Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I found this awesome piece of text thanks to a recent tweet by @earlsamuelson an awesome math teacher in Alberta. A Mathemetician's Lament by Paul Lockhart. he recommended it as a must read for future math educators and I agree. I also decided to share it since we had so much discussion on metaphors recently and this is just filled with them, especially at the start.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
My PLN is still growing, but I believe that is kind of the point. The hub of my PLN is now most certainly my RSS feed and the blogs I subscribe to. I have gotten slightly more use to twitter and I am using it more frequently to communicate and seek out resources.I have been finding a variety of educational blogs by reading the suggestions that google reader has for my RSS feed.
As my PLN has been evolving it has been an interesting journey. I have communicated with teachers from various areas of the country and Canada. I have learned a lot and enjoyed the discussions I see on twitter through the hash tags #edchat and #mathchat. The internet is a big place and still full of resources I have yet to even scratch at. There is so much out there to pull from it can be overwhelming at times but as I have continued to streamline how I search, read, and communicate it has gotten much easier. Now when I look for math resources instead of finding childrens games for subtraction I am finding things for high school students and educators. Google has become a precious resource for me with a wide variety of uses.
This go round I was assigned Scott Elias' blog.
The first post I commented on was Engaging Teachers in Instructional Rounds. In this post Mr. Elias talks about teachers having "rounds" like a medical proffessional and attending another instructors class voluntarily. The class is then discussed in a group and the viewing teachers give constructive criticism and are allowed to build on others ideas. This is a wonderful idea because it gives educators a great chance to improve. the observing teachers get to see another teaching style and the teacher being observed gets group comments on ways they can improve and what they are doing well.
The Second post was Air Head which is about Mr. Elias' experience in buying and converting to a Macbook Air. He talks about the constraints of the memory and offers some very helpful solutions on how to manage and back up data. I feel this is a helpful artice even if you don't use a Mac and an example of how you can take advantage of web-based resources so that your work is never left at home/school.
I found it quite interesting that the younger interviewees seemed a little bit more anti-technology. My own inference on this is maybe the younger ones have had more experience with the trouble technology presents within education or have not had enough experience with its benefits. Most college age students have experienced the frustration of an online assignment not submitting or a key part of assignment being unavailable due to tech troubles, updates, and web upkeep. Perhaps the schools of these students did not integrate education and technology in a manner that was actually conducive to their education.
These interviews cannot show that much but I do believe that they express the great divides of peoples opinions on technology. Even those who similar opinions on some areas saw other areas differently, perhaps this is one of the largest hurdles we face when dealing with integrating tech into education. Everyone has their own ideas of how it should be and even how it works. This is something we will all have to keep in mind when proposing technology, someone might view it differently but still agree with you on some level.
1. Why did you miss the metaphor in Tom Johnson's post, or, if you "hit the nail on the head", why do you think you understood the metaphor and why do you think that others in the class missed the metaphor?
This is pretty tough to answer. To start with I'll just say that I expose myself to metaphors fairly often. Most of the music I listen to is full of metaphors, which when taken literally are quite strange. I read poetry on a regular basis, which of course is full of metaphors. I watch movies and read people's opinions on them where they sometimes insert non-existant symbolism which is a lot like a metaphor. For example if you watch SLC PUNK! carefully enough you'll notices that Mathew Lilliard's character Steve-o's hair changes shades of blue throughout the film, some people of postulated that this reflects his mood/maturity and ultimately when he shaves his head and becomes a lawyer, it reflects him accepting adulthood and becoming a productive member of society. Really it's just the simple fact that blue dye fades over time.
As for why people missed the is a metaphor I'm not sure, as I said in my post it was an obtuse metaphor but a metaphor none the less. They were thinking far too literally in some cases and others simply misinterpreted what the metaphor was about. Perhaps they just weren't exposed to metaphors enough before this post. I know that when i was in high school we rarely discussed metaphors and deeper meanings, barely scratching the surface of our reading materials.
2. What metaphors have you encountered since I asked you to create a log of them?
I encounter numerous metaphors throughout the day and it is impossible to keep track of them all. To begin with my music is full of it. Mason Proper uses very unclear metaphors to express romance, heartbreak, etc. To quote the song 'Light Off' on the album 'There is a Moth in Your Chest', "So tell me, how much of you disappears when I turn the lights off?" which is mostly a give-away for what the song is about. It's a song all about superficiality and how a person can be externally beautiful but lack inner substance. Screeching Weasel has a song titled 'Your Name is Tattooed on My Heart" which is obviously not literal. I visit Poets.org at least once a day and read the daily poem, which often contains a metaphor.
3. What other things can we do as educators to help our students to understand and to use metaphors?
How do we help our students understand and use metaphors? Give them suggested reading, expose them to it in class. Have them break down and analyze metaphors on a regular basis. Send them home with the assignment to find a song in their music collection with a metaphor and interpret its meaning.
4. Why do we use metaphors?
Metaphors can and are used for a variety of reasons. To diguise what is being said, to make a message more powerful, to provide humor when talking about a serious issue, to make something sound better, to make it more intriguing. Metaphors make up life, our music, our poetry, our books, movies, stories, games, just about everything.