Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hall Monitoring, Technology & Smoke and Mirrors

My brief hiatus from blogging over the summer turned into a full-blown slump when school started followed by a a sudden penchant to spend whatever free time time I managed to squirrel away to do stuff like sleep, eat and watch mindless television.

And, as if that weren't bad enough, I sort of lost my sense of humor as I toiled away at other obligations and responsibilities. I noticed this rather bleak trend as I was standing in the hallway doing my hall monitoring thing and bemoaning the loss of my hall monitoring buddy Rhonda who retired at the end of last year.

It's not that I don't like my other hall monitoring buddies. I do, but they are quite a bit more serious than Rhonda and me. Rhonda and I had cabinets and drawers filled with puppets, rubber chickens, wands, hats and other important teacher tools. The other two monitors probably have some stuff stashed away, but they're theater teachers. I think they're suppose to have that stuff, you know, for props. My stuff, well, is just for fun.

So now more than seven weeks into the school year, I'm back on track breaking out the puppets, creepy octopus finger and magic wand. I hope this helps me get my funnyback because after a recent teacher professional development I need all the help I can get.

I'm 99 percent certain that most teachers spend quite a bit of professional development focused on technology and how technology will solve all our educational problems. 

While there's a lot of wonderful whiz bang contraptions out there, there's a lot of stuff that doesn't really work, and much of it really amounts to nothing more than smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors with perhaps a bit of snake oil thrown into the mix.

I recently sat in one session that showed a bunch of cool user-friendly Internet sites that teachers could use and implement in a relatively short span of time.
With this Bring Your Own Device bandwagon circling the country, the presenter showed a site where you could create a poll and have students vote and get real-time results as you lectured on this or that. I admit I initially got sucked into the glitziness of it all and did a few ooohs and aaahs.

Then I remembered about a very low tech method of ascertaining student opinion and understanding. Jeepers creepers, why not raise your hand for crying out loud? That's pretty quick and efficient, requires no preparation and actually allows you to spontaneously get a litmus test of your lesson. 

Raise your hand if you agree with me.