T Sale's Blog

Friday, April 11, 2008

Phoning It In

Just came from my first period English 10 class, and in the spirit of the instantaneous pouring forth of thoughts favored by the modern world, I thought I’d share something. On many Fridays, for our warm up, I give the class what I call a poetry song. Today the song was Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want,” which I like to use because its ambiguity usually sparks some discussion. Today the class stared at the lyrics mystified for a long time. Nothing. I finally asked, what sort of song is this – is it about politics? Relationships? Sports? A couple of brave souls ventured guesses: yes, it’s about a relationship. Maybe it’s about God. A brief discussion, then more silence. I asked, How could we figure this out? Their answer: Google. Meanwhile, I had a Macbeth assignment for them to work on, so I said, Maybe we can google this later in the class.

And then, from the back of the room came the voice of Steve saying, “I already have.”

Steve had fired up his iPhone or equivalent and searched for the song. He said he only found a couple of comments, and they just seemed to be someone’s opinion, not a definitive answer (such as, say, the band itself revealing what they really meant).

On the way back to the English office, several thoughts populated my mind:
Good thing I didn’t see Steve fiddling with his phone and take it away before he could contribute to class.
I read in one of Howard Gardner’s books about multiple intelligences that he thought the computers and other electronic devices we have access to should be included in our measure of intelligence.
Years ago, a former AHS English teacher found out one of her students had computer software that would actually check his spelling and grammar, and she threw a fit because it was unfair that he had such an advantage over the other students; when he wrote in class his writing was poor to mediocre, but when he wrote at home it was good.
Good for Steve for recognizing right away that the source he found wasn’t necessarily authoritative.
By the time we figure out how to afford laptops in every classroom, all our students may very well have acquired phones with Internet access.
Outside the classroom, students are used to finding answers to what they want to know right now (the operative phrase being “what they want to know”). It must really frustrate them when, in the classroom, we constantly delay satisfaction.
The only Google-proof questions seem to be those that require some sort of personal response.
Karl would be proud: Steve is a staunch Apple guy.

I leave the conclusions to you.

My fastest blog post ever.


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