Philosophical Friday: Your Students are Relying on You!


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I just started another semester teaching “Instructional Media and Computer Applications” at the University of Montana, where I am a doctoral candidate and campus employee working for the state virtual school.

My students are pre-service teachers, usually sophomores and juniors, that are declared education majors with dreams of their own classroom.  The energy is palpable in the room: these people are ready to go out and educate the next generation of students.  However, I am struck, as I am every semester, with two interesting dynamics.

The ThinkerI always do an attitude survey to start my semester to determine where my students are starting in their perceptions and beliefs regarding educational technology.  While their answers are often interesting, I am most struck by the answers to these two questions:

“True or False: My K-12 teachers were, on balance, ‘good’ with technology.”

and

“True or False: My college professors are, on balance, ‘good’ with technology.”

The answers are consistent across the four times I have taught this course: students believe, by a clear majority, that their college professors are better with technology than their K-12 teachers.  Of course, I have an interesting vantage point here.  I serve as an adjunct professor at my university and I came from K-12 and spend a lot of time in K-12 classrooms.  I don’t believe that there is really a large difference between the technology skills of college professors and K-12 teachers.  Indeed, this question ignores that fact that there great individual difference amongst the professionals in both camps.

When I listen to these students, now about to becomes teachers themselves, talk about their own experiences, I am reminded: our students are paying attention.  The decisions we make matter.  The skill sets we use in our classroom do leave a lasting impression.

The work you are putting in as a teacher to become a better teacher, whether that involves technology or not, is both noticed and appreciated by your students.

On a separate topic, these students overwhelmingly tell me they prefer to read on paper over a screen.  But, that’s a subject for another post. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Image: Brian Hillegas

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