I’m “taking” Google101: Google in the Classroom from ItunesU
I just finished the assignment of reading http://electriceducator.blogspot.com/2009/11/google-proof-questioning-new-use-for.html and this is my response.
Regarding Google Proof questions – I’m of several different minds.
1. In high school my Mom approached the principal about the nature of our finals. She questioned the wisdom of having us memorize and use correctly 20or more formulas. She explained as a scientist, she didn’t rely on her memory, when running tests. People’s lives depended on the results (she was involved in some of the 1st kidney transplants). She always double checked formulas.
2. The same Mom made sure my sister and I had our math facts memorized. Before scanners my Mom could mentally add up the contents of her shopping basket faster than the clerk could ring her up.
3. Dr. Suh at university. After on of those Americans are stupid survey/tests was published, we asked him why he chose to teach Americans in a US university. He told us that Americans might have to look up facts his Japanese students would have had memorized, but the Americans could do more with the information. After I started teaching with the TAKS Testheld over our heads, I always wanted to know if this held up for him or did the ability of hisAmerican students fell off as THE TEST became the focus education.
My conclusion – There are somethings that students need to memorize. Math facts are a big one. We can show the all the different ways to think about putting numbers together and taking them apart, but at some point they need to stop counting on their fingers and know the facts. They also need to have a sense of history. They don’t need to know the date of every battle, but they need to know the American Revolution comes before the American Civil War.
There are other things, where it is way more important to be able to understand the facts and used them to think, ask, and answer more abstract questions.
I was also interested in the comment from the Mother back at the main article. Her daughter was in a remedial class. Instead of having face to face conversations, the class of 13 were blogging. First I have to question the assumption by the Mom that there was no face to face conversations. I agree with the people that pointed out having students blog is a way of improving their writing, and making sure everyone responded. Also I hope that the teacher was encouraging outsiders to comment on the students’ blog posts. I had a big problem with the tone of some of the responses. I felt they were arrogant and the type of response that earn teachers bad reputations.
The Cullen Building at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My kids love Google Earth. If given free time on the Ipads they will frequently choose the Google Earth App. So when I saw Google Earth Walks posted by our district’s CITS on Twitter (#icafelc), I knew I needed to try it. They had posted a link to http://googleearthwalks.com/ and all the instructions are under resources.
THey are clear and easy to follow. Basically I located geotagged image with Creative Commons licences on flickr. Then I put a place marker at that location. I added an image using the using the HTML/BBCode under the share tab. Below that I added a question that involved ordering numbers by place value. When I was finished I had an interesting whole group lesson that will grab their attention.
Here are the “Stops on our walk”.
If you would like to use the Google Earth Walk here a link to the file.
Instructions for using the kmz files on Ipads are on the Google Walks site. I’m going to use these as part of my small group rotations.
Honestly a phone is the last on my list of Tech wants for my classroom. There are plenty of things I need to teach that should be coming before phones.
1st I need the building and portables wired for an alarm system. How many thousands of dollars do we have to lose to theft before something basic is done? Though they got zip in the last break in – only because we move the equipment out of the portables and into the building each night.
Next I need the wifi to work in the portables that house our older students and be open for the i-touches and personal computers. If people can sit at the HS tennis courts and get on line through school wi fi, how come our portables can’t?
Then I need projectors in all the classrooms, because the TV’s on my campus are useless for showing things on the computer. We are supposed to be using the computer based math curriculum, but the kids can only see a fuzzy mess on the screen.
After that I want the new printers. Can they print legal as well as 8.5 x 11 paper? I spent an hour hand feeding legal sized paper to my classroom printer for a report my principal needed. I had a ton of other things I could have been doing, instead of feeding in one sheet at a time.
I know our IT people have no control over this. It is the board and vendors that cause the road blocks, but it is frustrating to see things that aren’t needed rolled out while the things we need are held up in red tape. Dell has to spec out each room for the projectors. That is going to take years. In the meanwhile we get programs and licenses that I’m sure cost tens of thousands of dollars – to do things I can do on Google for free.