Sunday, December 6, 2009

Digital Natives

With a lot of help from my very patient son who is a digital native, I was able to create my first podcast. I found Audacity exciting and fun to use, but changing to MP3 capability and creating the pod page link proved to be too much for this teacher. I am happy to say that my son explained how to navigate around, and pointed out the “obvious” details that I was over looking. Thank you John, you are a life saver!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

21st Century Skills

Ohio is the 14th state to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. This is an organization whose mission statement is:
“The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has emerged as the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education to ensure every child's success as citizens and workers in the 21st century. The Partnership encourages schools, districts and states to advocate for the infusion of 21st century skills into education and provides tools and resources to help facilitate and drive change.”
—Partnership for 21st Century Skills
At first I didn’t know anything about this group, so I went to their website and did some exploring. I read recent articles where I found out that Ohio, the state I teach in, just became the most recent state to join the organization. I started to think. If the organization was established in 2002, why are there only fourteen states signed up in 2009? As I read more from their web site I quickly noticed that much of their organizing partners are companies that have a vested interest in requiring schools to teach how to utilize their products. Many of the teacher support tools are products designed by the companies that created this organization. When you look at their mission statement it is the business community that is listed before educators. I may be wrong but I am a mathematics teacher. I am good at my job and I will have my students ready to graduate. I want to incorporate technology into the class room to improve student performance but I don’t like business and politics telling me how to teach. I did not see anywhere in this website how they want to tell parents how to instill these same qualities and practices in our youth that they are asking educators to do.
I am a teacher that will go out and find the continuing education and resources that are needed for me to help my students become productive members of society. But please do not put the whole burden of raising today’s children on educators.
If you would like to learn more about Partnership for 21st Century go to the link below.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The students in my 10th Grade Geometry and Algebra II classes have never done any blogging other than social blogging. With this being my first attempt at a class blog, I am not sure what the students are open to try.
So I went to my students and I asked them, “What kind of class blog should we set up?” They all had blank looks on their faces. How do you blog in math? I explained to them that it should encourage discovery, processing, critical thinking and reflection. One student finally regained some sparkle in his eyes as he told me about a wonderful Darth Vader video on Youtube. In the video, Darth Vader is rapping about the Pythagorean Theorem. Would he be able to post something like that to share with the class? I explained that with the video he would have to critique it for accuracy and how it related to math. His enthusiasm was so great, the rest of the class wanted to see this video. The ideas started to flow.
I plan on staring with one of my classes. I see 138 students each day in six classes. If I have six different bogs I am afraid I will be over whelmed. It is a start. Where do I go from here?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It’s the day after elections and the Ohio voters always amaze me. In our school district we had a levy up for a new high school. If the residents passed the levy the tax payers would have had to pay half of the $25 million cost, with the State of Ohio contributing the other $12.5 million. The levy committee was selling it to the community as a 50% off sale. Not a bad deal. The voters reject the offer by a 56% to 44% margin.
Let’s take a look at what the people did vote for. By a 54% to 46 % margin the residents of Ohio voted to allow casinos and all forms of gambling. Now I enjoy going to the casinos once in a while but I also vote for all the school levies as they come up. The people in our communities have made their choice. They would rather lose their money at the casinos than to invest in student education.