Let’s leave no one behind!

I know some of the staff here at PHS has become a little weary about all the talk about change and the integration of technology in the delivery of our curriculum. Some have mentioned that they feel left out as technology is distributed as it is acquired. Some say that they feel what they do is not valued. Others mention that today’s students simply do not want to learn and are too lazy or disinterested to be taught.

It is true that new equipment is being put in rooms where teachers are demonstrating that technology is a useful tool to engage students. There are still many teachers that do not have an interactive white board that have demonstrated that they would use one. We are trying to acquire them as quickly as the budget will allow. I do not want to do like we did about 12 years ago and put technology in every room and have it sit unused. (How many TVs and VCRs did we put in?) It is a simply cost benefit issue. Some of the teachers who engage our students day in and day out do not need a Smart Board nor do they want one…..yet!

I believe that most of our students learn what they need to learn to pass tests and do one time projects. My observations lead me to believe we teach too much superficially and the students never have a chance to demonstrate a deep understanding of concepts. That, in my opinion, is the way high school has always been. The schools we teach in were designed to be like an assembly line. Get as much general knowledge to the masses as we can, in the most efficient way we can. That was the design of the modern high school at the turn of the century….19th to 20th century! We are no longer the repository of information. The information revolution has changed that. Today’s students need to apply knowledge. We need to teach them how to work with information. How to determine if it is correct, how to manipulate it, how to collaborate with it and create, persuade and demonstrate with it. I took every science class my high school had to offer…..ask me how an atom works. Do you think I remember? I can look it up in no time flat though. Please do not take this as an indictment on how and what you teach. I know you challenge our students. The conversation I am trying to start, the changes I am trying to catalyze in no way should be taken as “he does not value what we do.” I simply believe that in many ways we, and I mean “we”(I included), can improve how we do things and better challenge our students. Technology is not the answer. It is simply a set of tools that we need to use to engage our students.

Today’s students are different. They come to school with different experiences than the previous generation. The technological/information revolution has changed all that. Their phones know the answers to most of the knowledge based multiple choice test questions we give. What good does it do them to have them memorize endless facts? We can continue to belabor the fact that today’s students are different, teach them the same way we always have and hope for better results next year. I think we all know what Einstein has to say about that.

I know that we are trying hard. I know you do not have enough time to change overnight. Teachers are hard working people that care about kids and they get defensive when they are told they aren’t doing a good job. Please do not think I am saying you are not doing a good job. It is just that things are changing rapidly and I believe we must change or become irrelevant…..or worse yet….LEFT BEHIND!

One thought on “Let’s leave no one behind!

  1. I have been reading a lot on the incorperation of technology in the art based classroom and my findings are really interesting. Perhaps the two points that sunk in the most are:
    1. We need to teach how to use the basics in programs. Rather than trying to keep up with the everychanging programs, we as teachers need to teach students to find their way through the basics such as cut and paste, layers, searching on the internet, etc. Then on their own time, students are less afraid dive deeper into the subject. This way we are not wasting time teaching things that will change, but instead are teaching practical applications.
    2. We as teachers need to encourage technology or the idea of technology everyday. It needs to be a constant, whether we use the vocabulary or the computer. This makes students more comfortable with it and its implementation.
    I recently had my students blog on the art site about whether they think it is important to incorperate technology in to art program. Their thoughts were very honest and very interesting.

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