Taking Technology for Granted – Louis CK September 29, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought.
Tags: Conan O'Brien, High Speed Internet, Humor, Louis CK, Technology, Travel
When I first saw this I cracked up. It took me a while, but I tracked down this clip. I operate at twitch speed, so I can relate. This is me on an airplane. Enjoy.
The Digital Natives Are Restless July 22, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought.
Tags: Children and Technology, Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives, Education, Google Maps, Humor, Mark Prensky, Popular Culture, Runzas, Teaching, Technology, War Driving
When I arrived at my friend Cathy’s house in Kansas City, the first order of business was to log onto their wifi account. Cathy had a password written down, but it wasn’t working, so she called her 23-year-old son. Matt rattled it off over the phone. Twenty plus letters and numbers. “This isn’t a password – it’s the nuclear launch code,” Cathy mused. Once I was back on-line, my DT’s (Digital Tremors) subsided. Whew.
That got me thinking about how everything has changed due to technology. On the flight back to the Midwest, the plane couldn’t take off. “There are still electronic devices on in rows 15, 32, and 34,” the flight attendant announced. So we waited. Another announcement. Finally, we taxied.
I give my parents, who are in their 80s, a pass on technology. My dad bought a computer years ago and has so many security programs installed to prevent identity theft that every time you press a key a security alert pops up about possible suspicious activity. Talk about killing the creative muse.
Both my parents have cell phones, but I don’t bother to call them because they’re usually turned off. And my parents never figured out how to retrieve messages. I have to admit that it wasn’t until we ditched our landline, that I was forced to figure out all of those features on my cell phone. And I’m still reading up on how to shoot an independent film using it.
While I was visiting my parents, my brother was there along with his daughter, Allison, and her boyfriend, Jeff, both who just graduated from college. For them technology is second nature. Missed the last episode of True Blood? Jeff downloaded if for me and emailed it to my dropbox so I could watch it on my computer.
Jeff carried his iPhone with him and set it on the table during meals. Sitting at Runza Hut, we got talking about whether the exquisite and highly addictive Runza (a doughy mound filled with ground beef and cabbage) was of Polish or German origin. Jeff googled it. Turned out it’s German/Russian. So there! Meanwhile, my phone kept dinging. “I keep hearing something,” my mother said looking around. It was yet another incoming text message on my phone. Sometimes technology can be too much of a good thing.
Because my parents Wifi connection was spotty, I was worried I’d have to cruise the neighborhood hoping to piggyback on someone else’s wireless. Jeff informed me this is called War Driving. I googled the Urban Dictionary just to make sure. Who would have known?
My parents were most impressed with how you can go to Google Maps and see a 360-degree street view of your home. And all of this on an iPhone! When my mother asked how we could look inside the houses, I bit my tongue. Then my dad asked how much an IHOP costs. There’s a learning curve here and at this late stage in their lives, it’s a steep a hill to climb. No, make that a mountain.
Last summer, I read an interesting article called Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky that explains how those who’ve grown up with technology, the digital natives, actually think and process information differently than the rest of us. Whether you teach kids, have one, or were ever one yourself, it’s a fascinating read.
Leaving on a Jet Plane May 16, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Travel.
Tags: England, Humor, Internet Friends, Personal, Technology, Travel
Forget what clothes I should pack. I’m too busy trying to figure out which cables, battery chargers, and atomic reactors I need to take to keep me and my Significant Other (Mac) up and running in England. Then there’s the cell phone and the digital camera… So much for getting away from it all! If you’re feeling a tad envious that I’m jetting off, just reread Time Zone Zombie – Asleep at 30,000 Feet. Feel better now?
Photo Credit: Leaving on a jet plane by Aky B on Flickr.
Did You Know? February 13, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought.
Tags: Education, Facebook, Google, Information, Internet, Statistics, Teaching, Technology
I’ve created a new “Food for Thought” category just for this video. Way cool! This video has not only added a new term, “B.G.” to my vocabulary, but it explains why I’ve been inundated with “friend” requests from Facebook. Enjoy.
Yes We Can – Watch the Inauguration January 17, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Politics, Teaching.
Tags: Barack Obama, Education, Room Parents, Students watching the inauguration, Teaching, Technology, The Inauguration, the state of technology in public schools, Third Grade
My third grade students almost missed watching the inauguration of Barack Obama. Last Tuesday it hit me. Although I have a TV in my classroom (won in a raffle), I’ve only used it to show videos and DVDs. Because of the mountains in Southern California, you can’t get decent TV reception unless you have cable or a satellite dish. So how were my students going to watch Barack Obama take the presidential oath? No matter your political bent, this is History with a capital H!
I talked to my husband aka “Tech Support” about our options. On any given day the internet is down in my classroom. (To be fair, when we got a new school superintendent, he was appalled at the sad state of technology in our district, but that’s Another Story). I know teachers who are taking Tuesday off because they don’t want to miss this historic event. How sad is that? .
I emailed my room parent to ask if she had any ideas. (And no, I don’t name names, but I am arranging to have her face carved on Mt. Rushmore.) I was willing to invite my students to watch the inauguration at my house (and yes, I would have obsessively cleaned for third graders), but parents aren’t allowed to drive students on field trips. Dedicated teacher that I am, I wasn’t willing to put my job security on the line and commandeer a bus (not in this economy).
My room parent is one of those “can do” people, who can move mountains. (I just point to where I want it moved.) When my sons were in school in New York City, I was always a room parent, and I’d like to think that my sons’ teachers thought of me in the same way. But then I was never “put to the test.” I excelled at collecting money from parents and making sure there were enough cupcakes for class parties.
Within 20 minutes of my email, my room parent had come up with a plan. I had to (take a deep breath) call my principal at home to get the okay. My principal thought it sounded “fabulous!” The very next day, each student received a personal invitation to the presidential inauguration.
So I don’t know how you’re spending Inauguration Day, but this is what my “future leaders of tomorrow” will be doing. As soon as the Start bell rings. we’re going on a “Walking Field Trip” to a restaurant three blocks from the school. My room parent knows the owner. Although the restaurant doesn’t open until lunch, they’re letting my class watch the inauguration in the back room on the big screen TV AND serving them breakfast. (My room parent said she’d take care of that.)
One of my students is bringing her mother and her grandmother, so you’re welcome to join us. All of the permission slips have been returned, and the students are psyched. Because they’re third graders, now they want to know about the really important stuff – like what’s to eat?
Why is this so important to me? This year I have a cluster of English Language Learners (ELLs) and most of their parents are here on student visas or aren’t citizens, so they didn’t even vote. And unlike in years past, I only have three African-American students this year. But I understand the significance of the election of the first African American president for ALL Americans. My students (who are 8 and 9) might not fully appreciate this now, but years from now I want to them to remember how they spent this day, and that they shared it with me – their teacher.
On Friday, as they got ready to leave, I asked my students, “Are you going to come to school on Monday?” I got a resounding NO. They all know it’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. (Third graders are SO smart.)
“Are you going to come to school on Tuesday?” I asked. “Yes!” they said in unison, barely able to contain their excitement. “Don’t be late, ” I reminded them. “We have a date with history!”
Note to Teachers: So many teachers have read this post after plugging in the search term “inauguration lesson plans for third grade.” My amazing room parent also bought me a subscription to edHelper.com. so I was able to put together a four-page Inauguration packet filled with puzzles and activities.