Shopping In Spain

My son went shopping at El Corte Ingles yesterday and picked out several outfits. It was all part of a Spanish class webquest. They were to select an outfit for each of the four seasons and write sentences about each choice. They also had to total the cost of each outfit.

At first, he wasn't very happy about Spanish homework. We used Google Drive to write the report, which allows you to change languages. He appreciated the Spanish spell check. We also created a pinboard. It wasn't part of the assignment but it was an easy way to keep his selections organized.

Our Time To Shine?

Could this be why it's so hard to convince students to enroll in computer classes? As part of the basketball spirit activities, today is Nerd Day. In other words, everyone dresses up like Steve Urkel.

We never have Mad Scientist Day or Einstein Day. What about dress like a historical figure day? Think of the fun we could have with Crazy Artist Day or English Poet Day.

What can you do? Maybe I should be happy for the attention, even if it's not the most flattering. At least I get to wear my Geek Squad t-shirt.

Note: this post is all in good fun, and in no way should be construed as a rant :)

Crazy Love: Stop Playing

Super Mario
When we approach technology, it should be a tool in our hands, not an end unto itself. Technology integration into the classroom is not another checkpoint in a busy day. Technology should not drive education. 

But before we can even begin to integrate technology into our classrooms, we need a clear understanding of its place. Do your students get stressed out when the network crashes? Do blocked sites drive them batty? I've talked to middle school students who literally think they would DIE without their cell phone.

Chan starts his book with an amazing suggestion: stop praying. I would equate our incessant prayers with the rambling mutterings of a nervous kid. And we should be nervous. God is more immense than our wildest dreams. For a taste of his greatness, check out the Scale of Universe. It's not even a measure of God, simply an illustration of his creative power.

How do we reset the balance of power? Consider turning off all technology in the classroom for just five minutes. Refocus, find the things that truly matter. Don't worry, technology will still be waiting. Here are some practical illustrations from my own classroom:
  • Yearbook - it's about the personal stories, not layout, photography and writing by deadline
  • Programming - it's about finding solutions, constructing tools to assist others
  • Web Design - it's about clear and concise communication, not popularity ratings
Just last week I had to remind the yearbook staff that just because the network was down, they could still get things done. Too often our focus is about logging on instead of the bigger goal: engaging in community. Our classrooms should be a dynamic microcosm of humanity. Don't allow technology to be an escape from community, use it as a powerful tool to engage people.

“Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God”
R.C. Sproul

Note: As I reread Francis Chan's book Crazy Love, I plan to post my thoughts on how faith and a relationship with God intersects technology and the classroom.