Friday, June 10, 2005

Reaction to Chapter 14 of Computer Education for Teachers

More and more educators have access to computers right in their classroom, but it has been my experience that woefully few of them make use of them to their complete capability as "teacher support tools". Much needs to be done in this area in my experience. I doubt if I would be happy teaching without a computer, Internet connection, scanner and high-output printer in my classroom. I rarely use the copy machine anymore because I can prepare many materials right in the classroom. I can find song lyrics on-online, copy them to a word document and have them ready to be distributed in 5 minutes or less. When a reading passage mentioned the cities of El Paso, TX, USA and Ciudad de Juarez, Mexico, I could go to the Internet, find a map of that area, print it to an overhead transparency and display it for the class (Now that I have a wireless connection to one of my laptops, I can actually skip that last step and project the image directly from the Internet to my overhead projector). I won't bore you with too many examples but last year when a student wanted to know why children hunt for Easter Eggs but the symbol of Easter is a bunny which as far as he knew didn't lay eggs, I was able to clarify after a few minutes of searching (Easter being a fertility inspired holiday, both eggs and bunnies symbolize prolific offspring) I produce handouts, tests, worksheets right in the classroom for use that same day as needed or as inspired by what the students are doing at any particular moment.

I'm also fortunate to have a web-based attendance recording system. No more filling out registers for me. I just log-on and fill out a web-based interface to record attendance now. Click a button and print out the completed register to be turned in at the end of the week. (The system also has benefits for adminstration as they get immediate data on division-wide attendance, whereas in previous years that information was delayed by at least a month).

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