Classrooms aren’t always represented accurately in the media. It is not uncommon for news outlets to highlight the latest teacher scandals but ignore the quality work the majority of teachers are doing. Popular television shows often show students seated neatly in rows, reading textbooks, and looking bored. Images of blackboards and chalk still abound when referencing education, yet the classrooms I see everyday are filled with the very opposite of these depictions.
Nearly five years ago, Gurnee District 56 embarked on a journey to equip students in the district with iPads to be used as their primary curriculum delivery tool. As we began that journey, there were no road maps to follow, and many times it felt as if we were walking in a dense forest with no idea what lurked five feet ahead of us. In a truly collaborative effort, we began to clear the forest and discover enough light to chart a clear path forward. We have come so far since then.
In my last blog, we explored activities to help students “frame the system” rather than game the system in order to think critically about the rules that should govern their digital lifestyles. Now I’d like to discuss an activity that helps students develop digital citizenship skills by imagining new technologies. The goal is for students to take charge of their futures by inventing it. Digital citizenship is often approached from a reactive perspective in response to unwanted behavior like cyberbullying or cyberstalking. In contrast, this activity approaches digital citizenship proactively, casting students in the roles of leaders and “imagineers.”
A recent study by Gallup found that only one in five parents are fully engaged with their child’s school. In my 19 years of teaching, I’ve tried every form of communication to bridge the gap between home and the classroom—emails, texting, blogging, a YouTube channel, Facebook.
Whole class instruction concerns me. As I scan my students’ faces for signs of comprehension or confusion, I worry if I am speaking too slowly or quickly. Have I made the research process transparent enough?
We are up against a serious neurological challenge in terms of students making ethical decisions. For most of us, the brain’s neo-cortex—where the seat of ethical judgment resides—is not fully formed until we reach our early twenties.
Before the recent inauguration, then Vice-President Elect Pence accused the news media of being biased. As the media and Washington seem to be careening out of control, our students and their families are becoming more confused about navigating news.