Saturday, January 28, 2006

Computers in the classroom: "Today's tech-savvy students are stuck in text-dominated schools"

a leisurely afternoon at uni
Originally uploaded by asterope*.
"Today's tech-savvy students are stuck in text-dominated schools," says research in a report entitled Listening to Student Voices - on Technology. It arrived via

My students at Caddo Magnet High are encouraged to bring their laptops to school and use them during social studies class. They can take notes, research relevant material, make instantaneous contributions to class and email me their essays.

There are 2 desktop computers in my room and students are encouraged to use them for any academic purpose during class. Students also use the units under my purview before and after school and at lunch. They check the class web site for assignments and notes, download material for class activities, download and edit videos, crop photos, and check email.

Thus I try to foster a a sense of cooperative inquiry in academic activities - using the tools of the business and academic world.

Students who stray from appropriate and academic sites are banned from the privilage for a week or longer.

At the end of each semester my students must present a brief digital individual portfolio composed of images of samples of:
academic papers, activities in which they participated and photos of themselves and friends.

The classroom digital cameras are available from me upon appropriate request. They go into circulation several times a day. I also check out the *teacher videocam" to students when needed. Also, I have a friend who gives away refurbished computers to families in need; several of my students have gained from his generosity.

Thanks to a program called Louisiana InTech I spent 56 hours in intensive workshop sessions designed to help me guide students in the use of digital tools. Thanks to fluent and generous teacher Mike Rabourn of the Caddo tech team, the sessions were very helpful. Another fellow teacher who's been inspiring and generous with his time and expertise - wireless in my classroom, for instance - is William Bill Knox.


Tony Reans said...

Robert, you kick butt.

If more schools and teachers would get with it and let students use technology like you do, Americans wouldn't be the academic slugs they are. Your students no doubt appreciate the opportunities you allow them at Magnet, and they'll benefit from it for the rest of their lives.

Not allowing this kind of learning would be like letting kids into a library, and telling them they can't actually open the books. Kids are surrounded by technology every moment they are away from school. Why not surround them with it at school, if it can be used to teach them? At least they'll learn that computers are good for more than text-messaging and watching DVDs.

Good for you and Magnet. I didn't know this kind of thing was going on there. It's one more reason the Magnet system of schools deserves the good reputation it has.

ltlrat said...

This is a great thing for college prep too. As I've learned, many college courses post assignments and readings online using Blackboard and WebCT, not to mention emailing the professor is a common task (getting assignments from being absent or asking questions). It's most professors' preferred method of communication with students. Students also have school emails addresses which they're required to check daily for announcements and notifications.

I'm glad to see you taking the initiative Trudeau. I know you're good at getting students into the digital realm (i.e. putting a digital camcorder in my hands freshman year).

Keep up the good work
-Evan F.

Tony Reans said...

You're right, Evan. I graduated high school in 1989, and computers were extremely rare in schools. When I went back to college in 1999, Blackboard was still pretty new, but by the time I graduated in 2004, everyone seemed to be using it. It made things much easier, as long you had internet access. Being a poor college student, sometimes that was difficult. But overall, it was a huge help. Registering, finding grades, turning in assignments, everything was easier that way.

So it's good to see technology find its way into High Shool. At my daughter's elementary school (a couple of years ago), the students still had to use a computer lab, and learned technology in only one classroom. And in her middle school, it's the same. They don't allow them new-fangled gizmos in the classroom. But I hope that eventually that mentality will die out.

Anonymous said...

Dude, this post deserves to be one of the entries on the WikiLog.

trudeau said...

Thanks for responding.

Today, schooling is about the strange - and perhaps slightly helpful - world of increasing the results on test scores. if the US puts too much emphasis on traditional testing and doesn't respond to the open-ended digital world adequately, we may lose the ultimate prize - being competitive in real world productivity.

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