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“I hate school!”

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

How many times has an educator heard these words?  Well, if you are an educator, you probably heard it once or twice or more today.  Like many I am a teacher who tries to get students to enjoy school and reach their best potential.  The other day though I almost freaked out.  I was wandering through a local bookstore and heard a mother and daughter debating in the row next to me.  The mother was talking about how much she hated school when she was young and was telling her daughter it was okay to basically do the same.  She (the mother) stated that the teachers didn’t do anything to keep her attention and did not teach her anything useful.  The mother then stated that since she has now returned to college she likes learning and the teachers are so much better.

It took all my energy not to start freaking out at this point.  I wanted to say it was not the teachers it was her maturity that made the difference!  The mother did not realize that at this point she has learned the education and learning is important.  As I was contemplating this, I wondered at what age to some of these kids who say “I hate school” mature enough to realize education is important.  Well, I checked at some statistics and figured the best way to figure it out was to see the average age of a G.E.D. recipient.  According to the American Council on Education that ‘magical’ age is 25.6.  At this ‘magical’ age students who hated school realize that education is important (or at least important enough for a job).

I guess the question should be though, what can we do to lower that age of maturity.  How do we make students who hate school realize that education is important before the age of 25.6?  Of course there is the possibility that we can’t lower that age, maybe it is one of those ‘Nature vs Nurture’ type problems.

On a side note though, our maturity age is five years younger then Canada (average age of G.E.D. recipient is 31.6).

Citation:
http://www.acenet.edu/Content/NavigationMenu/ged/pubs/2009ASR.pdf
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Ideas and iPads

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently I gave my 7th and 8th grade students an assignment to come up with ways their local school board could help prepare them for the future.  To get them thinking I: had them watch “Did You Know? v3.0”, they checked out U.S.News’ top high schools in America, and I presented some ideas I recently heard from Yong Zhao (a Michigan State professor and author).  To further help the thought process, I had students brainstorm and share their ideas via Infinote.  Infinote is a iPad app where you basically use sticky notes to record thoughts and they can be saved in a variety of image formats and even PDFs!

The students really enjoyed using the iPad and they found it engaging.  The problem was I only have one iPad, and in a classroom of 25 students it took two class periods for every student to use it.  For most of my students, this was the first time they ever saw an iPad in real life, so it was worth the wait.  The results of their thinking can be found at the bottom of this post.

An interest side-effect of this project though showed up a few days later.  A student came up-to after class and asked if I knew how to create apps for the iPad or Android OS, which I stated, “No, but we can learn!”  So last week I spent every homeroom working with this student to download the necessary software to create Android apps (iPad is next week).  Word has spread and now I am up-to two students wanting to work on this project.  It seems that even with minimal exposure to something (the iPad), students will gather like a moth to a flame.

Below are the students (7th and 8th graders) thoughts via Infinote.  Please note I did not change or edit any students thought.