teachers. I have noticed a great contrast between my experience in his class 5 years ago and the way the material is taught this year. Holman’s class has the same influence of technology as I remember from 2012, only with more programs that weren’t around when I was in middle school. Sites like Quizzizz, PearDeck, and My Maps are integrated seamlessly into the curriculum, enhancing the material in a big way. However, though the technological resources are many, students seem increasingly less interested in them, probably because they have grown up in an environment where innovation is expected. While technology was ever-present in my class as well, it was still quite a new idea to utilize these resources in a creative way in the classroom. Now, young kids are more intrigued by the novelty of fidget-spinners than the hackneyed webquest. The way students have changed is not inherently a bad thing, as they have benefitted from technology greatly, but it does create a certain limitation, as it forces teachers to constantly innovate, not just from year to year, but from week to week and day to day, to keep the attention of these young minds. I’m not trying to sound like an old man yelling at a cloud shaking my fist and cursing “kids these days.” I don’t buy into the idea that technology is rotting our brains. However, there still exists the reality that kids, by nature, have shorter attention span, and they may not always be intrigued by the subject matter. Adaptability has always been key in a classroom, but as technology advances rapidly, the speed of innovation in the classroom must accelerate as well.
Flexibility is also incredibly important when it comes to dealing with kids on a personal and individual level. Different kids need different styles of learning. Kids pay different levels of attention, absorb information in different ways, and comport themselves in different manners. To keep up with this, Mr. Holman has adapted his teaching style for this specific class of 7th graders, teaching this specific lesson in a more direct manner than I was used to from him. While his class, as he told me, is still very focused on independent and creative thinking and projects, as we are approaching the end of the school year, students get more antsy and tend to behave poorly, plus time is a limiting factor with so few days left, so a teacher is forced to adapt to ensure that students are still able to actually understand the content. Holman successfully integrates a more direct style into his unconventional classroom to meet the needs of his students.
After hearing Mr. Holman teach the same lesson to 5 classes, I had the opportunity to address the class myself with his help. We team-taught the lesson, with him filling in the blanks where I missed things or taught in a way that wasn’t easy to understand. I found that I struggled with adapting to my own audience, referencing a few concepts they haven’t learned and forgetting to stop to make sure they understood, because I often assumed they just did because I said it.
In summary, observing and teaching Mr. Holman’s class today has given me insight into how technology influences a classroom in positive and negative ways, and how, as a future teacher, I must be willing and able to adapt to the needs of my students and the constant innovation that defines the 21st century.