Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gardner and Technology

I plan to heed the advice of Howard Gardner (2000). He states that educators need to focus on two broad goals at all times, including the discourse on technology integration. The first goal should focus on students becoming certain kinds of adults. For example if we want our children to become civil then we need to develop their interpersonal skills. Video simulations and chats can create virtual reality situations. The second goal, according to Gardner (2000) is to get students to understand the major ways of thinking. Using technology, children can understand theory development, test hypotheses. If students are studying the causes of World War I, they can use newspapers, photos and models. Technology can become a viable and efficient medium to teach these goals. Materials are easy to access, they are vivid and fun. They address the multiple ways of knowing. Technology also provides speed and traverses great distances.

Gardner (2000) cautions educators:
Clearly, a marriage of education and technology could be consummated. But it will only be a happy marriage if those charged with education remain clear on what they want to achieve for our children and vigilant that the technology serves these ends. Otherwise like other technologies, the new ones could end up spawning apathy, alienation, or yet another phalanx of consumers. (p.35)

A Bit of a Break

I have taken a bit of a "blogging" break, and I'm not really too sure why I have done this. I don't feel refreshed, and I don't think that I needed to be refreshed. Anyway, I have been busy since I finished my University course and next week I start my final class to finish off my Master's Degree. It will be hectic because I have to drive to the city (2 hours away) twice a week for 6 weeks!

One thing that has been weighing heavily on my mind is a doctoral degree. One of the University professors suggested to me that I set up an appointment to discuss applying for the program. Apparently applications have to be submitted by February 2008 to begin studies in the fall of '08. I am a bit confused. I think that I have always wanted to do this, but I realize what a huge commitment this would be. My oldest child will be graduating next fall, so he would be gone from home when I begin my studies. I'm not sure if this is good or bad. My youngest child will be entering grade eight... I am started my new position as principal this fall, so I'm sure that many new challenges are awaiting me. I love learning, and the possibility excites me.

One other very important factor is my husband. He has always been there to encourage and support me in all of my endeavors. Maybe it is my turn to try to just have a more "normal" marital relationship. A relationship without the long hours of me ignoring him so I can get my homework done....

School is so busy right now with working on staffing for the fall, spring fever, maintenance issues, fundraisers for student exchange and graduation. Traditionally our grad has always been the first Saturday in May, which means that our grad is this Saturday. The kids have been very good, but there is one issue that has always plagued me since I have been at my present school: truancy. The problem really isn't habitual or extensive, but rather parental support of his/her child's truancy. I would say that a small portion of our population has this issue. I have spent several hours thinking about how to address this problem, and I think that the most realistic method is simply to state that if a student is 16 or over, then the school will be responsible to report the student absence to the parents, end of issue. I'm going to continue to contemplate this issue, and I plan to include other stakeholders.