Been off sleeping in a half-frozen swamp, trying to catch a glimpse of the mythical mating danse of the black grouse (no luck - this hybrid grouse/capercaillie showed up and scared off all the grouse.)
Still riffing off the huge discussion started by CingT on the use of computers in the classroom. (Check my previous posts below.) She described a school situation at least as bad as that on my earlier post What on Earth are we up to? . Pupils FaceBooking through their days, ignoring the teacher, disconnected from the school they are sitting in.
This didn't go far on del&bruk, but went haywire on her own blog and then spread via Twitter and from blog to blog. Guttorm Hveen has links to some of the most visible blogposts on the topic, if you can read Norwegian.
It's great that there's so much interest in this topic, but much of the discussion here disappoints me, particularly the teachers' views.
They tend to have 3 messages:
1. Teachers need to have good familiarity with computers, the web, and with what they can do with all this technology. Much of the problem is described as a result of teachers' lack of competancy.
2. Students need clear tasks and to work to a product that has a short deadline (usually the end of class) and that is visible and/or useful.
3. Classroom leadership, classroom leadership, classroom leadership. This was one of CingT's opening points, as she suggests that all laptops be closed when the teacher lectures. Several teacher bloggers have wondered if many of us need to be clearer about what kind of behaviour we expect at any particulary time and what exactly it is students are supposed to be doing (and why?).
All well and good, I suppose. I myself swing back and forth between apathy and exactly these positions. The trouble is all this doesn't help, because it doesn't address the problem.
The problem is, as CingT commented earlier here in this blog, "students don't care about school". The boredom expressed by many of the students at my own school matches the comments made by 'Beate' on CingT's blog: she doesen't pay any attention in school because she has something more fun to do and because there are no negative consequences.
The problem has nothing to do with computers. Not to do with teachers, either, although boring teachers and weak leaders probably have a worse time of it in the 1:1 classroom.
The problem is that students are well trained to be entertained, see no value in boredom and do not experience school as exciting or relevant for their lives. Giving them a PC gives them an alternative. It just isn't reasonable to expect them not to make use of that alternative.
So, teachers whine a lot, but my point is not to simply whine about the system for the sake of it. My teaching has come to a standstill and I don't think I'm in a position to change this easily. I haven't created the situation, so I need help in creating a different one.
Educating teachers will not help. Foisting responsibility onto individual teachers under the banner of 'Better classroom leadership' will not help. It's time to rethink the classroom more fundamentally.
Picture credit: lygren.blogspot.com/