This week I decided to follow the education section of the New York Times and I came across some fascinating articles. The first blogger I chose to investigate writes articles about how technology and social media are affecting the lives of high school seniors applying to college. In one article, she writes about the story of a prospective freshman at Bowdoin who tweeted some inappropriate comments while attending one of the school's tour days. The admissions team came across these comments and, as a result, the student was not admitted. In a subsequent article, the blogger writes about how she was surprised by the fact that it was news to parents that admissions teams have the ability to check out prospective students' social media lives. This made me think about where students receive their social media etiquette, if not at home. In this sense, I believe it is part of our jobs as teachers to bring proper social media skills to the classroom. How can we expect teenagers to understand how their virtual world will affect their real world if we don't explicitly tell them?
Secondly, I chose to look into another edublogger who wrote about educational apps. The article pertained to math, but I think this sentiment can be applied to any subject area: "The idea is that by keeping the entire app lighthearted and full of amusing sounds and images, children do not notice that they’re being tested on their arithmetic skills." (Eaton, 2013). The beauty of the apps is that they trick kids into learning because it's FUN! So why can't we make learning just as fun in the classroom and disguise traditional tests with more informative/fun assessments? For example, have a student design his or her own math game to demonstrate his or her arithmetic skills, or have a student research the science behind video games to demonstrate his or her mastery of cognitive functions? I believe that teachers can make school more fun, but can we possess all that an app has to offer? Perhaps we should be investigating more academic apps to try and emulate pieces of them in the classroom. You could certainly bring the apps into your classroom through technology, but this is not possible everywhere. I also think some teachers may be hesitant to bring in technology that may threaten the job of the teacher. Personally, I think it would be great to disguise testing and learning with games and I intend on researching apps for my science classroom. I don't know if I will ever teach in a place with a one-to-one policy, but I do not think that should determine how "fun" your assessments are or how much students are engaged in the learning process. Like I said, I think it's up to me to research these apps and bring aspects of them into the classroom. What this looks like, we'll have to wait and see.