What is Wrong With my Kids? (and a look at SurveyMonkey)

What is Wrong With my Kids?

So I was reading my TeachPaperLess blog today and the author was writing about the response from her kids to a Blog Magazine that they have just started. He said, and I quote, “wow”. He wrote about their excitement and dedication to the project and the enthusiasm they have for sharing their thoughts with others. I have to say, I was a little jealous. We talk a lot about student engagement with technology and I have seen it before, but this year, not so much. So what is wrong with my kids?

The first time I introduced Blogging to my students, they groaned. Anytime I suggest using a technology to support or present a project, most of them choose the traditional way. So, what is it about them? Are they lazy? Has the novelty worn off? Are they technologically stunted from previous years? Are they afraid of learning something new? Maybe they just don’t get as jazzed about techie things as I do. I am feeling a little discouraged right now, can you tell? Is anyone else experiencing this kind of disengagement?

I think I need to explore all of my questions. First, are they lazy? Yes, I would say that they are but I have had very lazy kids that flourish when I ask them to use technology, so that can not be the answer for all of them. It is a lot of work for them to learn a new application and I can see how it can become frustrating when the technology does not work as planned.

Second, has the novelty worn off? My answer is, I don’t think so. Web 2.0 is constantly changing and offering new ideas and options. Sure it takes a lot of time to find and explore them, but they are there. Social media and online gaming are part of their social lives. Maybe we are in a transition where merging what is supposed to be “fun” and what you do in school is uncomfortable and maybe they think they are doing something wrong. At the beginning of the year when we used Facebook to take on the persona of a character from a novel to interact with other characters from other novels, they were astounded that they would be able to use Facebook in school. Maybe in a few years they will be used to it. I think that there are many things that are in a transitional phase in schools right now (i.e direct teaching to inquiry learning) and I just need to be patient. I guess this would lead me to answer my question about being technologically stunted. I have some students who in grade 6 did not “believe” in computers and they never used them. They did not have the standard four half functional iMacs in the back. Maybe that has stunted this group of kids. Well, if that is the case, there is all the more reason for me to push them to integrate technology into their learning.

I think that my answers for these questions lie only in the students themselves. I need to find out how they feel about technology. I think that this is how I will introduce my project. I will survey the kids with SurveyMonkey (hey! It can be my last web 2.0 exploration. How’s that for two birds, one stone) about how they feel about technology in class and then again after to see how they felt about sharing their learning in an online public forum.

(and a look at SurveyMonkey)

Well, that was easy to use. For those of you who are not familiar with this application, it is a free online survey generator. I simply created an account and began creating my survey. There were many different kinds of formats for your questions from multiple choice to short answer and essay. The website offers examples of what each would look like to help you properly format the question. Once complete, you are offered either a link to use in an email inviting others to take your survey or a code to embed in a web page or blog. You can also print a hard copy but doing the survey online allows you to analysis your responses automatically. This is something that I, being mathematically challenged, really appreciate.

I am using this application to gather information from my students but it could also be used by students to gather date for so many different things. They could use it to poll participants on any number of subjects from food preferences to use computer, the SAC could poll the school to see what kind of activities they would like to do in a year etc. etc. the possibilities are endless. In short, this application was simple and fast to use and has limitless possibilities. Highly recommended! Have a look at my survey but please do not complete it as you will skew my results!
Click here to take survey

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3 Comments »

  1. sm45rt Said:

    Got to love teaching- we are constantly questioning if what we are doing is the right thing. I guess that is what keeps us current. I like the idea you have to use survey monkey to do a survey. I was interested in it for a different reason as well, because I am in the middle of a research proposal where I would like to link student engagement to technology use. I am just in the planning stages, so I am looking for all the ideas and help that I can get. Any suggestions? Your survey gave me some ideas and I appreciate that. I hope you will share some of your results as well. How will you use your results?

  2. You’ve raised some interesting questions about student engagement. When I began my Olympic project I was concerned about some of my students. A few really didn’t seem too interested in learning about, following and using web tools to do all of the activities. One day I actually asked them what their preference was for learning: Project Based or Workbooks. One of my students said he would rather work on a paper workbook than be stretched to explore resources outside of the classroom. Once we got into the project it took on a life of its own but at the beginning it was a bit rough. I’ve also had students who would prefer to make a poster rather than create an iMovie or Animoto for a report. I always give choice but wonder about the choice.
    I love the idea of a survey to get a feeling of what they like about using technology in our classroom. Hmmm….might have to play with that idea!

  3. Unfortunately, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “he would rather work on a paper workbook than be stretched to explore resources outside of the classroom”. We have a generation of lazy learners. I hope that with the encouragement of inquiry based learning, we will start to see some critical thinkers and independent learners coming soon!


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