Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stuck Between Two Centuries of Teaching

Why is it I feel so stuck between 20th Century Teaching and 21st Century Skills? I mean, I get that technology in the classroom is a mindset, not a skill set. I get the pedagogy has to change to be effective in reaching students today. I even get that learning and living with technology need to be somewhat equivalent in the classroom if I am ever going to completely immerse myself into 21st Century teaching. Trouble is, I'm struggling with how to do this well with a tool set available only once a week.

Learning to differentiate the mindset from the tools when the tools are only available once or twice a week has been an increasing challenge as I move away from a teacher centered classroom to a student centered one. I'm just wondering, is it truly possible? Is it beneficial to students or is it a distraction?

Does learning to think differently require total immersion into the new thought process? Does bouncing back and forth between teacher centered instruction and student centered instruction confuse kids or is it just confusing me?

I've had the luxury of utilizing our laptop library everyday for the past two weeks due to our state testing schedule and I don't want to go back to my one day a week laptop schedule. That's when I feel like learning is about the tool set, not the mindset. I'll go back to thinking - "how will I use the laptops today instead of using the laptops?" and take two steps backward.


And fortunately, in our classrooms there are laptops to use.


  1. Right now I am sooooo teacher centered and totally feel the need to be. These sixth graders do not know how to think or organize their thoughts. They lack skills that have to be taught by a teacher using direct instruction. Otherwise, they lose any sense of engagement. They are so easily UNENGAGED and rarely put forth their best effort unless required to do so moment by moment. In teaching them to read (access information) and write (process information), I feel I am laying the foundation for use of technology. If they can't even write...what service am I giving them. Group work is mostly out of the questions for these guys "cause they cannot stay focused and they lack social skills, self-control. Forget independent, student centered learning without major structure. I guess I can see baby- stepping them toward aspects of independent work the natural differentiation that springs from teacher directed instruction as you see those students emerge and manifest their skill level...but as you that point I need a laptop handy 24-7. I can't PLAN for those moments and SIGN UP for those moments. I need the tools to be available when those moments arrive. Right?

  2. I really think this is a huge catch 29. But we need to use innovative trouble-shooting to work around it. If they are working collaboratively on assignments, can it be done from home between the group? I really think student-centered learning will grab students attention faster than teacher lead instruction. We need to make the jump. But that is so easy for me to say since I am not in the trenches.