10 Things from Michael Kennedy

TECH OR TEACH?: Happy trails to Mr. Michael Kennedy, a veteran teacher seeking greener pastures after 38 years of teaching in Vermont and Minnesota. In cleaning out his classroom and clearing out his head, he leaves us with a "bucket list" of 10 things every school system needs and 10 things that need to be removed. We appreciate the candor:  "I was once a curriculum specialist... Lots of ego and little substance" (take a guess which list that falls under). Mr. Kennedy's lessons learned also highlight a classic tension between teachers and technology. While he's against "blocking the Internet, YouTube, and so forth," he draws the line at the BYOD movement: "Nobody should have [cellphones] in the buildings. They are toys and distractions," he declares. Considering that text messaging and touchscreens have replaced the conversation and people-watching we once did so avidly in public, Mr. Kennedy makes a valid point (especially when you're teaching critical reading and writing skills). Yet we're also reminded of Mr. Tom Whitby's take (featured last week) on what constitutes technology:  "I do know that what astounds me with these tools is thought to be expected by students. They sleep with their Smartphones. Just ask them." We're left asking if and where technology has a place in time-tested, proven pedagogy?

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