Wednesday, January 20, 2016

To Siri, With Love.

Long ago and far away, when I was young the movie "To Sir With Love" was a big hit. In it, Sidney Poitier plays a new teacher sent to a rough school in the east end of London.  With love, respect and patience Poitier's character turns a disrespectful, disillusioned class of teenagers into literature loving successful students. 

As many teachers know, this is not all that is needed. Yes, of course if we treat our students with respect, attend to the whole child not just the curriculum we will achieve a level of success. But there is so much more. Teaching students is a complicated endeavor. 

As we all hop on the technology bandwagon, this is an important lesson to remember.  Technology is an amazing resource that engages students and brings the whole world into view. But we also must remember that these are children with vast and differing backgrounds, interests and learning styles. As a teacher of teenagers I am also dealing with growing pains, love and hormones.

When I asked my students to find a question that Siri couldn't answer, I was expecting questions like "What is the meaning of life?" or "What will the world be like when I grow up?". Instead, my students asked "Siri, what is my shoe size?" or many of them just said "Hello Siri".  One student didn't complete my assignment at all, he was too busy looking at his reflection in his darkened iPad. 

Siri, like all technology is an amazing tool. It is up to the teachers to show our students the potential of these tools and themselves.

Your in all things techie,


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