Has distance education changed teaching?
I taught elementary school for seven years. This last year was my last. I pretty much quit for the simple reason that this profession got progressively more stressful to the point where I couldn't deal with it anymore. As far as how this profession has changed, in my opinion it has not changed for the better. While I do think the whole standards and accountability thing helps gives teachers the scope and sequence of what needs to be taught, I think that the biggest thing that's happened in the constant assessing that higher ups say is necessary. The students are being tested to death and being pushed to the near stress levels teachers are. I think the kids are being turned into clones because of the constant assessing. The higher ups are forcing each student to try to achieve the same result in the same time frame regardless of the needs of the students. Everything is all about test scores and like it or not teachers are being asked to teach to the test, even if the higher ups say that's not the point of NCLB. If the goal is higher test scores, how can you not teach to the test? Students are being pushed harder than necessary, teachers are not getting paid for the extra things they do, and more is being asked of teachers each year. Kids are not enjoying school the way they used to. When I was in school, we didn't have power standards, and benchmark tests every quarter, and I still learned the things I needed to. I enjoyed some of the learning. The worst part of school for me was having to deal with mean kids picking on me. I think that the higher ups have good intentions for education, but their method for going about it is wrong and it's ruining education.
" When reflecting on the changes I have made over the past few years, the increased use of technology is obvious "
How has Technology Changed the Teacher-Student Relationship?
By Steven McGuire, June 3, 2009 in Pedagogy and Teaching
It may be that technology is morally neutral in the sense that it is always up to human beings as moral agents to decide how it should be used. But it is also true that technology can change the way that we interact with other human beings (and the world in general) without our even recognizing it—except, of course, that we always have the capacity to step back and realize that a change has taken place. That is what I propose to do here, using as examples email and Blackboard, both of which have changed the way that students and professors interact with one another. The question is, have we allowed these technologies to change the student-teacher relationship for the better, or for the worse?
Email and Blackboard have obvious advantages. Email offers a quick and efficient way to communicate with students outside of the classroom. Blackboard enables professors to post readings and other useful materials on the web, rather than making tens of copies and carrying them to class. Thus, I have no intention of suggesting that we should do away with either technology. Used properly, they make life easier.
I do think, however, that they negatively effect the student-teacher relationship because of the way we allow them to be used. I think this is so primarily because these technologies exacerbate the bad habits that students already tend to have. First, students often forget etiquette when they use email. I receive several emails every semester without a salutation—or even with an attachment but without text—from students with whom I have never before communicated one-on-one. Second, email allows students to leave things until the last minute. Papers are emailed late without permission and without apology. Requests to reschedule exams are sent during the night beforehand. Questions about assignments are (disconcertingly) received less than 24 hours before the assignments are due. Third, students use email for discussions that should take place during office hours. Only a few students ever come to see me during the appointed time; instead, they email me questions, often about complex matters that really should be discussed in person. Sometimes they even email me questions that they would never have asked if they had to come to see me in order to do so. Fourth, Blackboard helps students to get away with skipping class: if readings, assignments, grades, and even class notes are posted online, then why bother coming to class at all? In short, email and Blackboard facilitate poor manners, disorganization, laziness, and other bad habits that many students need to work to overcome while in university.
I wonder what others think of these issues? I'm sure that students have always had these kinds of bad habits, but do new technologies enable them to manifest them in worse ways, or more regularly? How do others respond to such misuses of technology by students? I suspect that many professors simply let students get away with it. I know that I have on many occasions—usually due to leniency or because I simply couldn't be bothered to start a conflict—but I think that may be a disservice both to the students and to other professors, since it merely perpetuates the behavior. On the other hand, rectifying the trend may face a significant collective action problem, so am I better off just not worrying too much about it?
Why I Like Change
David Ellenberg, 8th grade history
In the minds of many humorists and some clever students, history is “just one damn thing after another.” As such, teaching this discipline involves the ongoing challenge of making coursework relevant. Perhaps this is most true with middle school students who are distinctly changeable in their approach to learning. When I began teaching in the 1980s, chalkboards and comp books were common; word processing and Google searches were not. We ordered educational films and showed them on 16-mm projectors. The vast array of web resources for locating film clips, most notably YouTube, was in the distant future.Today, a plethora of previously unimagined futures are at the ready. Revision of student writing is far more streamlined, any geographic location on the planet can be easily examined with current maps, and historic events can be quickly viewed and analyzed using newsreel footage or fine documentaries. Despite the unfortunate aspects of the Information Age such as full inboxes, phony websites, and endless digital distractions, for a history teacher the Internet Age is a godsend. The advent of the World Wide Web enables me to teach students in new ways about accessing credible information for research. When introducing topics, I use written, video, and musical sources accessed through my laptop. Students have online interactions that even the playing field for all, quiet and loquacious alike. Using shared documents for editing and revision eases group work.In addition to what I share directly with students, web searches also allow me to access an array of sources when planning lessons. For example, I routinely keep pace with new graphic memoirs that might be used during a global studies unit. When students access world events through artwork and family histories, learning is sparked. These true-life tales combine well with more traditional texts and expand student knowledge and understanding.
