Thursday, January 18, 2007

Too Little Time; Too Much to Do

I posted the following comment to a discussion on David Warwick's site 2 Cents Worth. The comment from Randy Rodgers led me to think about "time" and people's frustration about adoption or non-adoption of certain technologies in the classroom.

Last year I heard Christopher Paolini interviewed on 60 Minutes. Christopher wrote an 800 page fantasy called Eragon, recently released on film at the theaters. He was 15 years old when he wrote the book and he said, in the interview “The gift my parents gave me, by homeschooling, was the gift of time.” I think that’s what missing in the whole “blog/wiki in the classroom” discussion. With NCLB and state assessments students no longer have “time” in the classroom. In our district the last thing students have time to do is something as spontaneous as sitting down to write what is on their mind. (hyperbole, I’m sure) The beauty of what I do, teach in a pullout gifted program, is that we have the time to think and explore areas of interest and new technologies. I also teach kiddos who have supportive parents and computers at home. There is no doubt that many, if not all, students would enjoy blogging and benefit from writing for a “real” audience. OK, finished rambling about that.
The same holds true for doing wikis. We did our first one in lieu of a reflection essay and 17 6th graders worked for 5 hours to complete it. Teachers in my building, a Title 1 school, would never find the time. They are required to teach reading for 2 1/2 and math for 1 1/2 hours a day. A sad state of affairs.

What barriers do you see to adoption of blogs, wikis and other Web 2.0 technologies in the general ed classroom?


Unknown said...

Unfortunately, I see similar barriers as you do: time and consequence. If we ask teachers to begin teaching like this, where students are expected to blog and use collaborative wikis, the first questions raised by the teachers will be those of when and how?

There is a dichotomy we are all painfully aware of being national assessments and live learning. Your classroom is an exhibit of just that.

What I would ask you is something that my wife and I are debating at the moment in regards to sending our son to a Montessori school: if there are no time restrictions put on completing a task, how does that translate to reality, where deadlines exist and time is compressed and compartmentalized? This is a moot point when talking about my two-year old, but as children age, where does that begin changing?

Just a thought or two...

nbosch said...

Funny, you should ask about Montessori. A school psychologist and I were just talking about a kindergartener we are observing for signs of needing gifted services. He is "out there" dancing to the tune of a different drummer. The psychologist was saying that parents were "hippie-types" and encouraged the free movement and spirit this young child was exhibiting. My comment? "Maybe he would do well in a Montessori school!" Other than the fact that my oldest son went to three years of Montessori preschool (and ended up skipping kindergarten) I really don't know much about it. There are a lot of factors in choosing schools; cost, location, teachers, etc. but the bottom line is this...always make sure that your child's needs are being met. If they aren't...make changes.

When my 6th graders were doing their first wiki only one did not pull his weight. It really dawned on me that with these new technologies (hopefully)emerging in the classroom responsibility to the team and meeting deadlines is really important. It was a lightbulb moment....this is just like the "real" world. If your business project has a deadline you cannot work on your own time. OK enough rambling!

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