Saturday, January 22, 2011

A deeper look at technology

This post deals mostly with the thought process that will guide me, hopefully, from technological dunce to technologically savvy. Or at least allow my brain to save some space for this transition, be it now or in the future . . . I realize that I am veering slightly from the original "discuss one element from class" prescription, but hoping that by engaging in deeper thought, I am actually connecting, roudaboutly as I might, to the deeper "theory of technology" or "philosophy of technology" issue.

I feel that with the barrage of technology coming at us, seemingly overnight, the expectation is that we should drop what we're doing and use it. Nothing can come from nothing, so to be able to do this, we must sacrifice time which was previously dedicated to other tasks; tasks such as marking, creating lesson plans, or differentiating instruction .... but for what purpose? So that the children in our class who can no longer function with a living person can continue to spiral into a hermetic lifestyle? So that we look cool or with it and hip and parents can oooh and aaah at our "Technologically advanced band room"? Who are we trying to please... and why? How?

I submit that technology is only as effective as the user.

What good would a room full of Orff Instruments be to the B.S/B.Ed student with a focus on Sr. Years? Very little, I would venture to guess. Similarly, a class wiki may be fine and dandy for the homeroom teachers at my school, or even a course wiki for high school teachers. But would I really feel right demanding that students access this online database in order to know what their homework is? Probably not, though it could prove to make for a good "resource exploration" class. The odds of this (class wiki) happening are even less so when I consider that I will be teaching ALL of the students in the school. All 330 of them. Not to mention that the students I will be teaching are anywhere from 5 to 13 years of age, and many of them are newly immigrated to Canada, and it is possible they do not have computer access at home. Some may have access only at one parents house. Many are not allowed to use the internet without supervision, and rarely have parents who are home and willing to supervise. Perhaps I will save my differentiation for the classroom rather than the "blogosphere".

Luckily for me, the school which I will be working in this spring, does not require teachers to have a class wiki. In fact only 5 classes actually have wiki's and from what I've seen, only 1 of them gets updated. For now I can breathe easy, knowing that extra instructions need only be written down in an agenda or on a scrap of paper. My marker and poster board props will have to suffice until the day some administrators technology budget cup overfloweth and he/she envisages "Hey.... that music room doesn't have any technology!" It's not that I don't want a SmartBoard in my room. On the contrary. I think it would be fantastic to be able to show students a video clip without having to track down a VHS copy and book a TV on a cart, wheeled precariously over that little lip where the carpet starts juuuust inside the classroom door . . . Also luckily for me, regardless of how many years ago Orff developed his instruments for children, they always manage to impress even the most removed parent in the room. "How did you get them to do that?". My answer..... outwardly, "Magic *wink*". In actuality, "Hours upon hours of score breakdown. At least one class spent perfecting the kinesthetic connection to the parts which will be played. Not to mention the years of reinforcement of beat vs. rhythm. Melody vs. harmony. Oh, and a little bit of praise now and again" .... Magic really.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Second Post

Alright. Here we go again. Let's begin with the video we watched in class today.... I'm not going to lie. The first thing I wrote on my "test" was "Testing is an archaic, and non-differentiated form of assessment". Though the methods of the last teacher were those of an effective teacher, it really bothered me that there was a test at all, and that it was just generally accepted as a great way to assess our knowledge, even though it was a simulation .... Maybe I'm stuck in "critical think" mode.

Well, it seems I'm running low on insight today, so I'll leave it at that. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First post.

Alrighty then. Here we go. I'm not sure what level of professionalism is expected from this blog so I'm going to write as though I were speaking to you folks (my cohort).

To begin with, I already blog, but have been considering keeping a blog of my experience as a new teacher, so this is a great opportunity. I'm fairly certain that this blog will continue beyond the final date of this course. I think it will be interesting to be able to look back at things that have gone well and not throughout the beginning of my career. Wouldn't it be neat to read about each others teaching experiences as we all struggle through the first bit?

 Regarding my layout: I know that a comment was given that it had a lot of colour in it. But to be fair, it does have a nice plain white background, so readability should not be an issue. :) Plus, I feel like it really represents the Early Years teacher in me. Mooooooooore colour please! Just kidding. I'll leave it like this..... but don't be surprised if this happens from time to time. Tee hee.

Onto more relevant subjects. This course specifically. We began with the application of numerous forms of technology... which to be quite honest were kind of lost on me. My initial reaction was, "what's the point in using all of these different types of technology... it's all coming up on the same screen" but I genuinely understand and appreciate the "Teach them by the same way they should teach" methodology. Did that make sense?

I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the video (Norman Mclaren's Opening Speech) we watched in our opening class. I found it incredibly frustrating to watch. With that being said, I understand the purpose for which it was presented to the class. I feel like I would have appreciated it more if some kind of preamble were given before it began. But then again, that would have defeated the point of showing it without a preamble. I'm not sure what I expected, but I definitely felt some anxiety about the difficulty being experienced in the film. Perhaps I too suffer the dreaded hourglass syndrome... which you can read about herehere or my favourite here. That last link is to a humourous commercial by intel.

I think that's enough babbling from me for today, but I would like to ask you all one question... who is James Mont... and why is following some of our blogs? See you all tomorrow. Oh, and I've placed a link to everyone's blog from this class in the side bar, just in case you're dying to comment on someone's blog and are experiencing difficulty with nicenet. That and I was bored at home, and wanted to toot around on here.