New approaches to accessing teaching resources complement traditional classroom work. Reading, writing, analyzing, and public speaking will forever be part of student life. These timeless skills are enhanced when positive aspects of technology find their mark. When I ask students to memorize a portion of a John Kennedy speech, how wonderful that they can easily find the president’s address on the Kennedy Library website. Speaking effectively in front of peers is a lifelong skill in any day and age.
3 Ways Education Has Changed
There is a lot of talk concerning how education has changed, especially when it comes to the teaching of our children in the public school system. The changes in the education of our school children centers around standardized testing, teaching methods, school grades, teacher salaries, and the No Child Left Behind law.
More Emphasis on Standardized Testing
Since the education system has changed, there has been more emphasis placed on standardized testing and getting to top school grades. Children who do not fit the standard are labeled as under achievers, which can be harmful to their self-confidence. On the flip side of things, there is better support today for individuals who have difficulty learning than in times past.
Mainstreaming of Children with Disabilities
With the No Child Left Behind law, students with disabilities must be included in the normal classroom setting as much as humanly possible. These students are not to be pushed aside like in times past.
Shortage of Teachers
Sadly, there is a shortage of teachers, especially teachers with the proper qualifications to deal with special needs students. This is due to the low teacher salaries that these teachers receive. If there were more incentives, student would better receive what they need, and there will be more teachers willing to work. More money needs to be invested in the education of our children.
Judgement Matters when Determining Whether Teachers
I'm the kind of guy who can eat the same breakfast, every day, forever. So change is hard, yet frequently good.
How Teaching Has Changed by Tom
Back in the 80s I drove a 1966 Plymouth Valiant. It was slow, ugly, comfortable and simple. When I looked under the hood, there were about four different items and even I could figure out what each of them was supposed to do. Now I drive a 1996 Geo Prizm. Looking under that hood is like looking into a human brain. There are at least 175 different items and I have no idea what any of them do. I’m not even sure which thing is the engine.
Cars have changed. So has teaching. Specifically, I can think of three major changes happening right now that are having – and will have – a major impact on how teachers do their jobs.
First of all, job security is over. That’s clear. When I was in college, there was an implicit bargain struck by those of us who went into teaching: we would sacrifice the opportunity to get rich and settle instead for the security of knowing that we would always have a job. And for the most part, that’s been true. No one got rich working in a classroom, and unless you get caught on video performing a felony, you’ll get to keep your job. But those days are coming to an end. That ship, if it hasn’t already sailed, is about to leave the dock. Teachers who want to keep teaching will have to keep teaching well. Thank God.
Which leads me to the second major change: teacher unions will have to either change or risk becoming completely irrelevant. Contrary to myth, teacher unions do not have an agenda separate from, and independent to, their membership. They do their members’ bidding. And their members have consistently told them to do three things: get us more pay, give us lower class sizes and help us keep our jobs no matter what. For the most part, teacher unions have been able to deliver on only one of those mandates: job security. Salaries haven’t gone up, but class sizes have. And job security is becoming a thing we remember. In the face of this reality, what use are the unions? Personally, I’d like to see the unions take the lead on teacher evaluation, accountability and professional development. Obviously, this would be a major shift, but the seeds are already there. The NEA has played a major role in developing and promoting the National Board and just last week they released a policy statement on evaluation and accountability that, for the first time, suggests the use of student performance to evaluate teachers. I don’t know much about the AMA or the ABA, but from what I do know, both organizations are run by their own members and are deeply involved with the professional development and accountability of doctors and lawyers. We need that in teaching, and the NEA needs to either step up to that plate or risk total irrelevancy.
The third major change, from my perspective, is this: teaching will become increasingly complicated while becoming increasing easier. Do you know what a “data coach” is? You will. Does your school have an MTI coordinator? It will. Do you work closely with your school’s “dean of vertical alignment?” You soon might. The teaching force is becoming more and more diverse in terms of responsibilities. When the economy turns around, money will flow back into education. But I don’t think it will go back to where it came from. Money will go to programs, not people, and most of those programs will make this field more complicated than ever, with teachers assuming different roles within the same schools. There will still be teachers working in classrooms, but the hardest part of teaching – figuring out what each student needs and providing the appropriate resources – will no longer be the sole responsibility of individual teachers. We will need to depend on one another more and more and share the responsibility for the education of every student. As a result, each individual teacher will have a more specialized – and easier – job. Technology will also complicate things while simultaneously making the job easier. I don’t need to be a great art teacher anymore; I can find excellent art instruction on-line, freeing me to do what I’m good at: monitoring student learning and adjusting the pace of instruction. Organizing this complicated network of collaboration will be difficult, but if done correctly, schools will be far more effective.
