Friday, November 13, 2009

Pod Cast Lessons

I am not a technophobe.

The year the district made teacher email mandatory I wanted to charge a dime a lesson on how to open (as to click open -not register) an email mailbox. I wouldn't have gotten rich, but I could have bought a pretty nice lunch.

I am pretty good with technology. I can change the light bulb in the overhead projector, I can make a Power Point presentation and even project it (sometimes I can't make the sound work) and I can scavenge the internet for just about any resource. But when the principal suggests we put our mini lessons on Pod Casts I put my foot down ( or in my mouth) or somewhere, anywhere other than the Internet,

Let me back up. We were killing time before the start of our monthly evening steering committee meeting and the discussion of uses of technology in the classroom came up. One teacher, who is in the process of completing a graduate degree in technology education, was enumerating the various technologies available for instruction. That's when the principal recounted a workshop where she had seen a demonstration by an advanced placement Chemistry Teacher who had placed the instructional part of the lesson on a Pod Cast to be viewed the night before, freeing up all the classroom time for hands on instruction. And the teacher in the tech program thought this was a great idea.

Now I believe that most students would rather look at their cell phone, I Touch, or computer screen much more than at some middle-aged chubby teacher, who's all disheveled because she's been wrestling the sound system in the projector unsuccessfully for the last 3 periods, but Pod Cast lessons? Come on- in the contest between Fibonnaci's Sequence and Facebook, Twister Formations or Twitter, what do you think is going to win?

But that's not the main reason - I'm not buying the electronic teacher . Technology misses the art of teaching It misses the heart of teaching. When did the Pod Cast notice that the viewer was dazed and confused? And when more importantly did it notice that the students were really excited? That the subject matter had lit a spark that needed to be fanned? That beneath the ennui there was passion?

And I didn't even get to my jaded, skeptical self part where I worry that digitally sustained evidence of "bad" teaching, (or teaching not aligned to this year's Next Big Thing) could be used against any teacher for any reason.

So will I continue to hunt the Internet for little clips of anything that can be begged, borrowed or stolen for a lesson. Will I continue to project Teacher tube clips (silently) ?
Of course.

Am I a fan of PodCast lessons- not really.

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