17 Signs Your Classroom is Behind the Times

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. gamerTeacher

    gamerTeacher Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2011

    What upsets me about it is the skewed priorities and condescending attitude (though I must admit that as a low income school I may feel it more acutely)

    It reminds me of the the project to get the internet to small African villages. Yes, I can see where it might improve their lives, but not as much as a working well.
     
  2. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    Jun 28, 2011

    Hmmm... My classroom showed 12 of the 17 signs. I was also voted New Teacher of the Year for our campus. Go figure.

    But honestly, the first 5 were kind of facetious and condescending. Oh, you still have your students sit in desks? I'm not sure how they can learn that way. We provide our students with ergonomic seating structures... And the last two were advertisements.

    #6. Having your class interrupted by phones is not a good thing...
    #11. My students don't teach me something new about technology everyday, mostly because I'm only 7-10 years older than they are and fairly tech savvy. I'll give you one better though. I teach THEM something new about technology roughly once a week and I teach them something new about Spanish and Life every time I see them.


    I thought this was going to be a funny post a la Dave's Top Ten List... :(
     
  3. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 28, 2011

    The "list" lost credibility with me at the dry-erase markers. Really? Dry-erase boards are behind the times? The SmartBoard I had in my room was constantly off-center. Every time I TRIED to use it for illustrations, the "writing" would always appear off to the side of where I was actually touching the board, so as soon as I lifted my hand, I lost my place. I would re-align the board several times and it would stay aligned for just a few minutes, then be off-center again. I finally gave up and just used it for presentations and daily bell ringer questions.

    I don't feel bad about spending more time lecturing the students than letting them "collaboratively learn from each other", because they don't actually KNOW the material...that's why I'm there. I don't let my kids learn the material from each other for the same reason the Driver's Ed teacher doesn't put 4 kids in the car and let them teach each other how to drive. That doesn't mean they can't benefit from collaborative learning, after the material and content has been explained to them, but as Alice pointed out, there are too many kids already who can use a calculator but can tell you WHY the formulas work. Last year, I had students who didn't even know how to enter a fraction into the calculator if it didn't have a fraction/decimal key. When I asked them "What does the fraction tell you to do with the two numbers?" they just stared at me with blank faces. :eek:

    As for using glue and poster board, I just finished co-teaching the Math/Science class for our Summer Institute. We had 5 classes a day with kids ranging in age from 4th-8th grade. The first project we gave them was to draw a Pythagorean Spiral. They used #2 pencils, a ruler and a protractor. When they finished, they used color pencils, markers, glue and glitter to decorate their spirals. EVERY kid was fully engaged in the project and some of the designs they drew were incredibly creative.

    I don't really mean to sound defensive because, frankly, that is giving the list far more credit than it deserves. The "list" is simply ridiculous and nothing more than an ad for the sponsor. Even if it weren't just an ad, I don't feel any implied guilt because I don't meet someone else's "list of standards" in my teaching or my life.
     
  4. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jun 28, 2011

    The list is essentially worthless.

    I don't care if my child's classroom is behind the times, I care whether they're getting a good education -- which can be done without any of the items mentioned.

    :rofl:


    I also find the below particularly felicitous statements. I especially dislike the implication that youth = skill with technology. I've worked in technology, and you can't imagine how many upper middle-class just-graduated-college kids I've seen come into the workplace with a minimal real understanding of technology. Just because you can use facebook, doesn't mean you understand the internet. Until they can start speaking intelligently about DNS servers, TCP/IP, XML, firewalls, sockets, and a host of other topics, they don't really know much at all.


    Because it's simply not constructive, John.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jun 28, 2011

    When I looked at the list, I didn't see it as a judgment of whether or not someone is a good teacher. I saw it as a list to see if your classroom looks like a "21st century" room, meaning it has lots of technology. The "article" (or ad) asks if your CLASSROOM is modern, not if you are as a teacher. I don't think it implied that if you don't have this type of room you aren't doing a good job. I think it was just a list of things that a tech driven class has. Simple as that.

    I know AMAZING teachers who work with very little technology and AMAZING teachers who work with lots of technology. Don't we all?

    I do think some people are taking this "article" as an attack, and I guess I can understand that by the somewhat condescending tone of a few of the items on the list, but I don't think that's what the site creators intended. Or maybe they did because they have no clue what a good teacher is or does... I don't know. LOL.

    As I said before, I'm very glad that I have amazing tech tools at my disposal, our staff uses them wisely, and our kids get a lot out of it. That doesn't mean we're superior to any other campus. We're just using the tools that have been made available to us.
     
