Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Marc Prensky Article Reviews

I found a lot of flaws in Marc Prensky's two article, What Technology ISN'T Good At and Teaching the Right Stuff.  In the Article, Teaching the Right Stuff Prensky really focuses on three skills that he thinks will help students in the future.  Yet, he admits that like the skills of writing an email, making a blog post and making a power point they will just as soon be a dying skill.  Instead, we should teach our students skills that will never die.  For example, lets teach them skills that are more broad and spend the majority of time doing that so no matter what technology comes along students can apply these broad skills.  We can still spend a small amount of time teaching specifics that may be useful in the future even though we know that they too will die out, for example, making a video.  Some of these skills that will never die out should be things such as how to work as a team, how to be flexible and adaptable, etc.  No matter what technology comes about there will still be cases where students need to work together.  Whether or not that be from behind a computer screen, students will still need to know how to do that.  Being flexible and willing to adapt to new situations is also very important, after all Prensky said technology will change a trillion fold in our students lifetimes.  I think that instead of teaching to specific skills we see being useful in the future we should teach skills we see being useful forever.

Prensky's article, What Technology ISN'T Good At seems impractical to me.  Of course we want for our students to love learning and we want to be the teacher that lights that spark for them.  Yet, if we want to keep our jobs as teachers that cannot be done.  As a biology teacher the MCAS is a very high stakes test.  If students don't pass it they don't  graduate.  The MCAS tests on very specific information and therefore I cannot relate it to the different passions of my 120 students.  There are some topics the students need to just learn; I can't relate it to baseball, or baking or whatever it may be that they love.  For example, the MCAS specifically asks students the function of each organelle in a cell.  If they don't know the answers to these kinds of questions then they will fail and I will lose my job.  I think that it is unfortunate that we need to teach in this way but it is sadly the reality.  I would still love to be the teacher who instills a love of science in students and I think that would be done more realistically through a club.  For example, in college we had a biology club.  We did things twice a month such as going to the aquarium, holding recycling drives, going to a butterfly museum, etc.  all of the fun aspects of science.  I would love to have  a club like this at my high school where we could explore students passions and show them how they relate to science.  Unfortunately, at this time, the school day is not the time or place for that.

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