Thursday, May 1, 2008

We can spell

I remember reading about a classroom computer lab where each student sits before his or her own computer to work. Each of the student computers is networked to the teacher's desktop computer where the teacher is able to capture the screen of any student computer to monitor work. Such systems are expensive. They cost tens of thousands of dollars per classroom. I would imagine that they are prone to malfunctions and planned obsolescence.

Computer labs like that seem a costly and poor way to do this sort of work. A much simpler—and more earth-friendly—technology has been around far longer than I have: chalkboards.

Here, see for yourself how a teacher can monitor kindergarteners spelling:




An added benefit is that wood-framed slate chalkboards are very satisfying to use. They're solid and heavy. The chalk is fun to write with, and being short, can only be held with the proper three-fingered grip. The little scraps of bath towels make good erasers. And, done on the mat like this, if someone needs a little help it's only inches away.


Culmom37 said...

What a great picture of the students showing off their accomplishments!!!! They sure look proud.

Anonymous said...

Kaden was really excited to check the blog tonight. Well, ok - every
night he looks forward to checking it. I see why he was especially excited. Much much better than using modern technology. Just look at those smiling faces. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job teaching our children!

James Gurney said...

We have a one-room schoolhouse that was moved on our county fairgrounds. Every summer at the Dutchess County Fair here in New York State, people with living memories of that way of teaching describe it to the visitors milling through. They speak lovingly of the wood stoves, the maps, the inkwells...and the slates. I'm sure there were problems with that way of teaching, too, but I always have a longing for such things because they were discontinued before I entered my school days. I'm glad to see you're bringing them back, and creating fresh memories of them.

teaching said...

My most-used piece of technology in my classroom is the "white-board". I use mine and the kids use theirs. Overhead projector is a close second. I am thinking seriously of replacing the kids' whiteboards with old fashioned blackboards because the markers are so very expensive, and they dry out so quickly. AND I worry that the fumes can't be healthy for their little bodies. Of course if we were using chalkboards instead of whiteboards, someone might be thinking we were going backwards in the technology dept., whereas, with the whiteboards, I'm using the "latest" in student involvement and connection with the teacher. "Newer = better" says the American Motto.
I'm with you, Mr. Gurney. Computers are an expensive over-rated piece of equipment for most of what we are trying to teach the little ones. (I teach third grade). Mostly, we want to teach kids to interact with their own thinking process. It can be done very simply and calmly (and inexpensively) without electromagnetic fields in their personal space. (I believe). Well done! And thank you for your beautiful picture of the kids using their technology. It might even catch on as a "green" technology pretty soon... save electricity, save trees, reduce toxic chemical waste... How VERY forward of you. :o)