Thursday, October 3, 2013

276/365 Everyday

"Where I Spend My Weekdays"

MOst of my weekdays are spent at school.  Sometimes it really does feel like a home away from home. I work with wonderful people and have the privilege of teaching great students.  In both respects, I am very lucky and I try never to take that for granted.

I am grateful for today's prompt because it encouraged me to document this place where I spend so much time.  I walk this hall a hundred times a day, it seems.  And, I am fortunate to teach all my classes in the same classroom.  The smaller images show my passkey that is used many times a day, the "decor" in the wall in my room,  the CD player with a friendly reminder from our departmental assistant, my classroom door and my good ol' blackboard.

I'm not sure how we ended up here, but yesterday I had a discussion with one of my classes about how they felt about technology in the classroom, specifically smart boards and lectures that are presented primarily through Power Point-type slides.  I was surprised when they all said that they preferred traditional instructor lectures and notes and examples on the chalkboard.  Yesterday's class had students whose ages spanned from traditional college age to retirement.  I thought perhaps their response had to do with the fact that there were quite a few older students in the class.  To check this hunch, I asked another class today the same question.  This class is made up of traditional aged college freshman and sophomores.  They too said that they prefer the old-fashioned way of teaching.  Wow!

Here are some of their reasons:
  • traditional lectures are more personal
  • traditional lectures are more interactive
  • I feel like it is OK to ask questions 
  • I don't fall asleep
  • There is opportunity to digress - in a good way
  • We all have to think more
  • I don't just copy stuff.  I have to put it in my own words.
  • chalk and chalkboards don't fail like technology
I thought their reasons here were spot on. 

I wonder who decided that every classroom is better if it is a "smart" classroom?  Is this just a case of we are doing this because we can?  Did anyone ever ask the students what works best for them?  I suppose that the problem could be that we as teachers are not using technology effectively, but as I listened to my students' comments, that doesn't really seem like the root of the problem.

We also talked about the trend of "flipped classrooms" - where students are presented a lecture via video or slide presentations viewed on their computers as homework and then come to class to discuss the material and do their assignments.  This process is touted as "new."  The term "flipped classroom" is new, but the process seems to me like what I grew up with only instead of watching some kind of media presentation, we were assigned to read a chapter in the textbook.  Hmmm…..

This whole issue has been mind opening for me.  We'll see what new trends develop - or which old ones return.