Saturday, June 21, 2008

Time To Put the Dinosaurs To Rest

I remember getting in trouble a few times in high school because I was simply bored. My dad was a teacher at the high school, so sometimes he'd let me take some of those daily attendance pads. Well, I'd sit in the back of my boring social studies or literature class and turn the pad into a stick man animation. I'll tell you, it was the best of times. I'd draw epic cartoons on the corners of those pads and pass them around the classroom for everyone to see. I never told my dad this, but I would sometimes sell those for a few bucks so I could tell the teacher I was going to the restroom and go buy a coke at one of the coke machines on campus.

The point here is, school can really suck. Most of my memories of school aren't necessarily positive ones. I have many extended memories of being bored and disconnected in the classroom, where teachers knew nothing more than showing films and doing the textbooks chapter by chapter. Even when we would go beyond the textbook, nine times out of ten, it would be to do a project that was tedious and ultimately lame.

I graduated high school in 1999. That doesn't sound like a long time does it? Well let me tell you, it's an eternity. The year I graduated high school, iPods hadn't been invented yet, the internet was still 99% dial up connections, and cell phones were just beginning to enter wide use. Internet 2.0 hadn't really started up yet, because blogging wasn't mainstream, Google didn't exist, and internet video was still a pipe dream.

I will have my 10 year class reunion next year. Still doesn't sound like a very long time does it? Well, if you were teaching then, and are still teaching now, if you're still doing the same things, your students are as bored as I was to the tenth power. It's true. I grew up playing Nintendo (yes, THE Nintendo). I grew up with a DOS computer (pre-Windows), got the internet when I was in 8th grade, got a satellite dish in the house when I was in 8th grade, and used a cell phone for the first time when I was in 8th grade. I remember when the internet first hit, it's a strong memory of mine.

Students today take these things for granted. They don't really know what Nintendo was, they live in a world of instant information, photo realistic gaming, cell phones for the masses, and computers that are small enough to fit in your ear. It's time to change, that's for sure.

What does this have to do with literacy? EVERYTHING. Watch this video and decide if you are an effective teacher.


SMana said...

It's becoming increasingly necessary to implement technology in the classroom. Good post, I hope it gets out to many teachers.