  6. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jun 28, 2011

    The article definitely makes you feel inadequate, but its a nice list to look at and pick one or two things to adjust for future lessons. I certainly got irritated reading the one about blocked websites-that irritates me and I have no control about it, even when I contact the tech department.

    I have recently used Prezi...Its free and pretty awesome.
     
  7. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Jun 28, 2011

    You're right. And if people happened to scroll down, you would see that the writer's attempt was to be facetious... and an attempt to inspire dialogue? And

    paperheart, I really don't think the point was to make you feel inadequate. I think it is, just as you said... a nice list to look at and pick one or two things you might use. You mention "Prezi"; I have no idea what that is BTW--but you can bet I will look it up at some point, along with those other things. So I learned something. I took something out of it. As you did.

    Again, I jus tthought people were taking it as an affront to their teaching when I didn't see it as that at all. Obviously, things like using whiteboards isn't a sign of your teaching, so why give any credibility to it (by taking offense)?
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 28, 2011

    I clicked on the link expecting it to be a tongue-in-cheek list, but as I read it, I really didn't get that feeling at all. Instead, I did get the feeling the writer was implying our rooms were behind the times if we didn't have those things (altho I guess the daily interruptions from cell phones, twitter or FB could have been a giveaway).

    Still, when I read the list, I felt the writer was being more serious than joking and...like I said...I was expecting it to be more of a joke list.

    As for teachers taking an affront to the list, it's kinda hard not to be a little offended when the list is titled "17 Signs Your Classroom is Behind the Times"...that carries an implied judgment of inferiority, especially when the writer actually seems serious that your classroom is "behind the times" if it does not have all the technology gadgets listed.

    As someone mentioned early in the thread, though, only the very wealthiest districts would even come close to having half of these advancements.

    Maybe the list IS supposed to be facetious. If so, the writer did a poor job. If it isn't really facetious (altho claiming to be), then I agree with the others that the list is worthless at best and insulting at worst.
     
  9. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    Jun 28, 2011

    I get where you're coming from, but I honestly think the author's intent is to get the reader to go "Oh! I'm not as cool as the other teachers! Let me sign up for this subscribed service so I can catch up!" And I did "happen to scroll down". That's how I came to my conclusion... :rolleyes:
     
  10. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I have said before, give me a piece of chalk and I can teach.

    I am pretty tech savvy but I don't like some of these, especially the one about their posters involving glue and markers and not glogster. Sometimes the physical creation of a collage or poster IS the teaching method - IS the intelligence you are trying to reach with that assignment. My students hate glogster.
     
  11. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Jun 28, 2011

    Ok, so here's the list with comments for each one as to whether or not I feel in any way "inadequate" over my situation.

    1.) Your students turn in their homework on printed paper...instead of digitally.

    Until every single student has computer and internet at home all the time, I will continue to have them turn in their work on paper.

    2.) For poster assignments, your students need glue, construction paper, and scissors... instead of using an online tool like Glogster.

    Until every single student has computer and internet at home all the time, I will continue to have them turn in their work on paper. Also, I teach first grade. Using glue, construction paper, and scissors is a useful skill.

    3.) You still have chalk. Or a Dry Eraser.

    Ok, so chalk isn't exactly 20th century. But a dry erase board is essential for every classroom regardless of the technology available.

    4.) You try to pull up a web resource on your computer to show the class and you receive a "This website has been blocked" message.

    Actually, that happens a lot. But it's not my fault. It's the fault of the "nanny state" (literally, considering one of the programs used for this called "Net Nanny" and I work for the government aka "The State.")

    5.) You cross your fingers every time you try to connect to the network to access the internet.

    Our internet as school is pretty reliable. But when it goes down, it's not a big deal. Actually, if I did cross my fingers every time I tried to connect to the internet at work, then it would indicate another problem with technology - an over-reliance on it and inability to function without it.

    6.) You don't get interrupted by a cell phone ring, text message, or tweet alert at some point during the school year.

    Only with my phone. I've actually never had a student's phone go off in class.

    7.) You spend most of your class time lecturing students... rather than getting them collaborating and learning from each other.

    I believe my district curriculum, pacing guide, and instructional minutes schedule mandate that I spend most of my class time talking. Not my choice.

    8.) You have a set of Encyclopedias.

    I do. So what. The kids like reading them.

    9.) You consider using a PowerPoint presentation as satisfying the need to integrate technology in the classroom.

    I use PowerPoint when I need to use PowerPoint. I have no "need to integrate technology" that must be "satisfied."

    10.) You create more content than your students do.

    They are six. They don't exactly write volumes yet.

