One of the things I like most about my job is that I get to observe a number of non-tenured teachers each year. I’m especially enjoying it this year because I’m not teaching and it gives me a chance to get back into the classroom for a bit. It always reminds me what a great job teaching can be (especially now that I don’t have all the grading!) I love watching the way teachers interact with their kids, and I love even more the chance to listen to the way high school students think and act. As I am the “tech guy,” a lot of the non-tenures ask me for ways that they might integrate technology into their classes. This week, in fact, a teacher who is doing The Odyssey asked what she might have her kids do to interpret the book. A few years ago, I might have said something about PowerPoint presentations and Websites. But here’s what I mentioned in her observation:
You get the idea. I’m sure that only scratches the surface in terms of the constructivist stuff she could do, much of it due to the read/write Web. I didn’t even mention the wiki idea because I know she’s never heard of one and I didn’t want to overwhelm…
Ironically, in another class that I observed, the kids were talking about education and how they were all pretty much bored out of their skulls by school. Now I know that’s a typical response from adolescents, but it was interesting to hear them talk about how school used to be fun when they were in elementary school, but how now, none of it seems relevant or useful. It was sad, but not surprising. I can’t help but think kids would be more engaged if they were building things for big audiences.