Darin Janssen’s Weblog

Spark

I listened to a few of the spark episodes which Dean suggested and found them to be interesting.  I have now subscribed to Spark and I will continue to listen in between my camping and kayaking podcasts.

The one I am going to write about today is the Episode 77. QWERTY and salvage old technology.  I found the discussion about how the QWERTY keyboard came into existence interesting because I did not know the history behind why our keyboards are the way they are.  The only thing I knew was the keys in the middle row are the keys which are the most used when writing words.  The episode then went on to discuss why people always want the newest technology which comes out.  I think there are two main reasons.  One reason is people like new things.  We buy new things because we like “shiny new” things to play with.  The other reason I would say is “keeping up with the Jone’s”.  My friend or neighbor got something new so now I have to get the same or better.  I too live this situation.  I want a new computer, but in reality I do not need a new computer.  I can make up all kinds of excuses as to why I need a new computer but in reality my computer will do me just fine for a couple more years.  I sure would like replace my pc with a new macbook though.  I can say the same thing about many other things as well.  My phone, my car, my camping gear, my kayaks, as well as others.  They are all thing I would like to upgrade but I really do not need to.  I just know there is something new and better out there.

Now let me look at schools.  New computers for the entire school system or every couple of years some new focus or better way to teach students.  Are the computers needed or the new focus/way to teach actually better or are they just “shiny new” things that administrators or bureaucrats want to try.  Funny “no proof” that they are better or needed.

I was in a discussion before the break with some classmates and the professor of my moral education class and my professor related students being hungry at school to smoking.  Odd comparison but here is how it was related.  Years ago the discussion was around if smoking was bad for us or not.  Many doctors said there was “no proof” that smoking was bad for us, so we can smoke all we want.  After many years of testing we now have “proof” that smoking is bad for us.  My professor said “look at a chimney”; we have to sweep chimneys, what is smoking doing to our lungs?  Now look at schools where kids do not have breakfast and come to school without lunch.  How can they learn if all they are thinking about is how hungry they are?  I know that when I am hungry food is all I can think about.  We know in our heart that students need to have food in their stomachs in order to learn, but there is “no proof”.  Why do bureaucrats need “proof” before they move on something that is so obvious yet on other things they just do it.  They will spend thousands of dollars replacing computers in an entire system every three or four year for “shinny new” ones but they will not spend money to feed students who need a lunch in order to learn on those “shinny new” computers.  I think community schools should be feeding kids the lunches they need and then in ten years the bureaucrats will have the proof they wanted that kids can not learn if they are hungry.

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February 21, 2010 Posted by | General | 2 Comments

Stuck in the Past

We were asked to discuss university classes which are rooted in the past.  I have two of these classes this semester.  One is a Religious Studies class where the professor stands at the front of the class lecturing for the entire class.  He has his notes up on the smartboard to refer to, but only allows us to see two lines at a time.  At the end of each section he asks if anyone has any questions but rarely any questions are asked.  It is a daily struggle to stay awake during the class.  My other class is History.  This class consists of lectures as well.  He has thrown in some pictures, music and a couple of discussion periods but for the most part he just talks at us during the entire class.

For the most part I find education classes to be different.  Professors do not stand at the front the entire class and lecture.  They do lecture some times but there is generally half the class time spent in small group or whole class discussions.  The problem I find with some education classes are that they do not practice what they are preaching.

The professors who I find are the best at teaching are the ones who are still teaching in the school systems.  The downfall to this is they are all night classes because the professors are teaching all day.  Maybe all university professors, especially the education professors, should be teaching kids part time so they are still experiencing what is happening in schools.  This would allow them to relate their topics to what is actually happening in schools now.

February 21, 2010 Posted by | ECMP 455, General | | 5 Comments