Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You Can Do It!

In Brain Research, Multiple Intelligences and Technology, Fran Mauney writes, “I study the standards and write them in student friendly terms. I post the “easy to understand” standards on the board and ask an essential question about the lesson.” When I read this, I realized that this is exactly what I was looking for. I think as teachers, we get so bogged down with all the buzz words and complex sentences that we overwhelm ourselves and our students. We need to convert a lot of the information in to friendly terms. When I read some research, I am sometimes turned off by all the educational jargon they use that I’m not sure what they are saying really applies to my needs. Yet, if I can convert what they say into friendly terms that mean something to me, I might be able to apply this research into something I can use. I feel our students are the same way. They need to hear what we are teaching in friendly terms. Just recently my sister bought an Ipod Classic just like the one I have. Even though we live about 800 miles apart, she wanted me to help her learn how to use it. Sometimes I would start explaining something to her and she would stop me saying that it seemed like I was speaking a foreign language. Then I would have to find a way to rephrase what I said in terms that she felt comfortable with. Do I do that enough with my students? Do they feel comfortable enough to tell me when they need me to find a new way? I really don’t think that teaching is that complicated a skill but it is our human emotions, feelings, and passions that make it into something special.

Fran (who works in the Greenville County Schools IT department) goes on to state, “It is time for teachers to utilize technology tools that motivate students and enhance learning based on the learning standards. You don’t have to do this alone. There are many resources available at your fingertips. Begin by asking colleagues at your school for ideas. Be willing to share ideas with other teachers at your school, district and state. As educators, we should work together as a team and share our students’ successes with each other. Communicate using blogs and wikis and lead in-services at your grade level meetings, faculty meetings and local conferences. Teachers are eager to help, if you’ll simply ask.”

Here is someone in the district that really “gets” it! I know many times teachers complain that there is a disconnect between IT and teachers, but I really think this district is trying hard to bridge that gap. I was so excited to see her mention in her blog post some of the tools that I use and recommend. This summer our district will be hosting The 2009 Upstate Technology Conference which is a free conference with awesome sessions. Last year, David Jakes and Ewan McIntosh were the keynote speakers. This year Chris Craft will be the keynote speaker and I sat in a session he did last year so I can’t wait to hear him this year. If you are anywhere near Greenville, SC, I hope you consider coming to this conference because it is well worth going too. This is a great opportunity to learn about new tools and how to use them in the classroom. Many times I look at my goals and objectives in order to decide what tools would work best in achieving my goals. So, I feel it is so important to find out what tools are out there and how to use them effectively in my classroom. By coming to this conference, I also have the opportunity to share with others my difficulties and successes which is also a way to gain information from others. I love free conferences that will help me be more successful in the classroom. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Original image: 'Suddenly things seem crystal clear to me ...' http://www.flickr.com/photos/15501382@N00/754581568 by: Anita Martinz


Anonymous said...

It is a true skill (even an art) to state things in the simplest possible way. Some teachers dazzle by the terms they use and their display of knowledge ... but it is only when you pause and contemplate how to present a complex matter in the simplest possible way, that you really start to understand it yourself. The converse is also perhaps true: if you cannot break a complex concept down in a way to explain it to a non-expert ... maybe you yourself do not understand it.

Thanks for your thought-provoking blog.

loonyhiker said...

Kobus: your comment brought back a memory of when I was a child. My mother used to make me read aloud out of my textbook to her. When I was done, she asked me to tell her what I read in my own words. I never realized that she was doing exactly what you suggested because once I could explain it to her, I in turn, understood it.