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Showing posts from March, 2017

Teaching Kids to Be Wise About Technology

My school is not a 1:1 technology school. Most days, students have access to computers when they need them. Yet, they can't complete every assignment on a computer, nor can a teacher plan for computer access every day.

Thus, there's a sense in which we teach disconnectedness every day simply by requiring that students spend most of their classtime without a computer, tablet, or even (gasp!) smartphone. As a 33-year-old teacher, this doesn't seem strange to me in the school setting. I never had a smartphone when I was in high school, and I did just fine. Yet, in my non-school life, I have streaks where I can't help but check my phone every hour, or half hour, or minute-and-a-half. As I reflected on this over the weekend, I realizee that when I take a student's phone as a consequence of them using the phone in class, it feels like more than a punishment -- it induces miniature withdrawal.

I empathize with my students. Of course, that doesn't change the need to h…

Survival Strategy: Divide and Conquer

One of the nice things about being a journalist -- at least at a daily publication -- is that each day is more or less a clean slate. You get to work, work as hard as you can on a story, and then without fail you complete it no later than, say, 11 p.m. You've got no choice -- the printing press has to run.

Sure, there were plenty of multi-day stories and even long-term projects. However, each day's guiding principle was that you had to get the story by that evening's deadline. In short, your to-do list had a clear expiration date.

As a teacher my to-do list never seems to end.

A colleague told me before the start of the school year that teaching had forced him to become much more organized than he previously had been. As soon as I collected my first assignments I learned what he meant. However, even after I got a grip on keeping assignments in properly labeled folders and grading them in a timely fashion, I still had to find a way to deal with the onslaught of all the litt…