Based on my sensitization to the middle school environment, I feel that there is a need to get our youth’s attention today before we begin to talk about education reform. And why do we need to get their attention? Because the majority of them are not paying attention in the conventional or traditional classroom. This is one reason why there is a lot of retesting to force feed our youth to pass the required exams so they can move through the slush gates of education and ultimately out the door. And it seems most school administrations are okay with this as they attempt to fill their state-mandated quotas translated as achievement percentages.
The students are the victim, here. They may very well pass their required exams at some point in time, but in order to do so, most go through the process of “pulling and pushing”, if you will, to move them away from their lethargic and aliterate behavior to pay enough attention … and I emphasize, enough … to pass. I will leave it up to you to define what passing really means.
The students I taught at Raul Yzaguirre School for Success in Houston, Texas accomplished a great deal with me via Technology Applications. I would like to think that I had a great deal to do with this productivity, but it was truly due to hands-on hardware/software, access to the Internet, and project-based activities involving visualization, design and creation of product. And a lot of the classroom activities paralleled or matched similar, personal activities with hardware/software. In other words, my “wired” classroom was conducive to who they were (are) … “wired” youth, “digital natives”. These accomplishments are evidenced at:
The lethargic and aliterate behavior in the conventional or traditional classroom is due to two factors: the environmental stimuli via computer technology, media, entertainment, video gaming modes of approach; and the lack of educators being able to acknowledge such, and make amends in the classroom. It seems to me that they need to join the ranks of our youth today, and become ‘wired’ in the classroom. And if this is approached correctly … project-based activities via technology applications that cross over into the core subject areas with STEM/STEAM components … students will participate in and contribute to the educational process for “real” benefit. And I describe benefit this way because of the practicality of the applications process as a part of the learning activity. Not only will there NOT be a need for retesting, but also an enhancement of skill levels that are required in higher education and at the workplace.
Also, another way to increase the attention span of our youth, and improve their outlook or mindset about education is to have digital entities … computer technology, media, entertainment, video gaming, etc. … place statements of encouragement on their products targeting students in a general sense to do better with the curriculum, stay in school, and graduate. Since these entities have changed the mental attitudes and pace of our youngsters, they should also nurture our youth to stay in school and get an education. I feel that statements of encouragement on their products would have a great impact on our youth’s psyche to begin to think twice about how important getting an education is. This could have an all-encompassing effect on getting our youth’s attention. And I feel that this enhanced awareness … along with technological support in the classroom and tech teaching of teachers … would begin to turn around the educational process in a more positive light.