Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Teaching: Old School + Technology

When all of the students own iphones, how does an educator compete? There are a multitude of innovations that have made it easier than ever to communicate, but how do we utilize this technology to help educate the next generation, without distracting from our real point?

I sometimes find myself having a hard time concentrating on a novel, or a long article, because I am so used to reading 150 character tweets and statuses which are coming at me every time I refresh my browser. Because those statements are short, punchy, and to the point, it's hard to not get comfortable with the instant gratification. It really makes you think, are there really so many students being diagnosed with ADHD because the internet has ruined all of our attention spans?

When it comes to technology, I am an avid promoter. I think that when one knows how to use technology in the classroom, it is a force to be reckoned with. However, there is something to be said for the more conventional ways of teaching as well. You still need to probe and prompt students to scaffold the information themselves, otherwise they may not ever really understand it. But you can do this while still utilizing visuals and connections.

I for one love pop-culture references, as most of our society does. I think that it doesn't really matter if a student is learning to apply their new knowledge in a way that means something to them, as long as it works. Then they can also apply it to the curriculum.

But what happens when we have all of this technology and no one to train us on it? It's true that smart boards are a wonderful tool, but I have observed too many technological issues that happen in the middle of lessons. Yes, we should have a back up plan for any lesson, but technology issues also affect productivity in a large way. If the technology fails in a 45 minute period, you in no way are able to make up that time.

There has to be a balance. I'm striving to find it, and as I become more technology savvy, I hope to improve my lessons and help students become stronger writers and readers. I'm in it for the kids, and I'll never forget that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Busy Lifestyles

Hello internet, how are you today?
I’m aware that it’s been some time since I’ve written a truly significant post here, so I decided throw down an attempt. I’ve recently been drastically busy. School has started up again, I’m in the process of completing my student teaching requirements, and I have a brand new part-time job.

What I’ve come to realize though, is this, I really prefer being busy over anything else. I like having an active & hectic lifestyle. I like feeling the rush of having to get things done, because it makes me feel a level of importance. It makes me feel motivated, and driven. To be honest, it probably truly makes me more motivated and driven.
I’m not saying that there is no benefit to taking a break and decompressing, but it’s been my experience that when my vacations occur, I am pretty excited initially, and then I just become bored. There’s only so much I can find on stumbleupon, or so many people I can friend on Facebook.

It just gets to the point where I need to get busy again in order to be genuinely happy. So this is going to be another “turning a seemingly negative into a positive” statement, but here goes. Embrace the busy. Take it all with your chin up and smile wide. There may come a time, when you’re not so young, and you wish you were able to be as busy as you can be today.
Be as busy as you can right now, because the busiest people know how to prioritize and take control of their lives. The busiest people know how to get what they need, and also express what they have to in order to get what they want.
You can let fate lead you, but only so far. At some point you need to take control, whether you’re fully confident or you’re just faking it for now. 

Boorito 2011

I'm actually genuinely excited about this Halloween promotion from Chipotle. Apparently the famous burrito chain is partnering with the not-for-profit organization Farm Aid, and their own not-for-profit org, Chipotle Cultivate. If you dress in a costume on Halloween, they'll sell you a burrito for $2, regularly around $10. 

But this is the coolest part, they're donating the proceeds up to $1,000,000 to the two foundations, which work "to keep farmers on the land and nurture a better agricultural system."

Halloween promotions are not a new thing, as McDonalds has been offering free happy meals to costumed rugrats for as long as I can remember. However, it's a really cool thing that they are donating this money to a good cause. 

I haven't much else to say on the subject, other than small steps cause big change, and it's nice to see some companies recognizing this

Check it out: here. Or pick up a flyer at the register in any of their chains.