Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a cave-man and a cave-woman. His name was "Ugh", and her name was "Oogh". There actually were many cave-people in that small cave-town, but our story centers around Ugh and Oogh. Oogh was a teacher at the cave-school, and Ugh was the principal and primary financial backer of the school (in other words, he caught lunch every day and cooked it for the students).

One day, Oogh found that if she took several leaves and bound them together with a stem, she could have a fun resource for the classroom. Her students gave her that idea, as it was the newest and coolest thing among the teen-cave-folk. She approached Ugh. Their dialogue went something like this:

Oogh: Ungha oog. Umble unga ooga? (Look at this. Isn't it cool?)

Ugh: Nunga. Yunga booga icka ooga. Chunga unga. (No. It's a teenager's booga. Yuck.)

Oogh: Dunga, booga icka ooga rungi chunga do Oogh. (No, I made the book. I think we could use it in the classroom to enhance instruction.

Ugh: Nunga. (No, that's ridiculous. Kids today don't need these fancy booga's, they need to be taught how to hunt and gather. That's how we survive. That's the education we need.)

Oogh: Ungha ooga booga. (Come now, don't you see? The world is changing. Soon, we will all live in a world with books, where knowledge is king. Don't you want our students at the forefront of that?)

Ugh: hahahahahaha! Ungha nunga booga. (Laughter. That will NEVER happen. Things will never change, they will always stay the same.)

And with that, Oogh gave up her dream of teaching with booga's as part of the curriculum. She did, however, keep some booga's in her room, and she would teach with them whenever Ugh was out hunting. The end.

Okay, so that story wasn't true, but isn't that similar to a lot of conversations going on right now? Whenever I tell people that I teach with iPods, I encounter at least one person that will sound an awful lot like Ugh. I am told that iPods are toys, and that there is no way that students would ever use them for an educational reason. Why change the text books? Books are sacred and always will be.

Think about that for a minute. Think about how many books are written each day, and the rising costs of things like electricity, paper and ink. Do you really see a world where the printed word will be king forever? Me neither.

So, which will you choose to be? Will you be a person who embraces change and implements it daily in your classroom? Or will you be a nay-sayer who believes the future will never change? Will you be Ugh or Oogh?

Ooghs of the world - unite!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Spring Break?

I hate bugs. I mean, I hate them. I had just set out to make some yummy white-chocolate-covered-strawberries last night, when I discovered that some tiny little gnat-like things had beat me to my bar of baking chocolate. And then I discovered the rest of them. Needless to say, my husband and I spent the rest of the evening and well into the night cleaning out our entire pantry. Fun.

I say this not because I never want you to eat at my house, or so that you think that I live in a pigsty, but instead to prove a point. The bugs were not there a week ago. Trust me - I would have seen them. Yet the near-infestation that occurred sometime in the past week really got me thinking - isn't the internet like that?

Take Karl Fisch for example. I have linked to Karl at least five times now, and if you have yet to check out his page, what are you waiting for? Anyway, last August, his school asked him to speak at a PD. He created this little powerpoint called "Did You Know?" Some of his coworkers wanted to show it to spouses, so he posted it on his blog. They told people, who told other people, who posted it on youtube and in email messages. Short version of the story? "Did You Know?" has gone viral, to the point that many of the presentations (including the one that I like to show) hardly resemble the original post! Estimates show that over 2 MILLION people have viewed a version of his modest powerpoint.



The internet is already having a more powerful impact on our world than was ever thought possible. In less than 8 months, Karl's life has forever changed. I have heard people who have said that education doesn't need to change any to reflect this "internet thing". Are you kidding? If one man and his modest powerpoint can reach over 2 million people in less than 7 months, how can we assume that education doesn't need to change? The way that our students get information right now is so totally different from how we obtain info. Think about it - how many of you still get a paper newspaper? How many of your students get papers? If they get the news, they probably get it from TV/internet.

Anyway, sorry about the mini-rant, but if we don't mull over these ideas, how are we going to answer our students' questions? Thoughts?

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education of the Future, Random