Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A little hot

It's only 110 degrees today.

Believe it or not, we are about due for a run of these kind of temperatures around here. This summer, although dry, has been incredibly mild. Low-90's has been the norm for most of June and the air conditioner has been pretty silent, especially in the evenings. Now we have the average coming down the pike, a run of heat for about a week and back to average temps on Friday.

I'm starting a two week conference at the County Office of Education call the Teaching American History Project. It's year 2 of the project which entails a lot of information, instructional method, and teacher collaboration on, what else, teaching American History. It is more than worthwhile in what it is trying to get across and the ability to talk to other teachers gives me more ideas for classroom use. One of the challenges that I find with this kind of collaboration is the incredible gap between the technically literate and technically challenged. Last year the group went to a workshop about creating Power Points, only to find that the learning curve ranged from "how to you start up the computer" to "how do I adjust HTML within the slide to create a better balance with my images and my text". This creates an interesting problem for introducing new methods of teaching instruction because you are going to have to teach down to the instructors that haven't the technical know how to understand things like Vodcasts (my new favorite thing to watch from dy/dan), viral video, or multimedia presentations. Think of it like a teacher who needs to teach to a college prep class where 20% can hardly read. It makes the advanced readers time a little longer because the information is pretty basic. It's not anyone's "fault" really, I mean look at the people that are in the room with me at this moment. The ages are pretty broad, from student teachers to 25 year veterans.

What's the answer to this digital divide? I'm thinking that the teacher credential program needs to get into gear and add more classes that address teaching in the Classroom Web 2.0 world. Those teachers that won't open e-mail, won't learn how to use projectors or open documents might need to be pressured into getting out of the 20th Century.

The benefit is there, we all just need to continue to be life long learners.
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