Consulting my handy-dandy journal calendar, I see that I’ve written at least some sort of entry most days this month, or at least since I promised to write six sentences a day. I guess I’m making progress. In some ways, writing six or more sentences is not very challenging. At least it keeps me involved in the craft when otherwise it would fall from my handbasket.
Lately I’m involved in trying to think graphically about problems, thanks in part to the education I’m getting vicariously from my Internet friend Dave Gray. I’ve done a few graphics to explain how technology is introduced and used at my school. They have been received with an air of recognition and amused but disappointed laughter. Ideally, I’m going to create a graphic that explains how things could be done better, but so far all people have done is explain to me how to expand on what I now think of as the “Diagram of Cynicism” as opposed to the “Diagram of a Way Forward”. This is problematic. Vision is important; President Bush I lamented being required to have the “vision thing” going for him, and he lost the presidency in part because of that. Yet you can’t manufacture a vision out of nothing. Even St. John of Patmos had to compose his Revelation out of the materia of his world: cities on a hill, angels and swords, beasts wearing crowns, dragons, and women crowned with stars.
A colleague of mine has put together a list of what kids at school should know in each grade. It follows that the teachers who teach those grades should know that material just as well, and be able to teach it. I see that as a ninth grade teacher, I should know how to create a movie using my computer. Do I know how to do this? No, but I’d like to learn. I’d also like to learn how to troubleshoot the printer in my classroom, and create a spreadsheet or a database (hello, fencing equipment — meet inventory control!). Do I have time to learn these things? No. Are there training sessions readily available to my school for this set of technology guidelines? No.
Heron 61 and a former student of mine are quite right: research and information-gathering are changing.