What an interesting week we had this week! This weeks debate turned from one topic to two and both Emily and Brian did a fantastic job and were super flexible! Thank gosh we are are all going to be teachers and understand that flexibility is part of the job! So let’s get on with it cause I mean we are gonna have a good time with this one!
Emily’s topic of the Faustian bargain and that schools are selling themselves to large companies was something that was new to me. I had never heard of the term Faustian bargain before but the concept of selling your soul for something bigger and better was not a new idea to me. Being an avid watcher of the CW hit, Supernatural, making deals and selling your soul happens a lot. People are making deals and selling their souls to get something better. In the end, it doesn’t end well for them… If you are one who is reading this and has never seen the show, it is fantastic and I highly recommend! Back to the topic at hand, Faustian bargains and schools. One thing that came up was standardized testing. Companies have a big stake in standardized tests. Emily shared a really interesting article about how standardized tests are considered worthless. As I was reading it I couldn’t help but think about the testing we do at my school. A number of the reasons I was reading, I see. For example, one reason listed was stress. A lot, if not all these tests are done under a time constraint which affects the student’s performance. Students with test anxiety for example may know the material just fine but because of the time constraint they get stressed out and do not perform to the best of their ability. Another thing I think about when it comes to schools and companies is the giant PC vs Apple debate. What I am tending to notice is that school are not committing to one or the other. Schools will have PC computers and laptop carts yet they also have an iPad cart kicking around the school. However, I do see a trend in the brand of PC that schools choose. Having worked in two different divisions neither one has the same brand of computer. So overall, I think it is important to know what we are committing to when we sign up for something.
Now onto Brian’s topic which was that technology is a good thing and it gives us the chance to be open and share classroom content. Personally, I 100% agreed with this before and after the debate. Part of my plan for my future classrooms is to use technology to share student work with parents using apps like SeeSaw or Class Dojo. Technology has opened so many doors for students to have their work seen by people other than their teachers. SeeSaw and Class Dojo allow parents to see their work and be notified right away thanks to smart phones. Classroom blogs and Twitter allow for work to be seen on a larger scale. This not only allows for students work to be shared but as the teacher we can be modelling appropriate online behaviour and teaching our students how to be good digital citizens in the process. Now with this, comes some potential problems. One I foresee being an issues is the parents. Some parents are very concerned and do not want their child or their work being on the internet. Most divisions have a form that gets sent home a the start of the year regarding this, but I feel as a classroom teacher I would make my own little note/permission form to go along with this division note, just to make sure that parents fully understand my intentions as well as how I and the students will be using the technology in the classroom.
Overall, this mix up of a debate turned into something really powerful and awesome. I learnt some new words which is always fun. I also applaud Emily and Brian for taking on the challenge of combining two debate topics in the heat of the moment.