Monday, November 22, 2010

Additional Assignment #5

My review of four posts from Tom Johnson's Adventures in Pencil Intergration

Just teach them to solve for X
Instead of having the students solve for 'x' in math class.  Tom Johnson has the kids create metaphors to explain the concept of 'x'.  The CANDY LAND specialist inturrups his class because she doesn't agree with this method of teaching.  She thinks, in math, you should be taught cold hard truths, truths so the students can understand the world.  As Tom (Mr. Spencer) explains, there is no clarity like this in the learning process.  While we learn there is mud and confusion and mishaps.  Then, there is understanding and clarity.  Learning is messy.

Sketchy Portraits: 8th Grade Identity and Pencils
 I like to keep in mind that he is talking about computers and technology in general.  Yes, I thought it was pretty obvious of this fact when I was first introduced to this blog.

But, this post delves into more of the psychology of why middle schoolers behave the way they do.  They want to be treated as kids and adults.  They want to have freedom and govern themselves, yet they still cling onto the security of childhood.  This is just the nature of a middle schooler.

It's important to be shaped by the students we teach

He Just Likes the Class for the Pencils
So, a boy is accused of being disrespectful in all his class but the one that uses technology (Tom's class).  The other teachers write off Tom as not having a voice in the meeting because the boy likes Toms class,; he likes Mr. Toms class beacuse of the technology.  But, as you find out, he boy enjoys Mr Tom's class for more than the techonolgy.  Mr Tom actually listens to the student.  There is a mutual level of respect.  Tom Johnson is an innovative teacher and even though he is using technology, the students love his class for reasons beyond the technology.

The Medium Shapes the Learning
The tool we use, the medium we teach with, shapes our learning.  I about typed, "shapes the students learning" but I would like to steer away from the notion of the the students are the ones learning.  The classroom it is our learning experience not just the students.

This was a very thought provoking post.  As new technology comes out (not just the pencils any more but film and telegraphs), we must understand how to effectively teach with each, and understand how the medium creates an experience...which determines what we learn.

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