I really appreciate the questions many of you raised in class today. Whether we want to admit it or not, teaching is fraught with moral decisions. I am glad you are wrestling with the practicalities of working with young children. As pointed out in class, you would not use twitter with elementary students, but to understand the pros/cons of using technologies like twitter and blogs, we will make use of them as adults. Once you have used these technologies you are in a much better place to critique these technologies. If we simply ignore such technologies, we do not do our students justice. Instead, like all learning activities, we must guide our students toward appropriate use. There were similar arguments made long ago against inventions like writing and the printing press, yet these technologies now pervade our lives (see this site for an interesting perspective on pencils). Right or wrong, these new technologies are part of our world. I hope the discussions and use we make of these technologies better prepares you for engaging students in high levels of thinking and that you understand the role technology can play in enhancing as well as diminishing that kind of thinking.
I know that as of now, this course seems like a “tech” course. That is not the intent. My hope is that by next week we are able to use these tools to enhance our learning about teaching science both inside and outside the classroom. However, there is a steep learning curve for getting the hang of the technologies, so stick with me!
Most of class on Monday will be devoted to refining our goals for students as well as some introductory activities for helping students think like scientists. If you are still having trouble setting up a blog, twitter, diigo, or googleapps by next class session, I will expect you to show up for office hours so we can get to hooked in.
Thank you for your attention in class today and for working diligently on the “pretests”. Keep raising issues and concerns. If I don’t have a strong rationale for something, I should not be doing it. Hold me to this, and hold yourself to it when you teach students.