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K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

Jane

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Great points. I use Schoology (kind of like Edmodo) for the reasons you state. As my students are under 13 and we don't have Google Apps for education, Google Docs are not an option. I also teach a population who often do not have access to the Internet at home, and if they do, it's through a phone or game system.

I'm curious how many times a week you see your students and what age you teach? It seems like maybe yours are older? Teaching students how organize their digital lives is very important. I also don't have many notes or artifacts to be organized in that way, and our students have no access to tech in their classrooms. As much as I try to teach them, I wonder how they will refine these skills as they get older and leave my care.

Director of Technology Integration, Florida Union Free School District

You decide...better yet, maybe let your students decide!

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Education reform these days comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. If there is anything one take take from the countless books and articles assisting to define education today is that there is not "one size fits all" in education. Students need a variety of skills and approaches to their learning. If web 2.0 tools will help, then so be it. If paper and pencil will do the trick, then go for it. What really matters most is that students are learning because teachers are helping them achieve and move forward with their knowledge and education. Teachers can successfully accomplish this with good teaching. Student "buy in" is always helpful though.

Exploring frontiers of teaching, jazz, yoga, Macs, film

It's the choice that's important

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A thoughtful piece on the technology in the classroom. While we assume that kids are attracted to digital devices because they beep and glow. I think there's another reason. Digital tech gives kids control over information, functionality and choice in what to do with it.

In the classroom we can give students more control over content, process, product and evaluation of learning. That can all be done with a pencil. For more see my post "The Four Negotiables of Student Centered Learning" http://bit.ly/rJxNIh

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

I wonder how many students

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I wonder how many students sit in 1:1 classes or other classes where they are not allowed the option to write on paper (or vice versa!)

Senior High School Communications Technology Teacher

Technology With a Purpose

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We do often get caught up with wanting to embrace all the gadgets because that seems to be where the kids live already. But, purpose is so important. I agree there is a place for pencil and paper, but not for the same reasons as mentioned in the post.

I think information is much more easily accessible when you regularly use some sort of online communication tool, rather than a paper folder because students have access to it 24/7. Sometimes their ideas come at odd times of the day and can't be forced into a 75-minute period. In addition, these ideas can be shared very easily online, which allows for peer revision to become a much bigger part of the writing process along every step of the way. Instead of the peer commenting that comes post-publishing, sharing a Google Doc for the writing process becomes such a powerful and collaborative use of an online tool. This is where they write, peer-edit, revise, and publish...it's a very efficient way to teach that writing is a process, while still having the benefit of choosing to publish for an authentic audience by publishing the final work through a blog or wiki site.

I do use a paper file folder system in my classroom. Students are invited to plot ideas, make diagrams, lists, draw, etc to help organize and initiate ideas. But, their main notes are online and organized as a digital notebook in Google Docs with their links shared with me in Edmodo.

Having said all that, as I mentioned at the start, I still find that online isn’t the answer to everything. The problem I find is that students have already become conditioned to "skim for information", all while trying to multi-task across different sites. However, with paper, students have long become accustomed to focusing their attention and reading deeper into the physical material in front of them (less distracting). It can sometimes be hard to focus that attention if you take it online, but with some prep and thinking about purpose, some answers can be found in the tools. When students “share” docs their attention becomes more focused as they engage in real time collaboration. As well, social pressures guide their contributions (kind of like having to pull your weight in group work). It’s all about thinking about how those tools will help get the most beneficial results.

Some people NEED paper and pencil

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I love my technology, but I decide when I want to use it. I was helping my daughter figure out how to create a floor plan on Visio, and while I could tell her what all the templates and shapes were for and how to use them, I still had to sit next to her and draw it by hand so I could show her what she needed for each component. (This is a door, this is a window, etc) I could not put into words what I could draw so well.

But my son could never do that, and so he types. Trying to make him do it on paper would be abuse, plain and simple.

Chef Instructor working with 10th, 11th & 12th graders; Wilmington, DE

There is something timeless

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There is something timeless about writing. Seriously. I write with a fountain pen because it is, dare I say, fun and enjoyable. Writing is (or can be) a pleasant experience. A huge proponent of effective educational technology, I believe actual writing still has a very effective place. Yes, there are great technology-based tools that do many magnificent things in class; at the same time, my students are issued little pocket-sized notebooks at the start of their 3-year stint with me. Those notebooks become constant companions as living, growing artifacts gathering bits and pieces from class time, interaction with other students and daily wisdom. Like all the other tools in the box, pencils collect no more dust than, say, a mouse or cell phone.

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