonder why this situation warrants such steps.  “Flu season” at school is a time of regularly sending kids to the clinic with temps and general yuckiness; why is this different?  (By the way, my question is along the lines of “I need to find out why” instead of “I don’t think it should be this way.”  I’m not complaining; I’m concerned.)

That’s not what I’m talking about, though, in the title of this post.

As I’m pondering a possible “online” experience to present to my students and their families, I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that some of my students are going to respond with a variation of, “What? School?  I don’t want to do school!”  That’s not a good sign.  Though it’s tempered by the belief that some of my students would enjoy an online experience, the idea that some would recoil from the idea of a “school” activity is sobering.  Am I hitting the target that I want to hit–have I facilitated learning as a pleasant activity or not?  Is what we do cause for moans and groans?  Hmmm.

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