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.