Every year in the beginning of the school year, schools here conduct back-to-school night. It’s an opportunity to get to know the teacher, classroom, curriculum and meet other parents. This year, due to construction activity at the school that makes mass parking unmanageable, the middle school conducted a virtual back-to-school night. Each teacher had a 8-10 minute video prepared with content specific to their subject. While the experience would have been richer with face to face meeting, the videos gave us a good sense for goals, expectation, and even personality of the teachers.
Kids use technology quite a bit in middle school. In 7th and 8th grade, the school provides ipads that they can take to their home. In 6th grade, the use of ipad, google applications and classrooms are fairly prevalent. Each teacher has his or her own website and homework is disseminated through the website.
While I am not a trained teacher, I see the use of alternative methods of learning including technology, yielding benefits when I teach in sunday school. Last week, I taught my kids in culture class dashavatar through bharatanatyam mudras, the kids loved it and memorized the sequence in sanskrit within minutes. Then, they were asked to create their own avatar using a certain website, which they so loved!
Yet, I wonder – how much of this is learning and how much of this is just playing. As in playing for time pass, not playing with the intention to learn. What is retained and what is not. Will technology deepen curiosity or heighten distraction? Time will tell!