Make it Real and Make it Matter
A Vision of Students Today
Before even reading Welsh’s article, I viewed the video “A Vision of Students Today” as part of a media literacy piece in a Northern Rhode Island Collaborative grant I am a part of called “Teaching American History.” Not only are northern Rhode Island history teachers of any age group taught relevant content for our subject matter, but we are also provided with training on how to incorporate more technology and social media into our classrooms. Before we even began our training, our professor from Drexel University told us a story – “If Paul Revere was brought back to life, he would be absolutely petrified. He would see cars, skyscrapers, and people in exotic dress. However, the one place he would feel safe would be a school, because the physical structure has not changed since he was a young boy.” That’s a pretty scary statement if you think about it. So, as part of this grant that dealt in part with media literacy, we were trained in how to use blogs, Glogster (a website where you can create a collage poster of yourself), and EModo (an educational Facebook for teachers to connect with their students). Unfortunately, my school has all these sites blocked (which is something we have to battle with as teachers). For those of you who have not seen the video, it is extremely powerful:
I know I have wasted money on textbooks I’ll never use again. Or never opened in the first place. Then, when I would go return them, I’d get 20 bucks or I was told the school is getting a new edition and mine was outdated. Awesome.
Diane and Jim’s Socratic seminar last class really sheds light on Welsh’s idea of “the only answer to the best questions is another good question.” (5) Socrates really challenged his students to become better thinkers, not by supplying them with the answers, but probing and asking continuous questions to enable his students to gain critical thinking skills. Sometimes it’s hard as the “expert” in the classroom to not jump in with our knowledge, but I guess this is why most lessons begin with essential questions (again, like Diane and Jim’s presentation last week). I think Socrates would have been pleased!
Connect the Dots
Hopefully, as educators, we can continue to connect the dots and fill in the holes for our students to make sense of their education. Students, especially at the middle and high school level, struggle to find meaning in their classes. It is our job to help our students “recognize their own importance in helping shape the future of this increasingly global, interconnected society.” (7)