Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blog Assignment #10

This is a cartoon drawn by John T. Spencer. The drawing of the boy on the left says he is a Papermate (a cheap brand that makes pens, pencils, etc.) The drawing of the boy on the right says he is a Ticonderoga (a more expensive brand of the same thing). Notice that the Papermate boy is dresses for success and looks very intelligent in his glasses and combed back hair. The "Hipster" Spencer draws as the Ticonderoga representative looks unhappy with scruffy clothes and long untamed hair. What does the pencil they each were drawn with have to do with the look of the boy in each picture? I, myself, am not 100 percent sure, but I think Spencer is trying to convey to his readers that investing in all the expensive merchandise is not what makes you smart or successful. Investing in hard work, perseverance  and the depth of the material is what makes you smart and successful.

In Spencer's Why Were Your Kids Playing Games post, he describes a conversation between him and his principal in which he was getting in trouble for "playing games" during class. Unfortunately, the principal failed to see the educational approach that Spencer was using and that the results were very educational. The principal told him he was not allowed to play games and sent him out saying that he should try an algorithmic factory. So Spencer created a new game called "The Factory".
In Spencer's Remember Pencil Quests, he tells about a time in his sophomore year when they went on a 'pencil quest' that was like a scavenger hunt yet all the students were given maps and had to all take the same route. As he looks back and criticizes the activity as something that didn't give the students the opportunity to choose and learn, he realizes that back then those teachers were the ones trying to do "something different" just as he is now. He then wonders if his students will grow up to think that his activities didn't help them learn.

The last post is by Dr. McLeod. It is Don't Teach Your Kids This, Please? It basically lists all the things people who aren't technologically literate think that technology will do to our students. They might cheat, look up porn, or get bullied. They don't need an audience when they write. They definitely don't need cell phones in school. These are all things that he mentions in his post, which, I might add, is tackled from a completely sarcastic point of view. At the end, he proposes a challenge for teachers not to do all this and see how is ahead in the long run as far as student learning goes: him or them.
I can't say that I agree 100 percent with what he says about they way others think or with his own point of view. I guess I'm on the fence. I do think that technology is important, and I do think that it will help children learn. But I also think that students are too immature to use it for the right reasons. A friend of mine is in the 11th grade and has a Mac issued by the school. He told me the other day that he loves being able to have it in front of him in class because he just watches movies all day... and he is number 1 in his class. What does this say about everyone else in the 11th grade? It also scares me to think that technology is starting to replace teachers and the students don't have a choice. I despise online courses at South. I like having the option to sit in a class where the teacher only lectures and no technology is required. I fear that someday students won't have that option, and some students will get left behind.


  1. Papermate is a metaphor for a PC. Ticonderoga is a metaphor for a Mac. The cartoon characters resemble the stars of the long series (66 over 4 years) of Apple ads starring John Hodgman as PC and Justin Long as Mac.

    "But I also think that students are too immature to use it for the right reasons." Immature? Or just untaught? I see it as an opportunity for teaching. Teachers set the conditions for behavior with the principles they teach and follow.

    You correctly identified Dr. McLeod's satire and his sarcastic message: you can try to keep your kids away from technology which is fine with me. Mine will use it and speed past your kids in skills, abilities and rewards.

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  3. I really enjoyed your post Roanna! I understand where you are coming from with the fear of the future and the possibility of teachers becoming extinct. I think about what my role as a history teacher will be in 10-15 years. Honestly I do not believe teachers will disappear, but the role a teacher plays in the classroom will change. Right now students are being pushed along in schools because the government made a declaration, not because they have mastered the content. I know of a school within 25 miles of our university where children entering the third grade can't even write their own name correctly. Across the country teachers are afraid of a policy that influences some of them to basically give students answers to pass tests to get grades. When these children reach the next grade and they fail, then administrators want to know why that teacher is being ineffective. Teachers are having to teach to tests majority of their time versus actually working with students to see that they have mastered the content. School will have to change, bottom line. The teaching methods from the 20th century are not effective anymore because life is not the same as it was then. The world is fast tracked and for teachers/schools to keep up, the methods and approaches have to change. Think about this, what if banks had not changed their approach to doing daily business with the integration of technology. Instead of being on the fence give technology a chance. It will move ahead with or without us.