In a blog post (5/12/11) entitled “How Limited Technology Budgets Failed My Students", teacher/blogger Bill Ferriter discussed the “wonderings” of his students. During a recent class period, his 6th grade students were wondering about their eyes. Coming up with questions such as: Does eye color effect vision? Does reading in the dark cause eye strain Does vision get worse over time? The class was really energized about their questions and wanting to find answers. Bill felt frustrated because he did not have an effective way for them to quickly find relevant timely answers to their questions. The textbook did not address their questions directly and the information may have been outdated anyway. They would have to wait to schedule a time go to the library or computer lab and by then the excitement would have dwindled; new questions would have arisen on new topics. Two computers in a classroom is not an effective way for 30 students to get their questions answered. They have wireless access at the school but only the teachers have laptops to be able to connect. And of course, he could have responded to the students to “wait” until they got home or could get to a library.
As I was reading this article, I began to reflect on how lucky we have been this year in our iAchieve classrooms. We have the ability for our students to instantly access the Internet and find answers. They can communicate, collaborate, and problem solve right in their own classrooms and at their own desks. And, I have seen this happen many times in classrooms where I visit. Students are able to research questions as they come up during a lesson or find real world models of the content they are learning. So powerful!
Here are links to Bill’s initial blog post and a follow-up post in response to several comments he received after the first posting:
How Limited Technology Budgets Failed My Students – May 12, 2011
More on the Challenges of Wondering in Schools – May 13, 2011