Texas Education

Blog on Texas Education

Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Educators using technology to improve writing

Posted by Texas Education on March 14, 2009

And here I thought I was going to take a rest from the computer over the weekend and then one of my twitter friends goes and sends me a fantastic article on technology, classroom AND writing!!! The sub title (if that’s what it is called, I think so) “Students must learn that there’s a lot of difference between writing for classroom and for Facebook.” This is what I’ve been saying. They love technology, know how to use it, but…..they don’t know how to use it to benefit them in the business world/ job world.

As middle and high school students finished their state-required writing exams this week, a new report outlined the need to change how writing is taught in schools.

Ummm…change, did I hear change? We need to get out of the ’60s and into the, what 21st century…finally?  I do believe it will happen…finally!!!!

The idea is that students spend more time writing outside class on computers and cellphones and that teachers should tap that interest and find ways to merge the two rather than focusing on research papers, essays, journal or letter writing.

“So much of it [students’ online writing] is so shallow and repetitious,” said Sandy Hayes, past chairwoman of the council’s middle-level section and a 36-year teaching veteran.

“It is that dilemma of how do we bridge the gap between quick, shallow writing and thoughtful, based-on-information writing.”

This is certainly change I/we can all believe in. This will strengthen how kids will learn, embracing the fast paced technology with education. I tired to do that in my classes last year. Warm-ups were journals. I wanted them to use correct punctuation, capitals, correct spelling (not txt msg) but, it never really happened. I kept beating my head against the wall. But, if all the teachers are doing this, we are all teaching them to do this…umm…could be.

Posted in learning, new stuff, teaching, technology | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Dear 44: Success in education

Posted by Texas Education on August 6, 2008

Ideas for the next president

A section of politico website that has some articles.

Jan Morrison of the Gates Foundation recently posed a rhetorical question that perfectly sums up the state of K-12 education: “Do our schools still look like they did in the 1950s – now ask yourself, do our companies still look like they did in the 1950s?”

The answer is quite clear – the world economy has changed dramatically since the 1950s, and any company that refuses to keep up is soon out of business. The same cannot be said of American schools, where the curricula are largely unchanged since the 1950s and classroom technology isn’t much better. Even our school calendar is still based on an agrarian society. How many bushels of corn has your child harvested this summer?

Although our schools are not going out of business, their results are akin to a company ready to file for Chapter 11.

I would like to see more schools do more with technology. Everything is technology, some low level jobs require a lot of technology experience. I know it costs money, but, what do we want, do we want educated kids? Kids that can make a difference? kids that can solve some of our problems? What I see are kids that are more than contributing to the problems. Lets put more leadership classes, more technology classes into the schools. Lets get people (ahem-moi?) to teach the teachers more about technology, use it to their advantage. But that takes time and money.

More on this story here

Cynthia G. Brown says:

The next president needs to increase the federal investment in public education.

Read her article here.

Posted in Good Stuff, leadership, teaching, texas education, Texas schools | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Laptops Are Coming! The Laptops Are Coming!

Posted by Texas Education on July 16, 2008

This article is interesting, mostly to those who are truly involved with education, teaching, but more so those who are involved with technology and teaching.

At first, Sarah Heller McFarlane believed that a classroom of students with laptops was an educator’s dream come true. Then the hard truth set in for this Washington State-based high school teacher. Among the unforeseen changes McFarlane details in “The Laptops Are Coming! The Laptops Are Coming!”, she found herself being less a teacher and more an electronic snoop than she ever imagined. Worse, as her students engaged with their laptops they disengaged with her and their fellow students.

McFarlane’s essay is a cautionary story on the problems associated with turning over laptops to students and turning classrooms into technology centers without creating a strategy that includes unplugging the earphones, turning off the machine, and tuning in to each other.

I found it fascinating because I could relate to most of what this teacher had to say about the kids and their experiences with technology. I also felt, especially in the beginning, and at times, like her, more worried about what the kids were doing (not instructional) during class. I felt this was my biggest criticism and wonder if any other teacher, or anyone else for that matter, could police them any better than I had. After reading this article I remember back when I felt I had to – disconnect – from technology and get back to basics, if you will. I would do “games” that would connect my students. I also felt I was faulted on not getting to know my kids better, and as a very new teacher, I needed to find ways to do that, especially since they would come in and all I saw was the backs of their heads, for the most part. Most students don’t show off, or ask questions, even when they have them, so learning about them, getting to know them and helping them when they need it, can be truly difficult, at best. One of the most popular games was rules-of-the-game. I introduced this during the second semester after I had come back from CKH’s and found the key is to “connect” and learn the story behind the behavior. They absolutely loved that game and would constantly ask it they could play it. I honestly got to know the quiet ones better. I found a student who hardly ever spoke a word, was a very funny guy.

Krikey, I find myself more involved on the computer now than ever, researching, reading, studying, learning. I often wonder, especially those teachers who are not computer literate, how the heck they do it and find the time. Yesterday, my husband paid me a compliment, he needed some information faxed (no, we don’t have a fax, and the one that “comes” with the computer is very funky) to our insurance company and wanted me to, go do it. I looked at the form and you could also email it. I told him, could I just do that instead? He said it would take longer. I though, um, go upstairs, scan and email, as opposed to putting on shoes, getting in car, driving the couple of miles, PAYING for the fax, wondering if it made it, um…which would be faster. After I did it, and bcc’d him, he came in and said “wow, that took a lot less time than I thought, it would have taken me a whole lot longer.” (My husband works with computers!) As he left the room, I said, “I will take that as a compliment.” And I did!

If you are interested in educating students, using technology to do that or you are just curious how it can be done or how it’s done, take a few minutes. Read this story, be enlightened!

Posted in teaching, texas education | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »