Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Digital Classroom: The Real Scoop

Technology is a revolution that cannot necessarily be reversed. Without a doubt, there have been countless measures to which technology has allowed humans to do more. Unfortunately, some use technology (sometimes unknowingly) in ways that could potentially hinder their own personal performance and education.

As I previously stated in “The Digital Classroom: The Ideal Plot”, I had several goals that my students were to meet. As I discussed these goals with my colleagues, I found myself under fire with questioning such as, “What will you do if a student shares their flashcards with another? Do you know that students can copy and paste? What about stealing information off the internet?”

While all of this is true, I reassured my peers that I would continue to hold discussions with my students about integrity, model students how to achieve earnest success, and supply evidence on how retyping your own notes is beneficial. But what if all of this wasn’t good enough? Would all be lost?

This is where I put myself into my students’ shoes.

In particular, I teach at an IB school where students are on a collegiate block schedule – a 2 day rotation that includes 4 – 90 minute classes a day. By their junior year, students have room for one elective (which is typically another IB course) and they’re all competing for various awards and scholarships. By the end of their senior year, students will need to have amassed a total of 24 points and a satisfactory completion of three compulsory core components. Needless to say, the tension is high and their personal time is low.

Therefore, when I was asked these questions, my secondary response was a little rhetorical; “What is our ultimate goal?” In my opinion, it’s two-fold. First and foremost, I want my student to master their IB exams for my class. However, beyond that, I want to develop life-long learners that are eager to learn in the field of their interest. As with many times in life, we often find ourselves short on time; therefore, we do the best we can with what we have. If a student feels the need that they have to copy and paste their notes into their flashcards, then they’ll have to recognize where they need to make the difference up – either reading through their notes an extra time or studying their flashcards more often. Either way, I will continue to nourish their development and stress the importance’s of doing things through a proven method. Regardless, if a student copies their notes yet aces an IB exam, I have to ask - did it really matter?

We all have a limited time to do the very best that we can. I suspect my students will want to make me proud and when time runs out, they’ll continue to rise to the occasion.


Daniel Rothrock


Disclosure: Daniel is a user and Teacher Advocate for StudyBlue.

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