Saturday, October 18, 2008

[TIPS] An interesting discussion (not a tip)

It’s Saturday after our 2008 cff (Pa’s Classroom for the Future) bootcamp. It was a great week, but a long one and I swore I wasn’t going to even turn my computer on. (“So, Jim, how’d that work out for you?) <sigh>


I wanted to talk about a conversation I had Thursday night with Sharon Gould, CFF coach from Shippensburg Area School district. We began by talking about “the good old days” (teaching DOS, Commodore 64’s, Hypercard, and more) And we then got to talking about how different people had different viewpoints about that new (Hypercard, at that point) software. Sharon’s remark made me laugh – cuz it was true. “All you needed to do to get an A was to make something move.” LOL! But true. They had no idea what it took to move things, nor had they enough experience, yet, to know to look past the movements to the content.It took too long to make that switch. 


She also mentioned that she had grown up in a tech family and was one of the very few kids in class who had a computer at home. But, for school she wasn’t permitted to use it. One of her teachers even went so far as to give the reason as, “You can’t use a computer because it’ll write it for you. You may type it or handwrite it.” (I’ll bet a lot of have similar stories, eh?)


Then we talked about her role as a cff coach. She said that she never told a teacher that they had to use a computer. Some teachers are just very good teachers, with very engaging, collaborative lessons. So good, in fact, that kids don’t even WANT to use the computers in that class because they miss the discussions. Do you know someone like that? She even suggested that a good undergrad class for education majors might be one in Improv Theatre, because “some folks just don’t have the personality for being an engaging teacher.” Hmmm.. Improv theatre. Interesting idea.


Finally, we talked about the misuse of technology. One person wanted to use discussion threads. No problem, right? But the teacher would have them use the discussion forums in class. The kids didn’t like that at all. It just wasn’t right. You don’t use discussion forums in class, you use them at night.


It was a good talk. I wish I could read the rest of my notes. ;-)


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