The State of Things To Come

For the past couple of days I've been attending workshops. Wednesday's was great. I was able to glean some ideas from fellow Spanish teachers to use in class this year. I love these type of workshops, I come away ready to take on whatever the school year will dish out. After this session I felt like shouting out 'Okay, 2012-2013 school year, BRING IT!!'. I refrained, I didn't want to scare off any potential student, although I wasn't even at my own campus, so I could have yell out 'BRING IT' and no one would have cared, well maybe the crows that were seeking shelter from the heat might have thought this human a bit odd. Thursday's session left me feeling like an antiquated-past-her-prime-why-should-I-even-bother-to-keep-teaching-I-might-as-well-retire-now ninny. I don't like these type of workshops. Had I known I would feel deflated, I would have skipped it, well actually, I did skip out of the last hour, I couldn't take it any more. I left and sought solace at Target. Once I saw the red bullseye, all was right in my world once again.

What was so bad about this session? Nothing and everything. This workshop was all about what's up and coming in technology and if you're not on the boat you may as well kiss your teaching career goodbye. The presenter gave all sorts of stats on what we, the state of Texas, which translates as teachers, are doing wrong in preparing kids for the future. Use books? So passe. Make them look things up and then write a paper? Puhleez, that is sooo 1980's (he really did say that). Give homework? What are you thinking!? Don't allow the use of portable electronic devices in your classroom? Come on, sweetie, get to livin' in the twenty first century.

Do I use a textbook? Check, sometimes. Do I have kids do research? Check. Do I give homework? Hardly ever, a plus for me here, yay! Allow the use of PED's in my classroom? When pigs can fly and the kiddos can use them responsibly.

So what did the presenter say was the future of education? Let me enlighten you because some of it is here, ready for download to your child's PED. Your child has his/her own iPhone, Droid, iPad, iPod, or something similar, right?

First up is the web site Wolfram Alpha. What this site offers is a place for your child to type in a math problem and instantly have it solved showing all the work needed to solve that problem. Go on, try it. The presenter also said that you could have it write a complete research paper for you, complete with mistakes so that it looked like you'd written it yourself. I'm not quite sure how it can do that but supposedly the technology is available for it to do it.

Next, were some apps that, according to Mr. Presenter, would make teaching virtually obsolete because they can engage the child by having him/her play endless hours on their PED while they work on math problems or gaining reading skills. The premiss is that since children will spend endless hours gaming, why not create gaming where they can learn at the same time? Sure. Why not? Interested in this? Try Sushi Monster or iRead. Mr. Presenter said that there are over 664,000 educational apps to choose from, there's even one to prepare you to take the MCAT.

Finally, something  that every school will need to have, no matter the proposed fifteen hundred dollar price tag. And no matter that it's still in the development stages. This my friends is where we are headed, or should be anyway, according to Mr. Presenter, in education. I present to you Google Glass.

Google Glass is a computer attached to glasses. It's cool. It's hip. I want one. I'm still not seeing how this would work in the classroom and I'm one of those teachers that wants and uses technology in the classroom.

So where does this leave teachers? What will be our purpose in the classroom? Mr. Presenter made the following point. He said that when you interact with your neighbor, or a co-worker, or the clerk at the store, you don't care that he or she passed their standardized tests nor that they made a thirty on the ACT. What you care about are these 'guiding principles'.

Mr. P said that this is what standardized testing tested back in the 1950's. The students were required to write essays over these topics, how they were graded he didn't say. This, Mr. P. said is what teachers will need to be teaching in the very near future. Oh, really. While I don't disagree that as a teacher I need to be and demonstrate all of these principles, I do believe that these are principles best taught at home and then reenforced in the school. 

To say I was discouraged at the conclusion of Mr. P's presentation would be an understatement. I'd like to bury my head in the sand and say in five years I'll be out of teaching and it won't pertain to me. I do, however, have a grandson who will be affected by some of the ideas presented and that changes everything.

Hmm, perhaps Hank and I will move near Larry and I will homeschool my Rocket Man and any of his adorable little friends. The incorrigible ones I'll send home to their mamas so they can school them.


  1. Does Mr. P actually teach real students or does he just theorize at seminars like this? I'd like to give him an earful of my opinion. I teach college students and had to outlaw the PEDs from the classroom---too much cheating going on- not to mention the texting and not paying attention in class part. Apparently Mr. P didn't consult any employers on his views either. The employers that hire our students complained about their inability to write effective reports and do the necessary research to get the info(other than Googling which is all the students wanted to do). So now we've added in more assignments to help them develop those skills. It sounds like that doesn't jive with Mr. P's views. I believe I would have left his session early too. Target sounds much better.

    1. Mr. P had at one time been a school teacher. But, as is the case with so many presenters, he is so far removed from the reality of the classroom his theories lack the substance to truly help the student and/or teacher. Glad to know I'm not the only one that feels a bit miffed with his theories!


    See... this cracks me up. People have been learning FOR AGES AND AGES AND AGES... and then we up and come out with some fancy 'lectronics- and within five years what people have been doing for AGES AND AGES "old fashioned."

    It gives me crazy ideas about taking my family and heading for the hills- Von Trapp Family style, complete with the paisley patterned curtain clothes. Philosophers like that and their 'dern electronics are ruining it for the rest of us.

    Stick to what you know is best... and don't give a hoot if it comes off as old fashioned.

    And if you do homeschool... can we join? :)

    1. Paisley attire? Oh, my yes! I would love to have your pirates in my homeschool classroom!. Although, Miss Robs could probably teach us all :)

  3. Yeah, I think I would have had a problem staying in that session as well. Sure, those guiding principles are definitely missing in society, but really, I think he should be lecturing parents about those things instead. But hey, if it comes to this, they will have to buy my kids all of those gadgets and gizmos because no child of mine will have a smart phone until they can pay for it themselves. I think there are SO MANY better options for ways to improve teaching like, go outside... have the kids talk to each other in intelligent ways since they don't know how to do that any more because they all speak in text... oh so many things. You should write a descent.

    1. You are so right, Cindy. When it comes to carrying on an intelligent conversation too many kiddos fall flat nowadays. Don't get an English teacher started on the topic of 'text writing', they'll give you an earful of how too many students have forgotten how to write a complete statement. LOL, BTW. :)