Sunday, October 09, 2011

Student Narcissism, Technology, etc.

Many of our students can't help being narcissists--they've been told since Day 1 how wonderful they are, they were given trophies just for showing up, and they had ponies and bouncy-houses at their birthday parties. The world has always seemed to revolve around them, why shouldn't they believe that it does?

OK, I'm painting there with a brush that's as wide as the Sonoran Desert, but you get my point.

I got started on this train of thought by reading Math Curmudgeon's post about what students say they want out of teachers and education. Curmudgeon is appropriately named--and he's also 100% correct in the post! I especially enjoyed the part about technology, at which students are supposed to be so much more adept than I am:
"Us youth love all the new technologies that come out. When you acknowledge this and use technology in your teaching it makes learning much more interesting."

I love them, too. Now get out your iPads and load up the Kindle version of the textbook and get to work. If you can't connect to the school's network, then set up a wi-fi hotspot off your iPhone, go to, find the answer to the first part of the question and incorporate it into the Excel spreadsheet to further analyze the problem, dump the results to Powerpoint, send it to your portable printer or convert it to one of the four acceptable electronic formats. Then, don't send it to my email account but rather submit it to the class Moodle in the proper forum. You know how to do that, right? By the end of the week, I'll want you to be able to explain all this and apply your knowledge to something completely different, so you need to get cracking.
I wonder what percentage have ever made their own videos, except as an assignment somewhere. More than half of my seniors had never used a simple spreadsheet until I taught them the most basic of features.

But wait, there's more!
"I can't learn from you if you are not willing to connect with me."

Bullshit. Teachers can connect but it's a two-way street and you're not playing. If you can't learn without the touchy-feely crap then you'll never learn from Salman Kahn, a computer, an online program, a disinterested presenter or any teacher who is even slightly less than your ideal of perfection. That's a damn shame.

And more!
"You need to use tools in the classroom that we use in the real world like Facebook, email, and other tools we use to connect and communicate."

You need to put away your childish toys and realize that gossip and passing notes is something we did when we were young, too, and that Facebook and twitter are simply the new version of that.

In theory, I know more about math than the students in my classes. What say we learn it the way I think is best, OK?

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