Last Open House

Last Open HouseYesterday, I attended one of the last school open house events of this life time. My son is entering his senior year, and we’ll have one more open house at the beginning of the second semester.

First of all, I am overwhelmed at the (dare I say) rigor, of his work load. He’s taking AP Calculus, Honors English, Wind Ensemble (performing college and professional grade music), and AP Statistics. On top of that, he continues to practice his instrument in order to become one of the best musicians in the world — which is what it will take to make a living at it.

But what impressed me even more was the help that he will have in accomplishing these high standard of learning, his teachers. In what I do, speaking to educators about technology, the future, and new literacies, I typically see them as learners struggling with brand new ideas that simultaneously excite and threaten them. I easily forget how accomplished teachers are, their vast knowledge, their incredible creativity, and the joy they project in their jobs.

English was never my favorite subject. We read books, and our teachers told us what to think about them. My son’s English teacher, talked about the books that he is and will be reading, and the writing assignments he gets. I asked her to share some examples of the topics they were asked to write about. She went through about five, but what set my head to spinning was that every assignment was tied in some logical and intriguing way to another assignment, which was tied to three others. This teacher’s curriculum is a web of ideas linked to the great thinkers and writers of our history, to the world around us right now, and to the emerging ideas of these 17 and 18 year old students.

And you know what? She never mentioned technology. Well, that’s not entirely true. I learned a lot last night about the creative ways that you can integrate paper into the learning experience. 😉

2 thoughts on “Last Open House”

  1. Tonight I go to my first Back-to-School night as a parent, something I’ll be doing for the next 15 years. I wonder how different the last one I attend will be from tonight. I hope the experience is as positive for me as yours was last night.

  2. Dave,

    Since I have been on “sabbatical” (moving to Austin, TX for my husband’s job has been interesting) I have not been totally surrounded by educational technology the way I have been for many years. In eMINTS I was always working with teachers who had adequate technology to do interesting things in their rooms (1 computer for every two students, etc…). What I am finding now is how pervasive and important and yet how unaware most people are of it!
    I go to the public library and the bank of computers is always busy with people doing all sorts of things. There is a lab for kids in the children’s area of the library and there is always a waiting list after school for kids to have a turn on the computers. The girl I tutor (4th grade) keeps bringing printouts from the Internet that she is using in various projects in class. The business page of the newspaper is at least 50% technology stories. The very small church I just joined has an active listserve and people use it as their main source of communication.

    At the same time when I talk to people about blogs they have heard of them, but they don’t know what they are. No one I have met (teachers included) knows how to make a web page although more and more people use the web on a regular basis. I have have not even tried ot talk about agregators or any of those abstract concepts because they have already put on the deer in the headlight looks when I say I have a blog or a web page.

    Maybe all of these changes are just going to have to slip into people’s lives invisibly..unnoticed. The first teachers I worked with on email really resisted using it. They did not have time and did not see the purpose for it. Although there are people like that, there are few and email is becoming ubiquitous. Will it take as long for blogs?

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