Thoughts from a reflective educator.
When I learned how to ride a bicycle, I practiced with training wheels first because my parents thought that it would be too difficult for me to learn how to balance myself, steer, and pedal all at the same time. I eventually learned how to ride a bike without training wheels but it was challenging for me.
The way I see it, there are two possible futures. In one possible future we will always have computers and electronic devices and students should learn how to use these devices. With the exception of certain skills we want to be automatic for students, they really should learn nothing that can be done by a computer faster and cheaper. No more graphing, algebra, differentiation, integration, etc... as these can all be done easily with a computer. There are other ways to teach students algorithms and logical thinking.
This is essentially a summary of Ben Grey's and Jeff Arnett's session on podcasting from ASCD 2010. Pretty useful session, I liked the summary of why students should be podcasting.
This morning I was not able to attend a session on using iPod touches in the classroom because it was cancelled, and then I missed an opportunity to learn more about Smartboards because the session was full. I was upset but sat down and looked through the program and tried to find an alternative. Finally I settled on a session about learning about how adults learn differently than children.
A typical classroom might look something like this. The problem with this arrangement that I see is that almost no one actually works under this arrangement. Why not? It's distracting! this is similar to the layout in a lot of teacher staff rooms, and it is my experience that very little work happens in the staff room when it is full. There are too many people around and too many things to see and do.