The Enigma of 21st Century Teaching
We’re all excited, inspired and eager to bring the iPad into the classroom, or are we? As parents and educators we seem to welcome the nationwide encouragement to shift our focuses in the classroom toward a more technological generation. It’s change, and change is good! For kids however, this is not “change”. This is all they’ve ever known, and if anything, kids are once again saying “Finally, the old people are cluing in”.
As a 55 year old parent and educator, I often revert to the hard core values my own Father has instilled in me, although it’s safe to say that he’d beg to differ. My dad saw the writing on the wall the day the calculator was introduced to the commercial market. He was (and still is) in awe. How the hell does this thing do what it does and, who was brilliant enough to invent such a marvel? “Be appreciative of this Peter”, he’d say but in the same breath warned me,”This’ll make your brain go soft”.
With the tablets and cell phones in the classroom many peoples first inclination was “No way, not in my class!”. Understandably, there’s some merit to the knee jerk reaction; kids are texting their friends, using calculators instead of their brains, Googling answers, plagiarizing essays and the list goes on. Wait, haven’t we all been there, done that already? Most of us grew up in a time where calculators were in the classroom. Most of us coped answers from encyclopedias, and some of us have even been brought through the school system in the “computer age”.
When’s all this cheating going to stop? Answer: it’s not!
By putting up a wall and fighting the use of technology in the classroom we’ve become our parents: protective and frightened. How many generations must we stand by and watch morph beyond our own before we finally accept that this sis the way it’s going and it guaranteed to keep going?
Alright . . . I’ll say it; the calculator is faster. It saves us a lot of time. If you’re going to advance into an engineering career you’re going to use one regardless. No one calculates complex equations in their head anymore. It’s a waste of time in a world that wants the answer NOW! The fact that the world “wants the answer now” isn’t going to change any time soon, but your employment status will if you don’t heed the calling.
Spell check: Amazing how many people still don’t use it. As a grammar geek, I’d like to think we all know how to spell but seriously, why waste the time if you’re not cut out to be a Noah Webster?
How is texting a friend any different than passing a note on a folded piece of paper to that cute guy or girl any different now than it was then? Don’t tell me you didn’t do it!
There’s a list of no no’s and that list hasn’t changed. While the world’s changing at record speeds, this list is not about to budge. While we may continue to point fingers, raise eyebrows and detain kids after school for the little infractions, using these little no no’s as an excuse to ban technology in schools is not pragmatic. While we must continue to instill values, we must also practice leniency.
If you want to be a champion, you need to think like a champion.
B.Y.O.D. in 21st Century language meaning, Bring Your Own Device.With the budget restraints in the public school boards these days, the concept of BYOD is one that most school boards should be thankful for. Three hundred iPads per school, per city, translates to a massive unforeseen budget increase. While it seems like the perfect marriage between school boards and the households, we can’t help but be reminded of the needs of the underprivileged. Not all households can afford to purchase iPads or laptops for their children. Some are on welfare, have low income jobs and are feeling the pressure to “compete” with the Jones’ on many other levels let alone purchasing social devices. Kids will be kids. They see their friends with all these desirable devices and want one too. Who could blame them really? Combine that with most children’s nonchalent attitude regarding their care for their belongings and you’ve now got parents who are hesitant to purchase expensive, but helpful items for their children in the first place, coupled with the reality that they may lose them or break them within a matter of days. Our son loses everything: sweaters, gloves, USB keychains, his lunch bag . . . He has no regard for his belongings no matter how much we impose our suggestions on him as to the proper care of them so, the thought of sending him to school with an iPad or a laptop is very unsettling to us. Whether or not a family can afford to send their children to school with iPad’s and laptops is one thing. The students accountability is yet another. I see this as a good problem to have but one that needs a combined effort from the parent and the teachers (it is after all a collaboration, isn’t it?) to expend more effort on teaching the children about personal accountability in tandem with staying competitive as an academic entry.
