Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Techno Classroom

Some twist of fate tossed me and my wonderful Jesus of Nazareth students into a brand new classroom outfitted with the wizardry of technology. Tuesday morning I entered the room, walked to the “rostrum” (not sure of the right word here), and put down my book bag — a Stanley Traveller — and then began to explore all the techno stuff.
Here are my observations:
First, there was a screen on which we could put images, but they were recessed into the ceiling and I couldn’t for the life of me find a switch that lowered them — not that I would need them.
Second, a big black box full of lights — like the cockpit of an aeroplane — and switches and lines and holes. I assume that thing was the power and the brains of all the fancy stuff that was on the “rostrum.”
Which was my main problem: there were wires going in all directions. There was a white board with two switches and a small light-like looking object that a student told me I could use to write on a piece of paper and it will show up on the screen (which, of course, was recessed and I didn’t know how to lower). Another techno gadget did something else, but I never figured what it did.
Now, I’m sure our school kindly thought it would be good for me to have a nice classroom for my students, and I appreciate it, but I’ll be informing them soon that someone else might find such a classroom more to their style.
I’ll be getting a chair and sitting at the table in the front row. I’m pumped about this class — should be lots of fun.
FYI: My new rule about using computers only in the front row: not even a smidgeon of a protest. Nada. Nichts. But, then again, one of the two students using a computer was using an Apple PowerBook, and I can’t believe such folks would ever think of surfing the net during class!
We’re off to a good start. I haven’t brought up the issue of cell phones during quizzes yet.

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James Petticrew

posted August 31, 2006 at 5:58 am

Just returned home to Scotland from Asbury which was one of the first seminarys to go hi tech. My experience was that endless time was spent phoning the tech people to find out how to work things and that was after the system had been for almost 10 years! Many of the profs reverted to white board and marker.
I have to confess that surfing the web in class on several occasions saved me from slipping into a coma due to the mind numbing ability of one lecturer who will remain nameless, I am sure your students don’t face the same problem.

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John Frye

posted August 31, 2006 at 6:32 am

For the sake of the techno adventure, figure out how to use the stuff (ask the Apple computer student), then fagettaboutit. Soon, the technos will ask you to burn your class material to a CD/DVD and then all you’ll have to do is ask the class on the 1st day to download it. Then kick back. Somebody thinks that teaching is just the transfer of information and I’m glad you don’t believe that. I’d like to take your class.

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Backwoods Presbyterian

posted August 31, 2006 at 6:48 am

Ditto to what John Frye said.

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posted August 31, 2006 at 7:08 am

Ok, this brings me out again. I will also be teaching in such a new Techno Classroom – but one with even more Bells and Whistles as we have tablet PC’s at tables with students in groups of 4 or 5 in a “Dinner Theater” arrangement. The student work can be projected onto the screen for comment and discussion.
The difference is that I will be using some portion of the techno junk.
Believe it or not John, in the format of the class I am teaching, we are using these tools precisely because teaching is not just the transfer of information. I can stand and lecture to transfer information. The techno junk is intended to enable a more interactive class.

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sacred vapor

posted August 31, 2006 at 7:22 am

maybe the two kids on the computers were posting on the ‘Jesus Creed’ blog!
I work for an education publisher and one of our tasks is to incorporate technology in the classrooms, hence providing education resources in all sorts of digital formats as well. The obvious issue is that many of the Schools around the U.S. do not have the infrastructure to go high-tech, let alone the tech support when things go wrong.
The dilemma is that everybody WANTS high-tech, and indeed, expects it from the supplier, but nobody is ready for it.

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Mark Goodyear

posted August 31, 2006 at 8:22 am

Ditto John and RJS. Obviously, Scot, you know how to use techno junk to build community and teach. You’re doing it here (like vapor pointed out).
But I agree that the classroom provides a unique opportunity to set aside the technology. I used the internet in my AP classes some, but mostly we relied on books and paper and pencils and old fashioned socratic conversation. Good stuff!

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posted August 31, 2006 at 8:31 am

“There was a white board with two switches and a small light-like looking object that a student told me I could use to write on a piece of paper and it will show up on the screen”
Is North Park behind the times? We had these in high school 12 years ago!

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posted August 31, 2006 at 11:32 am

Rather than rostrum the proper term would probably be “Control Panel” or “Instrument Panel” or, better yet, “Console”.
Console: a desk, table, display, or keyboard onto which the controls of an electronic system or some other machine are fixed
This is definitely my favorite, since we can then make the connection with console = comfort, soothe, calm, relieve, raise somebody’s spirits.
What better way to “Console” than with new techno gadgets?

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posted August 31, 2006 at 1:07 pm

Although technology has enhanced many classroom experiences at North Park, there is something wonderful and unique about a lecture which is so engaging that students stop taking notes just to listen.
Scot’s students will find themselves at that moment this semester, and when they do, it’s best that there isn’t a Power Point in the background to distract them.

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John Frye

posted August 31, 2006 at 1:11 pm

I am all for using the latest technical stuff if it will enhance the “high touch” factor; and I’ll take your word for it that it does. Great.
Scot the Great Consoler, the Prince of Paraphernalia.

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posted August 31, 2006 at 9:55 pm

My brother is a prof at a University in OHio and he often complained, quite loudly at the rudeness of the students letting their cell phones ring in class. After one particularly vocal outrage, my brother returned to the “rostrum” only to hear a cell phone ring, just as he was ready to unleash a new diatribe, he realized it was his cell phone, he answered, it was his mother calling. the class had a good laugh, at his expense.

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Paul J

posted September 1, 2006 at 12:11 am

Seeing as how I’m partly responsible for this Techno Classroom, I’ll give you your own private lesson sometime next week. Sound good?

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posted September 1, 2006 at 5:00 pm

I’ll trade you! They have me in a class with a broken overhead projector (sigh).

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posted September 1, 2006 at 7:53 pm

I guess I’m a stalker. I googled ‘Stanley Traveller book bag’ to see just what name you were dropping (handsome!) and Jesus Creed came up as the 9th item.
Hope you get some kind of endorsement deal out of this.

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posted September 4, 2006 at 1:20 am

Some people have to constantly buy new techno gagets. They just can’t help themselves. It’s why I can’t go into Best Buy without a chaperone.
It appears that Colleges are no different. Some have to buy the latest and greatest devices. Whether or not they’re actually going to use them – or be able to – is the question.

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