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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 - Simplify, Man; Simplify!

It is always important to define terms.

To simplify, or to seek a life of simplicity means to me to attempt to create an uncluttered atmosphere within which to work, live, and play.

Sometimes, in order to simplify, one has to learn complex tasks. The world of smartphones, social networking, and web 2.whatever tried to make life easier over the past decade.

Life did get easier for some, but I wonder if life got better for them.

I read many ed-tech-savvy-teachers. I observed a lot hopes in the early-mid 00s. I also noticed many like-minded educators at the end of 2009 talking about how changes are needed over the next decade (just like we said 10 years ago).

Well, I hope to not make the same mistakes I made over the past 10 years during the next 10 years.

Some tech made my life easier on a personal and professional level. Other tech made my life more complicated.


It doesn't mean the tech is bad for someone else though. What I learned this past decade is that forcing people to use the same technology is not always a smart idea. For example, electronic/online gradebooks. Personally, I do not like Infinite Campus. It is too cumbersome, and more than what is necessary. We use it because someone believes it is easier for district-wide record keeping. It is not teacher-parent-student friendly. It has caused great turmoil, money, time, confusion, and overall suspicion of any technology among teachers.

GradeKeeper is a better and simpler tool for teacher recording, student viewing, and parent understanding of grades.

The same type of comparisons can be made with Moodle, Angel, and Blackboard. Or YouTube, TeacherTube, and Vidler. Or Windows, Mac, Ubuntu.

So my mantra for 2010 is simplify, man; simplify. Not just for me, but for my students.

We make school too difficult. I'm not saying reduce "rigor." But even the phrasing we use "rigor," "engaging," "differentiation," and all the eduspeak smacks of someone trying to sell repackaged garbage that didn't work at an earlier time.

What we did in education this past decade is try to sell New Coke, and frankly, the students are not swallowing it.

We continue to force students to come to us, literally in the school building, and figuratively in online places. Check your grades in our gradebooks software. Find your homework online in our classroom managent system. We give them "another thing" to go to.

Simplify, man; simplify! Students are already using Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and other places they frequent. Why don't we go where they are?

Oh, teacher-student relationships should end at the schoolhouse door arguments.

Well, let's see. Students posting bad things on their MySpace/Facebook pages is something we should "teach them to not do." Don't you think students would be more conscious to what they post if they knew their teachers were watching? Mine do. Model what should be considered appropriate on a public online space; after all that is a best- practice - modeling.

We're working too hard. As I am right now. I will be pursuing this line of thought throughout 2010.

Follow along if you like.

From R. Murry

Posted via email from Murry's World


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