I pride myself on my ability to think outside the box. Rather than going down the traditional route, I often think of more creative ways to teach lessons. Two years ago, I had a class of 34 children, 21 of whom were boys - who fidget. As a result of this, I decided to do a learning style questionnaire. The figures amazed me, as 60% of the class came up with a dominant kinaesthetic learning preference. The need for hands-on learning opportunities was immense. So, I collaborated with another Year 6 teacher and designed a unit about the Aztecs, as part of our creative curriculum. The only difference was that I used our school blog, which I oversaw, as the starting point for the unit.
I asked the children to come up with things that they wanted to learn about (not an original idea) and make them post information about it to the blog page as a link. They responded by finding out loads about the Aztecs (most of which seemed to centre around ritual sacrifice –boys- and chocolate – both boys and girls!).
Tom Stoppard has recently spoken of his fear for the future of the printed page. In this age of digital media, does the old fashioned medium of dead trees have a future?
Perhaps it's just me, but I find it difficult and tiring to read off the screen. It's only when I print my documents off that I see all the typos and errors! I was a science teacher until quite recently and as far as I'm concerned, there's no danger of on-line text books taking over from real, hands on, dog eared text books. I have many years’ experience of using both media in my classes:
Imagine a world without email.
The content of the first email may have been forgettable, but when Ray Tomlinson first fizzed that message over the ARPANET between two side-by-side computers in a Cambridge laboratory, communication changed forever. That was in 1971. Since then email has remained, despite decades of technological innovations, the staple tool for communication between computers.
By rights it should be a redundant relic, rusting beneath the surging tides of technological evolution. Instead, email is more integral to our lives than ever. It is hard to imagine the most consummate maestro of instant messaging, inveterate IRC idler or turgid Twitterer considering, even for a moment, that anything short of the grim reaper himself could render his trusty email account unnecessary.