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Old 04-08-2014, 01:08 PM
Greg1978 Greg1978 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2
I'm exhausted


This is my fifth year in education and I am beyond exhausted. I am in a school which introduced electronic tablets (ipads) this year and is almost entirely paperless. I teach foreign language High school levels 1-3.

The introduction of the electronic tablet to replace hardcopy textbooks has been, in my view, an utter disaster. I entered education to teach, and I am now no longer a teacher, but an IT specialist, with a secondary role as a part-time educator.

I am constantly harassed by administrators who, though well-meaning, are recommending me on an almost daily basis to use "one more new app" which each time is "more wonderful" than the previous one.

The students have now access during class time to video games, internet, messaging, airdropping, etc, and unless I am right behind them, I have no way of knowing they are focused on the lesson.

Most homework is now turned in electronically. Students now have the ability to share their homework with the entire class at the touch of a button.

Their entire capacity to focus on a task as well as their memorization skills have been shattered beyond repair due to the increasing habit of instant access to everything.

The overall grade average of my level 1 students, those exposed to learning a foreign language for the first time, has dropped by 40%. They are simply, as a class, not capable of learning a foreign language anymore.

Though I did adjust the grades somewhat to avoid failing an excessive number of students, I was called in to the Academic dean's office who informed me several parents had complained about the poor academic performance of their child. The dean specifically blamed me.

I used to enjoy teaching because of the overall satisfaction I would get from having a whole class begin to express themselves in a foreign tongue. Now I don't have this anymore. No faculty ever criticizes the school's choice to introduce electronic tablets in the classroom. It's as if everyone is scared to voice a contrary opinion to the accepted opinion that electronic tablets in the classroom are the future of education.

I don't understand. I must not be the only teacher who has trouble with this!? Who thinks that it is not working? That it may be a mistake?

It's as if access to electronic devices in the classroom had disintegrated the students' ability to concentrate. The students are simply not learning anymore. I don't care about "a new app" that will do this that will do that. I am sick and fed up of this constant techno-babble speech. I feel I am part of this gigantic experiment to see if this new technology will function in the classroom. Administrators are not in the trenches. They do not understand how much the stress and tension is affecting my professional, emotional and even personal life.

Every time the wireless network is interrupted, it will take me five minutes to get the textbook back online, with the loss of classroom attention, discipline, etc.

In addition, in my school administrators will interrupt the classrooms with public announcements during classroom time. Yesterday they made TEN such interruptions, often two, or three minutes after the first bell of the beginning of the period.
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:55 PM
GTB4GT GTB4GT is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 527
High School Teacher
I realize you may no longer have textbooks but why bother using the tablets if they are causing you more problems than what you believe they are worth? I have a math class in which the assigned textbooks are garbage. So I don't use them. yes, it's bit of a hassle to prepare assignments and lessons but it beats wasting my time or my students' time. Don't keep doing what you are doing if it's not working. Even if you may get resistance from above. Doesn't sound like you are having much fun anyway so what have you got to lose? just my $.02.
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:19 PM
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Peregrin5 Peregrin5 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,207
8th Grade Science Teacher
I agree with GTB. Just take them out entirely, or have them completely put away. Use print-outs. I have an entire class set of Chromebooks, but I completely expect that once I have them handed out, I've lost all of their attention. The only thing going for me, is that the activity I've planned for them on the Chromebooks is hopefully more interesting that googling random images or chatting. As soon as attention begins to waver, the Chromebooks are recollected and we move on to something else. I bring out the laptops only a few times a quarter, and that's how they're best used in my opinion.

I think having an online textbook is a great idea, however I would never access them in class. That would be for students to access at home for homework. I should have a class set of textbooks they can grab from the bookshelf and open up if we need them (I rarely do, since I rarely use textbook items). If you're going to use eTextbooks, have students access them on a Kindle that pretty much can't be used for anything else other than reading. Not iPads.

Technology is great, used sparingly. Taken to analyze lab data, completing a digital video project, etc. but not to simply work from all the time. People who work on computers all of the time who are adults have trouble staying off of Facebook and other things. How can we expect students who have a much lower attention span to stay focused on technology for 6-7 whole hours a day?
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:02 PM
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Myrisophilist Myrisophilist is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 915
High School Life Science
I empathize with your struggles with kids and technology. My students have laptops and it's amazing how lazy and deceitful the technology allows them to be (and they take advantage of it). Although I'm a relatively new teacher, my seasoned colleagues say they have noticed a huge drop in worth ethic and achievement since students have had unlimited access to technology at school.

No wise words, just a pat on the back and solidarity.
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:53 PM
Joyful!'s Avatar
Joyful! Joyful! is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 621
Will you get in trouble if you don't use the tablets?

Can you use them to have the students Face time with one another but only in your foreign language?

Can you have them record themselves saying words or phrases in the foreign language and have them playback for the class to hear?Can you have them develop a power point in your language of their favorite things?

Can you set up "centers" using the recommended apps and divide them into small groups and then use the tablets to assess for understanding using an online tool?

Technology can be like having dessert for dinner in the classroom. A little was great, but too much made you unhealthy. Depending on the administration, you may have no choice but to use the tablets all the time.

I hope you can find the joy of teaching once again.
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:01 PM
mr_post22 mr_post22 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 215
High School Geometry and English
I don't think I have ever taught using a textbook. I create my own notes and homework assignments because I don't like the way most textbooks aren't consumable so kids don't get the whole meaning of the lesson.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:09 PM
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readingrules12 readingrules12 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,462
5th Grade Teacher
Even though I really am looking forward to IPADs in the classroom, I found your post fascinating and eye opening. I think it is important to see the problems that can happen with technology and hear the negative side of it.

I hope there is a way that you can find a teacher that can show how you can be the teacher you use to be and add the new IPADs to your classroom in a way that works for you. I have seen some classrooms where they are able to use excellent resources on the internet that blow away a regular textbook.
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:38 PM
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Peregrin5 Peregrin5 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,207
8th Grade Science Teacher
Originally Posted by mr_post22 View Post
I don't think I have ever taught using a textbook. I create my own notes and homework assignments because I don't like the way most textbooks aren't consumable so kids don't get the whole meaning of the lesson.
Yeah, all that paper does a number on the digestive system.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:17 AM
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dgpiaffeteach dgpiaffeteach is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,916
Middle/High School English
Originally Posted by Peregrin5 View Post
Yeah, all that paper does a number on the digestive system.
We call any workbooks that students can write in consumables in both districts I've worked in

I use chromebooks at least twice a week typically. Honestly, I've never had a major problem. They get their work done by the deadline. I'll ask them to listen to something I say and I wait until all eyes are on me. I don't repeat anything either; they must ask a neighbor if they didn't catch it.

I love, love, love using technology. My students' interest level goes up when we use technology. Right now we're blogging about theme. They've done some GREAT work so far.
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:04 AM
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ms.irene ms.irene is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 533
I do love teaching with technology, and would be excited to have more and better access to it. Our district is pushing technology in the classroom heavily, but what is frustrating is that they want us to use advanced technology, but we don't have the right hardware and network capacity to make the technology really helpful. Our wireless drops out constantly, and our laptops are running Windows XP which is so outdated that we have difficulty transferring files to/from newer machines and using outdated programs that Windows doesn't even support anymore. I would happily use more tech if we had better support, access and materials.
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