Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blogging in the classroom

It's nice to see that I'm not alone in thinking that blogging can be an excellent way of getting our students to actually do something with the stuff (foreign languages, for example) they learn. I have started reading Cool Cat Teacher's blog which is crammed full of ideas about using blogs and computers in general in the classroom. I also like her musings on how we should make the best of the equipment that we have rather than complaining about what we don't have. Most of the stuff I do on the net is via 32kbps dial-up connection and it's sometimes very frustrating knowing that in many parts of the world connection speeds are far greater and the cost far lower (a 1mbps connection here cost, until very recently, 178 € per month!!!!) However, this dosn't mean we should give and wait a couple of years until things turn out the way you want. We need to deal with these drawbacks and find a way around them now.

The most important point is that we have to get away from the idea that the computer is simply a text book upgrade and start to see it for what it is; something far more revolutionary, which will change the way everything is taught and the roles of both student and teacher. Scary but possibly a lot of fun as well.


Vicki A. Davis said...

Great point! We need to stop waiting for our proverbial "ship to come in" and use the technology we have.

Those who unwittingly wait for perfect conditions teach children to also wait for perfect conditions. Thus nothing gets done!

I learned the BASIC programming language on an old TRS-80 when I was 8 -- it had 4K of RAM. That was the most exciting machine and I used it before 4 years before my dad bought an Apple.

I wish there was a way to send you some of these "older" but great computers that we consider obsolete. I still use a Pentium II at home but the "new" software that is out will not hardly run on these machines.

I have many computers that could be sent to a place that could use them! WE need to keep them out of landfills where they destroy the environment and in the hands of kids who'd love to use them!

teacher dude said...

I had a conversation with one of my private students last week that made my blood boil. She told me that they hadn't used computers in school because the computer studies teacher had told them that it wasn't worth setting them up as they were out of date (they were running on Windows 98).

Now what exactly did he think the kids are going to learn by doing nothing or just reading the text book?

The opposite extreme is when a school has new computers but is so afraid of something going wrong with their expensive new piece of equipment that they virtually ban students from using them in any meaningful way.