So if that’s where teaching is headed, what does that mean for you and me? I have four words of advice:
1. Get really good at what you do. No one’s going to be there to protect you if you’re an ineffective teacher. Nor should they. The days of second and third chances if you fail are over, along with the notion that a graduate degree or experience is a proxy for teacher competency. You are essentially only as good as your last lesson. Whether that’s good or bad is a subject we’ve debated frequently on this blog, but in the end it doesn’t really matter; if you’re a good teacher, you have little to worry about, but if you’re bad, either leave or get better.
2. Get really good at collaboration. Learn how to work with other teachers, because that’s where this profession is heading. The days when you could close the door to your classroom and deal only with your students might still be with us, but I think that’s going to change, and quickly. Get used to it.
3. Tell your story. When I see teaching as portrayed in the media, it’s clear that the public has no idea what we do. Most classrooms shown on TV look like the places where Beaver Cleaver learned to read, and ironically, these shows are produced by people who are too young to have ever even seen Leave it to Beaver! We don’t stand in front of blackboards, facing five rows of desks anymore. We manage a constantly changing mélange of large groups, small groups, individual conferences and technology-based learning activities. But no one knows that. No one outside of our world has any idea what we really do all day. And that’s our fault. I once had a pharmacist ask me why I needed planning time, since all I do is teach the same lessons year after year. We act surprised and hurt when we aren’t appreciated for the difficult and complicated work that we do, yet most of us do nothing to spread the word. Over the past ten years, I’ve worked with dozens of National Board candidates, helping them organize and write portfolios of their teaching practice. They frequently resist the idea of telling what they do. It feels like bragging or boasting to them. To which I say, “Not if you stick to verbs. Boasting is all about adjectives. Telling your story only needs verbs.” Another thing: be careful how you “accidently” tell your story. Assigning a word-search worksheet for homework sends a clear – and hopefully inaccurate – message to parents.
4. Focus on the kids. Every change to our profession needs to pass through a very simple, yet extremely important, filter: will this program, policy or proposal have a positive effect on student learning? If so, then it’s good; if not, get rid of it. And you and I, the teachers in the field, have to be the ones to make that call.
Change is hard. I hate it. I’m the kind of guy that can eat the same breakfast, every day, forever. But change is frequently good. That ‘66 Valiant I used to have was a great car. Great because it was so simple to fix. The Geo Prizm I have now is horribly complicated. 96 prizm
But here’s the thing: I had to fix my wonderfully simple ’66 Valiant all the time. Sometimes in the middle of intersections.
And the messy, complicated Geo Prizm, with the human brain under the hood?
It’s been in the shop only once over the past 15 years.
Technology has changed the teaching of deaf students by Nirvi Shah 13/09/2011
Changes in technology have had a dramatic effect on how children who are deaf or hard of hearing are taught, according to a new report from Project Forum at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.
Technology, including visual or text-communication devices and speech-to-print software as well as the wider use of cochlear implants, can generally be positive influences on these students' access to a free, appropriate education as required under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, wrote Eileen Ahearn, a senior policy analyst for Project Forum. Project Forum researches policy related to students with disabilities and is supported by the U.S. Department of Education.
About 1 percent of all students with disabilities are deaf or hard of hearing, according to aGovernment Accountability Office report from earlier this year.
States surveyed by Project Forum found that greater use of cochlear implants has led to:
• more acceptance of children who are deaf/hard of hearing by classroom teachers;
• the need for specific accommodations in the classroom rather than specialized
• a decrease in the number of schools for the deaf;
• a decrease in the use of sign language; and
• an increased need for speech-language pathologists with experience working with deaf/hard of hearing children.
Cochlear implants are also influencing how students who are deaf or hard of hearing are taught and how their needs are changing, the report said.
Some states said there was an increase in demand for approaches called auditory verbal training, or AVT, and listening and spoken language, or LSL.
Other states said cochlear implants have led to a need for changes in how teachers are trained, but professional development for related to working with students who are deaf or hard of hearing varies widely across states.
In recent months, how to teach children with hearing impairments has been the subject of debate. In Indiana, for example, when Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed several board members to the Indiana School for the Deaf, he was criticized because three of the four were not deaf. And two were thought to favor other methods of teaching over sign language.
The researchers at Project Forum found that many challenges that remain when working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
One of the challenges is developing and providing services in rural areas where, as is the case for children with other types of disabilities, a very small number of students tend need the services. Another is the availability of well-prepared teachers and high-quality professional development, which remain scarce. The budgets for working with deaf and hard of hearing students are shrinking in some places, and work needs to be done on improving relationships within the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.