"This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end; but it is perhaps the end of the beginning."
-- Winston Churchill
I love it because that perfectly describes where I am at in regards to technology, education, and my personal philosophy of education. When I first started this blog for this class, I had no idea how much I would come to love doing this! My very first blog in September 2012 is a joke!! That's alright. You can agree! My instructor, Garth Holman, had us start there, however and weave a very well planned, much needed course in technology and the implementation of it in the classroom. By far, it was my favorite course in the College of Education at the University of Akron.
...But it wasn't the technology that won me over. I am already sold on that aspect. I am lover of all things Apple. I love the innovation and style that Steve Jobs and his company has given to technology and our every day use of it. I mean, where would I be without my iPod Classic???!
No, it wasn't the technology. That was icing on the cake. What changed in me was the perception on how I am to teach. Garth had us follow about thirty or fourty educators and organizations on Twitter one day in class. I thought, "This is excellent, but aren't you overdoing it a bit?". I did what Garth said and I began to check out these people and found out that there are a ton of people out there who believe the way I do. I had ideas rolling around in my head in the way education should look; but what I was writing in papers for my education classes was not this vision. I wrote an educational philosophy during my first year in the College of Education that has absolutely nothing in it about teaching others. Helping others, yes. But not teaching.
Sadly, I passed those classes with A's and made the Dean's list as a part-time student.
I am not blaming the University, however. They have a program that they must keep to provide the public with qualified teachers in accordance to organizations such as NCATE. I get that.
I will, however, criticize our broken educational system in the United States. I believe that we are so geared, as a whole, to performance examinations that we lose the real essence of why we put kids through 12 years of school. Is it about knowing a bunch of useless facts that we spoon feed our kids everyday that they lose the ability to use or discern relevant information for their daily lives? Is that education?
NO. It isn't.
Education needs to be made relevant to the learner or they will forget what you, the educator, spent three hours preparing for them. So when I teach, I always ask the kids this questions: "SO WHAT??". Who cares that this happened or that person was some great historical figure...why is this fact relevant? Maybe it isn't!! (and why is it when a student graduates from high school and goes to college and fills the first two years with irrelevant, old information that they learned from their high school experience? Is it because we can show them naked pictures of Western art now???)
Garth put it this way: he said in a conversation that we are helping students to put the pieces of the puzzle together. When you sit down to put a jigsaw puzzle together, usually you stand the cover of the box up to see what the picture looks like. It makes it a ton easier when you know what it looks like. Unfortunately, in education, we have thrown away the box and told the kids to put it together. That is plain stupidity on our part as educators.
So, I am encouraged. When I bump into a fellow educator, I am always trying to get them to see things differently. There are times when I can really connect. Then I have had resistance also. I am not really surprised.
The biggest thing for me that I have pulled from this is that the students should own their learning. I heartily agree. Why should I do all the learning and the teaching in my classroom? I already know the material! I want to challenge my readers, those who are educators, to find ways to have your students become responsible for their own learning...to take ownership unlike they never knew they could before. This can be done through inquiry learning or someother PBL technique. I promise you it will bring the fun back into teaching. And the kids? I think they will learn more and have fun doing it. Technology is the tool to do this -- if used properly.
One day, I will rewrite that philosophy and post it. I promise. I know there are those out there who read these blogs, so I would love to make that accessable online. I think I am to that point where I can start framing something out soon...
Well...well...well...it is bittersweet. This is the last class blog I will ever have to do for a grade! However, it has been a pleasure to do so. I never knew what blogs where until Garth explained that they were like digital newspapers. I thought, "well, that is all you have to say! I'm going to communicate digitally!". I've come along way from my very first blog. Actually, I think I write more now than I have ever done for all of my classes. You want to know why? BECAUSE I SAW THE NEED TO OWN MY OWN LEARNING AND NOBODY MADE ME DO IT!...somebody gave me the tools and said, "go at it!".
I have not turned back since!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my fellow bloggers out there!!
(Mr. O'Connor will be back!)