John T. Spencer's Cartoon
John T. Spencer created this cartoon in one of his blog post to mock the commercial that states "Im a Mac and Im a PC". In his cartoon, the "paper clip" is resembling the "PC". The "Ticonderoga" is resembling the "Mac". For those of you who do not know, a Ticonderoga is a more expensive brand of pencils. It took me a second to figure out what he was trying to explain through his cartoon, but after looking at his comments to his post I understood his reasoning. Through his cartoon, Mr. Spencer is trying to show the world that customers get the quality that they pay for. When someone purchases a Mac, they put a lot of money into their purchase but receive far better quality. A Mac can last for years. When customers go the less expensive route and purchase a PC, they believe they are saving money. However, most PCs do not last longer than two to three years.
The Con Academy
John T. Spencer posted a blog post in his "Adventures in Pencil Integration" blog called The Con Academy. He has a very different type of approach to writing, but his style really prevails his ideas well. I had to read his entry several times before I was able to truly understood the point he was trying to make.
He writes his entries in a narrative style of writing that includes dialogue. In "The Con Academy", Mr. Spencer illustrates his conversation with his principal and a salesman. The salesman, Mr. Kahn, is trying to get the principal and school to purchase a series of products from the Kahn Academy.
Mr. Spencer illustrates that there is a difference between teaching and resources. The Kahn Academy sells the idea that their products will help any and every student. However, John addresses the fact that not every student learns the same way, and no product can be guarantee that every student will benefit. He also points out that there is still a need for teachers even if a resource/video can teach students a concept. If there were not teachers, who would be there to answer students questions?
John T. Spencer also addresses that teachers need to implement different resources into their classrooms to benefit every student in a different way. He says that not every lesson will need outside resources, but it is necessary to prepare lessons accordingly. It is important that we, as future teachers, are able to distinguish the resources needed for teaching a lesson.
Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?
Another blog post that I read by John T. Spencer is called Why Were Your Kids Playing Games. In this entry, Mr. Spencer illustrates his conversation with his principal about using "games" in the classroom. The principal catches Mr. Spencer teaching his students how to learn by advanced stimulation and considers this to be a "game".
While talking with his principal, Mr. Spencer argues that children should be allowed to learn in different ways. He was not allowing them to just play games because they were learning through the activity. His created activity was in effect his "resource" for that days lesson. However, the principal still did not see eye-to-eye with John.
In the end, John gets his principal to allow him to create an "algorithm factory". This factory was just another way to work around the system and still implement his creative teaching techniques. The principal wanted Mr. Spencer to use what Dr. Strange calls the "burp back" technique. Basically, this is where the teacher "spits" out information at the students and "places" it in their brain. In the end the students end up just memorizing the concepts and "burping" them back to the teacher in a test. This is not learning, but, instead, simply memorizing.
Don't Teach Your Kids Stuff Please
Scott McLeod is known as one of the best leading academic experts on K-12 technology leadership issues. He is currently the Director of Innovation for "Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8" in Iowa. He is also the co-creator of the video "Did You Know?" that I previously blogged about. He also wrote his own book called What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media.
His post was a witty, sarcastic poem that outlined the way society views technology. He wants to instill in his readers that technology should not be viewed in frightening ways. Technology is a great aspect to learning, and if used in the right, academic way, it can be very influential on a student's academic journey. Today, we use technology in more ways than we even realize on a daily basis. If we prevent our students from being able to use these resource, how can we expect them to survive in the real world?
In Scott McLeod's post, he outlines many of the cons that administrators, teachers, and parents give about the use of technology. He says that we "shouldn't" allow students to get on social networks because of cyber-bullying, or we "shouldn't" allow students to search the web because they will look at porn. This cons are so overly used it is aggravating. In my opinion, bullying will occur no matter what in any student's academic career. If it's not through the internet, it will be through whispering in the halls or trashing another student's locker.
I know that cyber-bullying should not be taken lightly, but that is where the teachers/parents need to step in and handle the situation properly. It is the job of the teachers and parents to teach their students/children that bullying is not the answer. It is sad to say, but bullying does not stop just because you graduate high school. I still deal with other students bullying me to this day, but I have learned how to ignore it and live my life without judging others because I have experienced the world for all that it is.
There are predators and stalkers every where you look. I have been followed when leaving Wal-Mart or walking back up to my apartment, but I have learned how to be cautious without staying cooped up inside all day. The point I am trying to address to each of you is that life happens no matter how much you try to prevent it. With that being said, I do not see why students should not be able to use technology to the fullest in the classroom.