Lessons from a Lesson

Today I took my class to the computer lab to do some research for our biography writing projects. It was a nice change for the kids to get out of the class and get on the computers since I don't have technology as a prep this year. A couple of quick reflections:
  1. I was genuinely excited for this lesson last night when I was thinking about it. How weird is that? I was actually thinking about it the night before and couldn't wait to try it out.
  2. Most of the students are practically computer illiterate which makes internet research very challenging (as such the lesson didn't quite succeed as planned). One of my students said to me, "I've never been on a computer before." Can you imagine? 2008 and right here in New York City there are kids growing up without regular access to technology take for granted. If that doesn't exemplify the inequalities behind the achievement gap, I don't know what does.
  3. Overall the lesson felt exemplary of how much I've learned, but how much I've yet to learn. Integrating technology, modeling, scaffolding, etc. were all successful. But many of the kids spent two periods without really completing an outline. I realized afterward that I had failed to make the lesson doable for all the students. Really I needed to break the outline into parts and have the students who were struggling do one part at a time. So, as usual, it feels good to be a 2nd year teacher, but I know I have a lot to improve on.
Whenever you're using technology with these students it's a tough trade-off. It's essential to expose them to computers and internet resources. However, they're so ill-equipped, it can be more of a hurdle than a help.

Comments

YES!!! Where is the technology??? People are always shocked to hear that I do not have a functioning computer in my classroom or internet access at my job (I guess technically there is internet somewhere in the school, but I don't have it!) It breaks my heart that our fourth and fifth graders are computer illiterate. I remember student teaching in a fourth grade class where kids were typing poems that they wrote. They couldn't use a mouse or change a font size. It became a lesson in clicking rather than lab time. Now I teach 1st grade. My kids don't have a technology prep which means they won't build a foundation for later. Sad.
amber said…
It is a bizarre notion that, in a day and age when everything has a website- literally, everything- and it's impossible to make it through college without the internet, children are still routinely unaware of and uneducated about the opportunities that technology could afford them. I haven't yet asked my 2nd graders who has a computer and who doesn't, but I bet that the digital gap would extend into my class as well.

I expect computer illiteracy from someone like my 78 year old grandmother. I do not expect it in our public school system.
Teacher said…
I was shocked myself at the lack of technology. I taught in a small town in the middle of the Midwest last year. I just had it in my head that the city would offer so much more than we got in the Midwest. The lack of technology of my current school reminds me of the lack of technology from when I was in elementary school years ago.

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