    11.) Your students aren't teaching you something new (likely about technology) at least once a day.

    They are six.

    12.) You don't have a classroom website or blog to post class information, homework assignments, and parent information online.

    I used to. Nobody looked at it. Last year I sent out a daily email. Worked much better.

    13.) You don't have a classroom set of computers, netbooks, ipads or other device for group work.

    No. And it's not my fault.

    14.) You don't find at least one thing to call the IT department about every week.

    I seldom call the IT department except to unblock a website. Everything else I take care of myself. I think if you are calling the IT department every week, you have some problems dealing with technology. That's just my opinion.

    15.) A student has never requested to complete a project using a new digital tool you've never heard of.

    [No. They have never asked to complete a project using anything I haven't told them to use.

    16.) You've never used or heard of: Collaborize Classroom, Prezi, Evernote, Glogster, MyFakeWall, Typewith.me, Storybird, JayCut, Wordle, or Tiki-Toci.


    Actually I haven't. But if I needed to learn how to use any one of them, give me 20 minutes.
     
  12. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Jun 28, 2011

    I like technology as much as the next person, but there is something to be said for hard copies and one on one communication. Personally, I hate Twitter--it makes everyone think that everything is important. Technology has made attention spans shorter. I do a lot of technology, but if it doesn't work, and that's all you've got, what are you supposed to do.

    And, for all the push for technology, I am surprised how little my students actually know how to do on the computer. They can all email and text of course, and facebook, but most do not how to use Microsoft Word to it's full capacity - things like automatically creating headers or footnotes or pg. #. They don't know how to use Powerpoint or Moviemaker or Photostory. I am constantly teaching students how to do these basic programs. Most of my students can't even find a newpaper formatting template in Publisher. And once they find the template, they don't know what to put in each category.

    I often think in our rush to incorporate technology we forgot to teach these kids how to use it effectively. I spent 90 minutes teaching my AP students how to use Google docs so they could do review questions on Edmodo, and no one used it, even though I was offering extra credit to do so.

    Too much of a good thing . . .
     
  13. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    "16.) You've never used or heard of: Collaborize Classroom, Prezi, Evernote, Glogster, MyFakeWall, Typewith.me, Storybird, JayCut, Wordle, or Tiki-Toci.

    Actually I haven't. But if I needed to learn how to use any one of them, give me 20 minutes. "

    EXACTLY!!!
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 28, 2011

    I definitely agree too much technology can be more harmful than beneficial to kids. Alice gave a great example early in this thread about kids that could make lots of graphs on a $100 calculator, but couldn't explain WHY a graph opened a certain way.

    My example from last year was even more discouraging. When we were working on fraction-to-decimal conversions, I had several students that could not enter a fraction into a calculator unless it had a fraction/decimal key! When they asked me what to do, I asked "What are you doing with the numbers in a fraction? What type of operation are you performing?", I got blank stares from many of them. I had to explain to these 8th graders that a fraction was really an operation of division. Even then, I still had to tell some of them "That means you are dividing the numerator by the denominator". :dizzy:

    Technology definitely was NOT helping these kids. This year, when I got to teach 6th graders, I only allowed them to use calculators when a question on a test, quiz or homework involved calculating large numbers. I felt most of the kids could calculate the problem with pencil and paper if necessary, but I allowed them to use a calculator to save time - especially on tests. Still, that only happened on 1-2 tests per grading period. All the others were done without calculators at all.
     
  15. peachacid

    peachacid Companion

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    Jun 29, 2011

    Isn't Wordle just a tool to make bunch of words look cool? How does that help students learn?
     
  16. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jun 29, 2011

    I looked into a few of those things and had a hard time figuring out how they'd be relevant in my classroom. I can use Prezi very well, but my students HATE them, so I don't use them as often. Glogster looked like it would take my kids hours to really be able to use well, and unless you have a class set of computers wouldn't be very collaborative.

    I just bought a huge roll of newsprint and a giant bucket of markers. My students will use it to make timelines and other huge posters. It may not be technologically advanced, but it cost $10 total and will last the whole school year for about 180 students. Sometimes I wonder where these people are teaching...
     
  17. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jun 29, 2011

    It's a little more than that -- it's really a word-count tool that renders results in a graphic format. Word frequency is one method of text analysis, but in isolation doesn't mean very much (it might be a fun exercise to write something about a topic but NOT have the word appear in the Wordle graphic generated (though come to think of it, the easiest way to do this would be through euphemism, so with a lot of students I would anticipate particular topics being chosen rather frequently).

    Maybe the list-writer meant programming Wordle? :p

    Oh, wordle is also trivially easy to use.
     

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