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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Final Post: How Can Schools Keep Students Engaged in their Education?

One of the biggest challenges educators face is keeping kids engaged in class.  Kids have a lot of different excuses for why they do not want to work in class, whether it being it's too early, too hot, or they just don't feel like doing it.  With the introduction of iPads next year, there will be new challenges to keep kids on track and prevent them from being distracted.  As long as time with the iPads is being used effectively kids will do their work.  This site has multiple ideas for how to keep students engaged with iPads, and as more schools go to 1:1 environments there will only be more ideas. 
This video tells about a first grade class that has already begun to use iPads.  This could be the way schools go in the future, introducing technology to kids at a very early age.  If a class of first graders can handle the responsibility of iPads, then high school students should be more than capable as well.  People often do not like to get used to change, so if media devices are implemented at a young age, more kids will most likely be comfortable with them.  Even next year at BHS kids who are not comfortable with technology and do not wish to use the iPads for all classes will still have the option of books. People tend to look at change too radically.  The new devices do not necessarily mean the way we learn will be completely different.
The main reason kids get discouraged with their education is that they lose sight of the future.  It is understandable why someone who is going to be an engineer has little interest in taking so many foreign language and history classes.  Athletes often do not see the point in having gym class instead of another free period.  The best way to keep kids interested is to keep them learning about things they find relevant.  Some classes must be mandatory, but more freedom in class choice would gaurantee more students in classes they were interested in.  Another positive to that would be reflected in performance.  Kids tend to do better in classes that interest them, and keeping grades high is the key to going to the right college to receive a degree.  Everyone wants a chance to earn a degree so they have the chance to land a job that can buy things they have always wanted.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Freedom with the Ipads

Students having Ipads next year is obviously going to present some new problems. It is a lot of freedom for students to have, and some questions have been raised regarding whether or not certain apps should be blocked during school hours.  I can see where teachers are coming from with this, but realistically if kids do not want to pay attention then they will find some way to entertain themselves, whether it be on facebook or an app.  Part of maturing as a student is learning to manage your time effectively and make smart decisions.  Some kids will choose to abuse the Ipads next year, but a large majority will use this resource effectively.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Abolishing homework???

Homework is a highly debated issue in almost every state. I believe homework can be productive when the work is helping to learn a new topic, but when it is just "busy work" meant to take up our time, it is hard to be motivated to do it. Taking out homework altogether seems a bit extreme, but using a system to limit the total hours of it we have a week seems like a very good idea.

Teens falling short on sleep

Almost every teenager says that they are chronically tired because they don't get enough sleep. We all have a lot going on in our lives, and to complete homework, sports, and jobs there just isn't enough time in the day. There aren't any perfect solutions to this problem, but I believe starting the school day even half an hour later would be a big help. I always feel much better during delayed openings during MCAS week, so I believe a trial month of late openings could bring interesting results.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Common sense media

Common sense media is a site that has tons of movie and book reviews that are useful both to students and parents. There are new ideas in education being presented on the site, which also makes it applicable to teachers. This site could be a good way to stay connected with school over the summer. With all the social media sites we use already, it can't hurt to check out another one in commonsense

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Outside with the ipads

Today's class is being held outside with the iPads near the faculty parking lot. It's refreshing to take a break from sitting in a classroom all day and enjoy the nice weather. We are still able to get a wifi connection and we are currently discussing how this new technology can eliminate snow days. This article
presents an innovative idea that will probably be carried out in the near future.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Technology Policies

I think it is fairly obvious at this stage in high school what is allowed and what is not.  If you are doing something on a computer you would not do if there were a teacher standing behind you, it is probably punishable.  However, kids are old enough to make their own decisions and some will knowingly break the rules.  Suspension seems like a harsh punishment for technology abuse unless the abuse endangers other students or involves drug content.  It is going to be a learning process how to discipline students effectively, but I'm sure it will all work out.