Monday, April 9, 2012

Professional Development in Public Schools

As I was reading "The Juggler's Brain" by Carr, I kept thinking about some of the topics of many professional development workshops that I've had to attend as a high school teacher.  I think I've seen the "Shift Happens" video from YouTube at at least 4 professional development presentations.  I'm sure you've seen it too, but I've included a link just in case.  This version, modified by a group in Iowa, contains most of the information from the first "Shift Happens" video I saw within the first 4 1/2 minutes.  The last three minutes may be of more interest.  That is where my thoughts really connected to the Carr article.

The two big ideas that many high schools are pushing in professional development for their teachers are technology and critical thinking.  I kept thinking about these two ideas as I read Carr's article.  Our students need to be proficient users of the Internet, but they also need to build on their skill to have depth to their thinking.

Another video I found on YouTube reiterated some of the same issues as presented in the article and also posed an optimistic view of how e-readers may help to address some of the concerns presented in "The Juggler's Brain."

I appreciated the optimistic view at the end of this video - that we can encourage ourselves and future generations to train their brains to have both skills - being savvy on the Internet looking for immediate answers and also being able to allow our brains to read a work for depth of knowledge.  Am I being too optimistic?  Are today's students really differentiating between the two skills and using them at appropriate times?

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