Good evening everyone,
Having thought a bit more about the direction of this blog, I am starting to wonder about the implications of sharing this website with my students and their parents. I know that the words I write here are inscribed with truth in my mind and love in my heart, but…
- Would there be a backlash?
- Would students be more or less motivated to learn by seeing this?
- Can I broaden the targeted audience from just “Teachers” to “Teachers, Students, Parents, and Administrators” without lessening my impact on each?
In the end, my thoughts all come back to the fact that this blog could go well with some schools and terribly with others. So let’s see if I can predict some details about the school I might be teaching in.
Setting and Objective
I will be teaching 10th Grade Biology students in a public high school, somewhere in Michigan’s Southeastern lower peninsula. My goal is to introduce students to my style and use of technology in the classroom by challenging them to navigate to a variety of websites and applications, this blog being one of the many, while recording a series of screenshots on the way. If my school is a 1-to-1 computing school, all of the students will be able to use a laptop at the same time. Otherwise, a portable laptop station would have to be used for this activity.
- Male ~48%
- Female ~49%
- Other ~2%
- Ethnicity Estimates (Source):
- White: 68.1%
- Black or African American: 12.6%
- Asian: 10.9%
- Population of 2 or more races: 6.6%
- Hispanic / Latino: 4%
- One other race alone: 1.5%
- Native American or Alaska Native: 0.3%
- Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 0.04%
- Age: 14 – 16
- English Language Learning (ELL) Students: ~4%
- Students with IEPs: ~11%
- Possible Interests
- Video Games
- League of Legends
- Call of Duty
- World of Warcraft
- The Sims
- Social Media
- Smart Phone Apps
- Flappy Bird
- Draw Something
- Angry Birds
- Binge-watching Web-based TV
- Breaking Bad
- Doctor Who
- The Walking Dead
- Taking photos of themselves in various ways
- Video Games
The list of possible interests goes on an on… These are just some prevalent behaviors that I have seen and heard 10th grade students particularly enjoying.
For a learner to complete an activity in which they navigate through a list of websites and apps and taking snapshots, they must be at least moderately proficient in the following skills before entering class:
- Using a touch-based track pad or mouse
- Navigating in our laptops’ particular OS, arranged by likelihood of use from top to bottom
This exercise will inherently test whether or not students are capable of doing these things, so long as I successfully create the opportunity for students to raise their hands and ask for help. By working with students one-on-one, I should be able to make notes about the particular challenges that students called me over for.
Students at this age and in this area might have certain commonalities with respect to the way they process information. For example, young children before age 2 have difficulty with the idea of object permanence. Students in my classroom might:
- Have difficulty constructing mental images of abstract objects
- Have difficulty verbalizing an abstract concept
- Have difficulty assembling meaning from non-linear exposition
- Have difficulty performing a task without receiving explicit instructions for it
- Answer extended-response questions with limited or incomplete responses
- Respond with “I don’t know” when a difficult question is asked
- Have difficulty paying attention after sitting still for longer than 10 minutes
- Not see value in learning math or science
If my blog were to be a component of this “Getting to Know Technology and Mr. So-and-so” activity, I am supposing that it could be either beneficial, neutral, or harmful to the learning process. If, for example, I presented material here that specifically mentioned students that irritated me, or griped about parents that were troublesome… that could be terribly harmful, since students might think I’m talking about them or their parents behind their backs too! I would never do such a thing though. Further, if I teach in an area that is intolerant of Buddhism, Non-Christian, or, conversely, religious expression, there might be issue taken with the fact that I use Eastern philosophical thought often here on my blog. This would fall somewhere between neutral and harmful. If, by some grace in the universe, the students had already received some degree of understanding regarding Eastern philosophy, it could be the start of a very interesting discussion regarding science in the context of culture, as well as a discussion about questions regarding the differences supernatural and natural phenomena. That, I think, would be beneficial.
Or, perhaps, a parent might see this as a way to force Buddhism or Eastern thought upon their impressionable child’s minds… Which it is not, by the way. That could quite quickly lead to conflict, which is the least of my intentions. However… I have no idea how I would either prevent or handle that situation.
I wish to share my ideas regarding teaching and unattached loving… But the inherent nature of both of those things is that their implementation is vastly different from person to person, and that some people may be offended by another’s way of carrying either out. Ultimately, I am unsure of whether or not to make my blog explicitly available to students at the beginning of the year. My hope is that knowing me better will put students at ease enough to improve their ability to learn from me… However, I fear that parents may react negatively to the idea of me being open or foreign in that regard.
So, it comes down to this.
What do you think I should do?
Please leave a comment below to let me know if you think I should make this blog available to my students in the future. I would appreciate any thoughts on the matter quite a bit, so be brief or be lengthy: Either way helps loads.
Whatever you choose, I hope the day finds you well.
Thank you all, and may you have a great night.