Thursday, April 10, 2008

Teaching in the Olden Days

It's Friday, and I've just put the laptops away, locked up the digital camera, shut down the computers and switched off the Smartboard. I've done my planning for next week, adding hyperlinks to all the internet resources I'll be using during lessons. I've downloaded some video's I want to show my class and they're sitting safely on the desktop waiting for next week.

When I started teaching, many moons ago, my shut down routine was slightly different. I would be closing books, putting text books away, returning the encyclopaedias to the library and requesting VHS video's for next week.

The Year 5's homework task for this week is to find out how things were when their parents went to school. My colleague, who set the task, is still quite young, and it has occurred to me that my pupils' parents are also probably in their 20's. They may have to ask their grandparents for some interesting stories.

And if you think I'm going to start telling my pupils how I walked barefoot in the snow for 4 miles, I'll set your mind at rest: At least I wore shoes to school, and travelled by car. I'm not that old!


  1. Hi Raenette,

    I'm in my 11th year of teaching and during that time I have had to change the way I teach and assess. I imagine that the longer I stay I will will need to make more changes to my pedagogy but it probably won't take as long this time.

    The video you have on your blog illustrates how much technology has made an impact on our children and how slow in many ways educators have been to use all the tools our kids are plugging into. The interesting thing is, that these web 2.0 kids still need many of the same skills to read and process information we have taught in the past. The information just comes in forms other than hard copy books and newspapers, etc.

    As the children showed in the video, we still need to teach the children to think and process information using tools like Blooms and Solotaxonomy.

    I use to be one of those teachers that steered clear of the computer and as a result the computers in my room were used mainly for research and word processing purposes. Fortunately for my students and myself, I was gifted with two things that made a difference to my teaching and learning. The first was Professional Development in ICT as a lead teacher and the second was a smartboard in my class.

    As I was only one of a few teachers in the school to have a smartboard, I felt a great deal of responsibility to actually learn more about this tool and to use it as often as I could. Which I did and this had great benefits for the kids and teachers not only in my class but in the neighbouring classrooms as well, because I couldn't wait to share what I was doing with them.

    I realised that an ICT dummy like myself, could learn and achieve things beyond mere word processing. What a revelation! Soon many of the others teachers in my school wanted a smartboard too.

    By the end of the year a decision was made to install smartboards in every classroom. Fantastic...well in some ways yes, and some ways no. The second year of using the smartboard showed me that without sufficient PD some teachers didn't even bother to switch their smartboards on. What a crying shame.

    So I think if you want to change things in the classroom, you need to have a plan about how you will implement ICT, you need to give people the PD they need to use the tools, as well as the enthusiasm to be excited to go out and try new things and the technology to support their endeavors and let them do it without the 'gate-keeping' we often see, which is just another way of limiting learning and access to resources.

    As Robert Cailliau said
    “Effective communication is conversely related to the available technology.”

    Once you start down the road of ICT teaching, you will never look back and occasionally you meet the most amazing people along the way who are of like mind and love sharing their knowledge with you.


  2. The changes are very interesting. Are we losing our personal touch with the children though? Do we still spend time talking to the children? I know progress is important and we have to move with the times, but we have to maintain a certain human element to education. I am not disrespecting teachers I am merely posing some questions.. But my concern is that we have gotten to a stage were teacher and students are disconnected and there is no more relationship between them. I believe the relationship is essential as you will have students within your class that will not conform to this model of teaching. I guess the question is: Are these computer experts up to the challenge of working with actual people?

  3. Hi Raenette

    I believe that you will find the article on my blog under the heading mind hacks. It discusses some interesting points in relation to ICT.