Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Vision of Students Today #52

In 2007, Michael Wesch of Kansas State University published a video that struck me at the time as a landmark video about the use of technology in the classroom. Prior to this, I used to stop the few students who had them from using their laptops in the classroom - on the basis that they were disrupting the class. Facebook was strictly forbidden. But - after seeing Wesch's video, I did a complete about-turn and allowed students to use whatever they wanted to in class. My reasoning for this is that they could be using technology (including Facebook) for learning. I do advise that no one should disturb or disrupt others in the class - occasionally some students try to test me on this and how far I will let them go. However, I don't police the classroom any longer and only admonish students if they appear to be disturbing others.

I feel that Wesch's video, though nine years old now (and watched over 5.2 million times), still holds some truths for us all today. Here it is...

There is a great quote from Josiah F. Bumstead in the video:

The inventor of the system deserves to be ranked among the best contributors to learning and science, if not the greatest benefactors of mankind 

This quote is from 1841, and the "system" referred to was a blackboard. The book by Bumstead that this is taken from is called "The Black Board in the Primary School: A Manual for Teachers". Elsewhere in the book, Bumstead recalls asking a Clergyman on a school committee if the school had a blackboard. "No" replied the clergyman, "it is of no use to get them. If we had blackboards, we have no teachers to use them to advantage". Bumstead was of course astonished at this (so he wrote the book) - 175 years later we should be equally astonished if our teachers could not use technology to advantage.

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