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Crude & Awkward: Educational Forms & Teacher 2.

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In a recent panel I chaired at National Council of Teachers of English
entitled LEARNING LITERATE LIVES: 21ST CENTURY LITERACY
SKILLS BEYOND INDIVIDUAL TECHNOLOGIES with Shelley Rodrigo,
Chad Sansing, and William Kist, the discuss revolved around grass
roots educational reform in terms of trying to move beyond the catch
phrase “21st century learning” towards what that REALLY means.
During Marc Prensky’s keynote from NCTE 2008 in San Antonio, he
discussed how the taxonomies must shift from the nouns of Bloom’s
1956 model towards a “verbed” model where CREATING is shifted to
the top. This same concept, for me, applies to technology tools.
Educators want to take these shiny tech tools and try to shove them
into the tired, regurgitated pedagogical paradigms. But that’s not
effective. We can’t just grab the most recent cool Web 2.0 app and use
it in our classes for the sake of using it. It doesn’t work, no matter how
hard we’ve tried.

I’ll admit it; I’ve done it. I’ve said “let’s do this project” and “here’s the
tool!” The kids groan, and I groan later… the reason I groan is because
suddenly this cool shiny tool does NOT work! We use to love
utterli.com and used it for maybe a year in a half until, during one
project, it just died. I contacted the Utterli people who ignored me. I
checked their Twitter feed that looked dead. My kids complained. They
emailed me and each other, over and over. Nothing I could. I moved
away from Utterli (if you find anything that can replace Utterli, tell me).
I then tried another awesome tool I loved one called Xtimeline.com.
Guess what? It worked very well until I asked 100 students to use it
during the same week! It died. Same deal. Next up, Capzles.com.
Some things worked very well but then we found bugs. The “CEO”
would answer emails and sounded great. This lasted a week. After that,
he stopped responding to my (very respectful) questions/emails. This is
what happens.

Teacher 2.0

So what do we do? We need to stop giving them these tools. Yes, I
think I said that. Let’s start with the notion of US. Who are we? Who
must we be? This blog is called Teacher 2.0 because we need a
pedagogical reboot. Most of us are our own tech support, our own
pedagogical experts, and our own content area authorities. By wearing
all three hats, this becomes more difficult for us. Beyond teaching we,
often, are required to teach to the test, chair committees, sponsor
clubs, etc… And all of this beyond actually teaching.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nooccar/5191769693/"

less big brother evals). People toss around terms for various . and the way the digital natives learn are vast: they work at twitch speed (how fast their fingers move on cell phones or gaming joysticks). teachers are now forced to play with a severe handicap. I have no idea why we placate the negativity thrust upon us. one of three things happens: 1) they give up and revert to Teacher 1. or 3) they quit teaching all together. Henry Giroux. The last one is terrible because we lose some of our greatest teachers in our public schools every single day. in response to how teachers are currently being portrayed (read: lambasted) in the media and corporate American.0. What I will do is shift to a definition of today’s Student 2. and. they randomly access information instead of linearily. but then I’d be sugar coating our current system.com/4133/5191769693_01108b73d0. I won’t do that.0. too often. critical and pedagogy theorist. 2) our class building colleagues who roll their eyes when we talk tech (like the teacher down the hall who wants to install a cell phone blocker in his classroom for his students!).title="TPCK_chart by nooccar. 2) they give up on teaching k-12 and shift to college/university (less filters. Student 2.0 because we have several challenges: 1) our IT department hates us because we’re the squeaky wheel who wants to get to websites that we hear work well but they filter them because they over filter and have unfounded fears of CIPA. As I wrote that last bit I was about to make a caveat about not trying to sound conspiratorial and negative. the native immigrants work. Those of us in these discussions and care about our kids. on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5. politicized educational fruitcake system.jpg" width="396" height="400" alt="TPCK_chart" /></a> I call us Teacher 2. they read graphics first. Not all of us. they parallel process data. but the ones who “get it” and really try to become the center of the above diagram. argues that “Once eager public servants [teachers] in the fight for equality and justice. It’s hard to be a teacher in this world. as if assembled on a field blindfolded and gagged” (October 5. 2010). It’s frustrating to be Teacher 2.0 A gap has emerged between the way teachers think and the way students think. or 3) our admin who don’t understand the technology updates because they’ve focused so long on either the pedagogical perspective or (god forbid) the management perspective of running a school. The difference between the way we. Is it through a mutual fear? We fear what education has become.flickr. and they are just truly more connected.0.static. The powers that be fear that eventually we teachers won’t continue our placated subservience towards the corporatized.

some technology tools last a few years while others last only a few months. and activities need to change because technology evolves daily. and the politicians wants to filter education funds elsewhere. While GenX educators (and even those of us on the cutting edge of Teacher 2. they need good programming and good payload. This scares teachers. Kids will cheat. Where’s the evidence it works? We don’t have computers. and typically that focuses on class-based situations). if you must). Together we all need to realize student 2. It produces poor work. and middle schoolers NetGen (TK) while Marc Prensky calls them digital natives (many people find this term problematic. What’s next to go? Our capabilities. the administration sweeps this under the carpet. make assumptions that real life happens offline.0 is scared.0) tend to keep a foot in the past (like the people who print emails and edit research work by printing it and writing on the paper). they may require mid course corrections. What makes these kids iGen is not knowledge or capabilities but it is attitude and comfort level. they’re volatile. mindsets. Teacher 1. Teacher 2. Email has been considered for “old people” as far back as late 2007.0 and way too many of our IT departments and administrators make excuses that we don’t use the technology because: We don’t have time. It doesn’t help students pass the test. Kids will cheat.0 are those who want to consume and create in the digital age. Educators need to be aware that these tools disappear too quickly for us to really engage with them pedagogically. they’re headed places unknown. I suggest the students a few years older than my own child in elementary and younger are now the iGeneration (or iGen. Teacher 1. high schoolers. the test makers just want to make their money. Why do today’s teachers generalize this notion of using . Don Tapscott calls current undergrads. while our students are metaphoric rockets. and they have an enormous potential payoff. and believe our pedagogical practices are effective. <put my consumption image here!> Crude & Awkward In closing. don’t naturally share their public profiles.generations. don’t necessarily instinctively go to the internet first.0 ignores this shift. they go at hide speed.

analyzing. What do we do? How do we reform education? We don’t need educational reform.0 are not just using technology differently. Today’s student is a different beast than their predecessors: US. coordinating.technology to cheat? This is profound because today’s students need to learn HOW to find knowledge and information rather than worrying about how they find that knowledge. gaming. And with these discussions. Generation X (for the most part) teachers. but this generation is different. exchanging. evaluations. formerly used our own personal. The silent film format was cutting edge and brand new a century ago. Teacher 2. learning. younger experiences to relate to our students. they were “crude and awkward”. no one knew what the next step was and no one knew where this all was headed. Students have online ways of communicating. as teachers. Those filmmakers were rudimentary. creating. programming. I hope we find them. . This is grass roots. We. evolving. Flash forward a hundred years and we have 3D television technology for our living rooms and watch film leap out at us from 15 story movie screens. but I am ok being called crude and awkward. they are reshaping their entire lives with technology. and. buying/selling. collecting. Here I’ll borrow William Kist’s silent film metaphor. reporting. sharing. etc…. searching. meeting. Sure educational reform may take 100 years but I’m ready to start now. We can’t do that now. we need new educational forms. Student 2.0 like you and me are the pioneers. I don’t know about you.