Friday, May 28, 2010

Ready, Aim, Text!

Here's another couple of comments on education.  I accompanied my adopted daughter to high school today because I was very concerned about some of her behaviors.  Maybe every parent should do this, because even though I taught junior high last year, I have lost touch with what's happening in elementary and high school, and I was very surprised at the changes. Mind you, this is the second to last week of school, so I realize student behavior relaxes even though most teachers try to run business as usual.  One of the problems I noticed was that so many students came into class with the Ipod earphones in their ears.  They probably think the teachers don't notice because they are so small and the wires can run down the insides of their shirts.  There is still debate as to whether students can really concentrate well doing homework while listening to music or watching tv, or both, let alone concentrating on what they are supposed to be listening to and learning in the classroom while Lil' Wayne is blaring in their ears.
Also, many of the students had cellphones and Blackberries that they kept right on their desks--in plain sight! A girl sitting next to me was either texting, e-mailing, or surfing the web through an entire class.  Another one of the teacher's informed her class that all cell phones needed to be turned off during a computer-based test they were taking.
Furthermore, my daughter wanted to show up to school almost an hour early because she wanted to go to the computer lab.  Although the posted rules state that there is to be no downloading, e-mailing, chatting, gaming, or running off copies, the students were doing it. 
Maybe these new methods of communication are so widespread, with both students and parents that don't see anything wrong with them, that teachers have given up (or have had to give up) enforcing the rules against these technologies within the classroom.
In the junior high I worked at last year, cell phones, Ipods, Blackberries, etc, were not to be visible, and if teachers saw them, we were to confiscate them, so students didn't blatently use them,   Even so, I still had students who stayed sleepy all day because, as they bragged, they had been up all night texting, gaming, or surfing the web.  I think most students think teachers are really dry and boring in comparison with all these new inventions.  If anything kills education, it will probably be a combination of texting, Ipods, and fingertip access to the web.  Who knows what they will invent next--but I'm sure it won't have educational value.

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