If you asked your students what these things are, I’m betting they’d either stare at you blankly or ask if it’s the name of an “oldies band.” We are not just moving in a new direction for obtaining information. The movers have already arrived and your forwarding address is at the post office (you know, that place where you get that paper stuff called mail).
To say that the way we (and our students) obtain information has changed drastically in the last 20 years would be a dramatic understatement. Where we used to search for information, we now have to kind of “weed out” information because there is just so much available to us, literally at our fingertips.
Do you know what we did if there was a question we couldn’t answer and we couldn’t find the answer in our encyclopedias? We called the “reference desk” at the library. The nice lady there would try to answer any question you had, even if it took her a while to look something up.
So if you were researching something, you’d have to pull out a rack in the card catalog according to the alphabetized subject and flip through the cards. If you got lucky, the title of a book or a brief description would point you in the right direction. Then you had to actually find the book, skim through it, and hope that you’d find some information.
The Internet is changing the way our students learn, and it’s changing the way we teach. If we don’t adapt our teaching to meet these changes, we’re going to lose our students. Those of us who are already teaching are going to have to keep up. Education students in universities are learning to teach this way. It’s not new to them. It’s already second nature. Along those lines, the kids we teach are already a step or two ahead of us when it comes to technology anyway. Kids can now study their spelling words online using sites like SpellingCity.com. Teachers use the Internet to generate their own quizzes, worksheets, and web quests.
I love that the information is so “easy” to find these days. I put easy in quotation marks because as I mentioned earlier, there is just so much out there that sometimes it becomes overwhelming. That’s one of the things I love about Lesson Pathways. When I want to find an activity or an online game or even just some reference material for a subject, it’s already there. It’s been screened for content and appropriateness. All I have to do is enter a search term into the search box and everything I need has already been found for me. I don’t want to be left behind when it comes to technology, and a site like Lesson Pathways makes it easy for me to look like I know what I’m doing–even when I don’t (which never happens…really, honest).
I’m glad information has become so easy to obtain. It gives me more time to focus on my students’ needs, and it gives my students more time to focus on synthesizing the information they have in front of them instead of spending all that time searching for a needle in a haystack.
Editors, synthesizers, and creators. That’s the new generation. They’ll no longer have hunt and gather for precious bits of information. Instead, they’ll be able to build something new and–we can hope–better.
This post was written by Crystal P., classroom educator and Lesson Pathways contributor.