Sunday, November 4, 2007

Summing Up: The School Year

Since my last major string of posting, several major things has happened. Probably the most notable has been I am now teaching every day. Yes, school has come back into session within the last 67 days! Interestingly enough, in the past 67 days there have only been 43 actual days of school.

This school year is notable in the fact that it's the first year I'm not teaching any classes I've never taught in the past. Even more notably, I'm not teaching any classes I haven't taught for at least 4 years before this year. In theory this should make this school year a breeze. However, I always seem to have the desire to completely change things. This year my big push is including authentic assessments & using artifacts (something the student creates) to demonstrate mastery instead of simply written tests. While these can actually make the school days easier (since students spend some time in class working on their artifacts), they require a decent amount of planning beforehand, therefore increasing my school night workload.

Maybe when I'm 60 I'll settle down and go with what I've done in the past... :-) As it is now, I enjoy creating the new artifacts & attempting to teach using newer technologies (they don't always work as planned). If the goal is to create lifelong learners, I feel it's necessary to get students used to using newer technologies, so they're more comfortable trying them out even when they're 65+ years old. As of 2005, just 27.7% of people 65+ years old had computers with internet connections. Think of how really useful the internet could be for populations that aren't as mobile. The internet can provide all sorts of services and shopping that would otherwise take days of driving around, yet only just over a quarter Americans over 65 have daily access to these services.

Coincidentally, the 43 day old school year is currently just 27.7% of the way through, and looking pretty good.

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