I'm A Papermate, I'm a Ticonderoga
John T. Spencer posted this cartoon on his blog Adventures in Pencil Integration. The idea behind the cartoon is a papermate is cheap; however, it's cheapness shows through as it breaks all the time. The ticonderoga is expensive but it is a high quality product. The papermate and the ticonderoga can symbolize many different things in our lives, but the point is the same. People try to save money by buying things such as the papermate because they are less expensive. The problem is the papermate breaks often and people end up spending more money replacing them. The ticonderoga is expensive but is a high quality product that will be well worth the money spent. It is common to hear the excuse that technology is too expensive. Of course, a pencil is cheaper than a laptop, but the resources and opportunities technology offers students far exceeds those of the pencil.
Why Were You're Kids Playing Games
In Mr. Spencer's blog post he tells a story of a teacher being called into a principals office. The principal is upset with the teacher for letting his students play games in class. He hardly gives the teacher the opportunity to explain what the children are doing and the knowledge they are gaining from this activity. Instead he insist that the students focus on memorization. The problem with this is they are just memorizing facts rather than learning information they would retain from hands on experience. The principal is more concerned with the "rote memorization test" than the students actually learning.
I read many of Mr. Spencer's blog posts because they were a little different from some of the others we had read. I enjoyed many of the different posts I read but my favorite would have to be When A Child Hates Pencils. This post is the story of a young boy who breaks his pencil on the very first day of class. Normally, the student would get in trouble and get sent out of the classroom for this behavior; however, his teacher feels it is not the boys fault that he feels this way about pencils. The principal encourages the teacher not to give the student another pencil until he is "mature" enough to handle it, but the teacher decides to take another approach. The problem isn't the pencil, but what it symbolizes to the boy. For years, the boy has been given failing grades on his writing assignments. His teachers have attempted to bribe him to do well with stamps and peppy praise, but that did not work. This teacher encourages him to create whatever he would like with his paper and pencil. He explains that it is not about a grade or judgement. His goal is feedback. I really enjoyed this post because this is a problem with many teachers. They are so focused on a grade and right or wrong that they lose sight of the creativity and learning of the children. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Spencer.
Don't Teach Your Kids this Stuff. Please?
I really enjoyed this post and honestly got a bit fired up reading some of the comments. First of all, although Mr. McLeod has a very sarcastic tone, I think he is simply stating that if you don't want your kids to use technology, that's great. That just gives his kids a huge advantage because they will use technology, and they will be more prepared in the future than the kids that aren't.
Secondly, it really irritates me that people act like the internet is all for dirty websites and kids meeting strangers online. Guess what?! Before the internet, people could still get their hands on videos and images they shouldn't see. The internet is by far not the only source for this stuff, and taking technology away is not going to illuminate their access to it. Don't get me wrong, I want to protect my kids and shelter them from this junk as well, but I want to do it in every aspect. Not by taking away their biggest resource. The internet is not evil! This is just another excuse people use for not wanting to use technology.