Monday, May 09, 2005

Kids Today

So Tigana brought home a CD-ROM from school with her latest project on it, a powerpoint presentation on her family for Social Studies. The on-line version doesn't really do the presentation justice, since Tigana had put a lot of thought into sound effects (applause for Mom, fairy sounds for Kasia, and so on) and animation (fades, transitions, etc.) which do not show up on the Web version posted here. But what does show up demonstrates a lot about modern education. Tigana's spelling mistakes might offend a lot of traditionalists, though clearly she has the principles of phonetics, if not some of the details. What the traditionalists are mostly silent on, however, is that Tigana clearly has command of a whole set of skills (point form, powerpoint, graphic design) that were never part of traditional curriculum. Powerpoint Presentations in Grade 1?! My elementary school didn't even have typewriters!

The implications for my student teachers are, of course, obvious: When they complain that too many of my assignments require familiarity with technology (blogs, web sites, powerpoint, search engines, etc.) all I have to do is point to this Grade 1 assignment, and ask them (a) how is it they do not already have the skills now commonly taught in Grade 1, and (b) how do they expect to be able to teach kids in Grade 6 or 12 or etc. if the kids they will be facing are more computer literate then they are....

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