” . . . companies may face regulatory obligations, and they’ll certainly have security concerns.”In a classroom consisting of Grade 2 to Grade 8 kids, it’s a pretty smooth marriage. Enter the corporation . . . Consider, for example, data access. Users want easy, immediate access to business information, from a wide variety of devices. But at the same time, companies may face regulatory obligations, and they’ll certainly have security concerns. So businesses will invariably want assurance that their data resides where it is supposed to, and any risk that it may be compromised — say, via a stolen device — can be eliminated. While it’s a huge financial advantage to businesses and schools to have their employees and/or students subsidize their operating costs, we inevitably run into the grey area of “who’s the boss” of these devices (iPads, Cellphones, laptops). When a company demands that they have complete access to your device and insist that corporate passwords be in place before you access personal emails, or Facebook posts, it’s easy to become jaded.
“We can’t rely on secular strategies to solve social inconsistencies.”Do we then teach our children that this is the new “norm”, and they should acknowledge corporate/academic demands or, do we say, “Just wait a second here . . . I’m (collectively) saving you thousands of dollars with this BYOD (savings) strategy, and you want what?” While it’s so convenient on both sides of the spectrum, what’s right? In my opinion, business is business. If you want to compete, belly up to the bar. Provide your employees with the hardware necessary to get the job done. If you’re the employee/student, leave your personal device at home and subscribe to the mandates of your employer. It’s as simple as that. Evolve with the times or get left behind. The employer doesn’t ask you to bring your own desk, chair, computer or telephone to the job. They’re subscribing to your ability to do what THEY need in order to be successful. Why should they request you to BYOD? Convenience is the Mother of disaster in this case. Let’s refocus. With respect to those who cannot afford their own devices, should there be separate rules? i.e.: the school provides those who can’t afford an iPad with an iPad BUT they can’t use that device for any personal data. Seems reasonable, no? NO. This breeds segragration in the classroom and identifies those whom are not in the same class. We need to have hope. Hope that those whom are not as fortunate, someday become more enabled to participate. We can’t rely on secular strategies to solve social inconsistencies. As usual . . . I’d love to hear your opinions. Please login to leave comment…
When I was a kid in school, the only hope I had for ever becoming involved in the recording end of the music business was to land a job in a recording studio, and the average kid’s chance of that ever happening was about 1 in a million. The only other possible option was to get a huge loan from the bank and build your own however, without the experience necessary to run a recording studio, banks didn’t look to favorably on this option.
Even as technology advanced toward the days of the home studio, companies such as Teac/Tascam began making 4 track open reel recorders but for a young teen, these too provided many financial woes. It wasn’t just the recorder that you needed in order to make recordings. You also needed a mixer, microphones, keyboards, guitars, amplifiers, speakers and the list goes on. The kicker is that, none of this high tech, expensive recording equipment guaranteed you with a “hi-fi” result. The equipment was only as good as the operator.
Assuming that you’d made a decent recording, how were you ever going to get it out there to the masses? There were no YouTube or Facebook sites for you to boldly solicit your awesome recordings. You were at the mercy of record companies, managers, publishers and the like. Once again, as a recording engineer, producer or songwriter, you were in the “dime a dozen” category. Millions were trying to do exactly what you were doing but without the assistance of social media.
There were no schools at that time specializing in Recording Engineering or Music Production. You were pretty much on your own unless you happened to know someone in the “biz”. By the mid 1980’s it became even more complicated. Digital technology was introduced. All of a sudden, and in the matter of a couple of years, analog technology was being weeded out in favor of the new digital technology. Vinyl recordings were being replaced with CD’s and computers were being introduced to the recording studios. If you didn’t embrace them, your days were silently numbered.
More and more recording facilities were using a digital recording system called ProTools. The majority of seasoned professionals scoffed at the idea of using a computer to record “high quality” records with and to this day, there are still many who are hanging onto that the theory that analog recordings are still the way to go. Unfortunately, those professionals are now mostly unemployed.