I am sitting in my classroom watching my students work on a project. They are TOTALLY quiet, even though I said they could visit if they needed to as they were working on a project. I told them they had to choose a topic from several I had written on the whiteboard. We are studying reform in Texas and World War I.
Now these are not normally topics that seventh graders are interested in, after all they are not full of video game type activities. But alas they sit enthralled, working hard on this project. Why? Because they are using the world they LIVE IN! Electronic and immediate!
I could have given them a book assignment, but how excited are we with a one dimensional assignment in this world? I love books, but I too love the sounds, colors and sights of the Internet It is such a rich environment in which to explore and learn, so this is why they are using a laptop, instead of a book.
Our kids have grown up in a world where one dimensional learning is passe. They hardly now of it, sad, but it is our reality. I too am fighting the battle of using my Kindle or a traditional book. The touch of the book and the smell of it are all things I grew up and still love, But the ease of my Ipad and Kindle app are a strong pull to be sure.
But as I sit here watching these students of today “learn” at their own pace in their own way, I realized that we are going to have to make electronic learning the norm. I now the argument, too expensive. But is it? We have the money in education, we just need to “reassign” it.
My school district just gave our leader an extra $40,000 a year and created a position where the person who fills it will receive close to $200,000 so please don’t tell me that we don’t have the money. Anybody know how much the textbook people want to charge for books that become outdated in a year. Come on, let’s stop making the money excuse. Can we afford not to do it?
As I sit here and watch my students I see them engaged, without my having to constantly prompt them, they are doing it on their own and that is a great thing to see. They are no longer practicing “learned-helplessness” but have become self-directed learners. And that is the goal, at least if you ask me. What do you think? Until next time, peace.