Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The kids are smarter than the teacher

Today was fun... I was having the kids read a short story online called "The Lady and The Tiger". What made this task more difficult than normal was the fact that our wireless connection as well as the internet connection went down when the kids were supposed to be reading this story from my web page. Yahoo! Awesomely enough (flashback to the 80's) I asked the kids how we can prevent this from being a problem in the future. What was truly remarkable is that they had solutions. They declared, "Why not copy and paste the story from my website into their My Documents when we begin to read the story so that if the connections goes down they have the text right in front of them." I was so impressed by their ability to solve the problem on the spot rather than watching their teacher self-destruct because she wasn't sure of what to do. In addition, this made me think how great this would be to have the text copied and pasted into a Word document because they can manipulate the text. They can make commentss and connections, highlight words they don't know, and immediately, find the definition of those words using their right click. The kids never cease to amaze me and keep me heading on the right track.


Meyer said...

I'm jealous! My experience so far has been on the number who refuse to problem solve and find plan B. We are having problems with simple things like turning off, not just looging out. Or plugging the round power cord into the square "phone jack." Or some nameless person forgetting to hit the switch at the end of the day...that would be me. I will be showing your comments to classes to set higher expectations.

Kurt W. said...

I have to say that my experience has been really positive with the laptops. I have used them almsot everyday in Astronomy and it has already proven quite useful. I have completed three assignments using the tools. I do have to say that even though I have been off task before. Simply put, I used my flash drive to bring a couple of songs to school. Of course, this may seem off task, but if I hadn't put those on there, then I wouldn't have been able to define twenty words in the time we were given. I was completely on task when I needed to be, did my task, and enjoyed some tunes. It was a great period. Was it a bad thing to do? I don't think so, I work better with music in my ears. Just thought I'd place my two cents on the table about student's "taskitudes".

Hikingout said...

I know I posted this in Smith's class, but I can't tell where to blog on this page because the old blogs appear to be abandoned.

So here it is again.

Will Hea
11th grade student
AP English lang and Comp

I am not sure if I am allowed to post here, but since there are posts from other critics outside the class, it should be OK.

Laptops could work in a science or math based class because these classes are based on information and fact, but I seriously doubt their applications in a history or English class. These classes must not be based on information but rather upon individual and group argumentation, concepts, and understanding, things that technology can take away. I worry that the easy access of the internet in class could ruin the atmosphere necessary for literary and historical thinking. My fear is very easily visible in the blogs from the freshmen in the English classes:

"Shakespeare's language is sometimes really hard to understand, but with the laptops, the answers to our questions are just a click away." I understand the fact that Shakespeare is hard to work through but the available easy answers destroy a liberal arts education at the elementary level it is taught now. By allowing students to have in-class access to the opinions of experts outside of class in the classroom through laptops, the need to formulate opinions and pound through the text as a group of equals. The introduction of experts into classrooms through the internet could be the most dangerous thing to a liberal arts education at this level. College students can and should use laptops in class because they have already learned to formulate ideas through this system, if the current system is destroyed with laptops at an early age then this will lead to a sharp decrease in creative thinking and an overdependence on expert sources and a lack of faith in the students' own arguments.

The internet is fine, outside of the classroom, but don't replace student argumentation and development with the internet, someone else's development and argumentation.

My former non-laptop English and History classes were fun because of the in-class arguments and discussions.

It is good that you are testing this argument though and laptops should at least be tried, I ask that teachers keep this argument in mind as we advance through the year.