Week 11 Reflection

I am not sure why it was so difficult for me to put into words how I feel about the need for teachers to remain current in their understanding of the world around them and how that impacts the students they teach…
After thinking long and hard, what I finally decided it comes down to is learning how to sort out the relevant information and get rid of what is no longer necessary. In doing this, we are letting go of many things that have value to us. We might have invested a lot of time, or money, or let’s face it, blood, sweat, and tears into whatever we are now being asked to let go of and are going to need to reinvest the same type of equity into what is on the horizon. This is tiring. And sometimes it can make the whole learning process seem irrelevant. A teacher might ask herself, “Why did I bother learning about video disk players (HELLO big DVDs of the 1980s!) when they are no longer used. If I learn about another new piece of equipment, it, too, will soon be replaced with something else, so we just won’t watch videos in this class.” While this is a bit of an over-exaggeration, I challenge each of you to think of just one thing in your classroom, be it an activity or wall art or websites that you use, that you have held on to for longer than the expiration date advises because 1) it is something that you (not your current students) put a lot of effort into, and 2) you don’t have the energy to figure out its contemporary replacement.
Teaching is a tough job. It goes home with us at night and keeps us company on the weekends. Often, it takes more than it gives. But in that process of giving, we need to remember that we aren’t giving to ourselves, but to the future. Our future workforce is in our classrooms now, and they will be able to make a better future for all of us if we do our part for them.
This week, I wrote the following on Sara’s blog:

I, too, found that Palmer’s Edutopia article was a great resource for putting out there what we, as educators, need to do to stay current and relevant for our students. Sometimes a succinct list of characteristics can help a person focus on what needs to get done without feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.

I, too, want to do some coding with my 5th graders. There is a major shortage of computers at our school, so I am considering soliciting the community for donations. I read a great web article about a man who put together an entire computer lab for free by collecting computers bound for the landfill, wiping them clean, and then running them using Linux. While I don’t really know the first thing about how to clean up old computers or use Linux, I’m willing to learn if it helps me get usable computers into my room. It’s worth a try!

And on Anastasia’s blog, I wrote:

I really like what you have written in this post!

“The only places that had internet back then was the school and people of the village had very slow internet, but it wasn’t an inconvenience because no one had ever experienced fast internet.” This quote from your post spoke volumes to me. This is so very true for all the technology that we experience…we don’t know what we are missing if we haven’t experienced it.

When I left rural Alaska after six years of teaching, I was totally unprepared for and completely blown away by the advances that had happened in the technological world. Bulky desktops were now tablets. Cell phones were now the internet. I felt that those six years of isolation from the advancements of technology were like missing out on decades in other fields. I didn’t have a cell phone during that time, mainly because cell coverage had not come to the rural areas of Alaska and I was way too cheap to pay for something I would only use two months out of the year. Also, there was the VHF which was far handier for talking to the whole village!

Our students may be content working within the limitations of the technology we know if they do not know any different. What we really need to ask ourselves is, “Are we preparing them for their future, not our present?”

EDET 677 – Week 11

Essential Question: How have you and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

According to Tsisana Palmer of Edutopia (2015), here are the 15 characteristics of a 21st-century teacher:

  • Learner-Centered Classroom and Personalized Instructions
  • Students as Producers
  • Learn New Technologies
  • Go Global
  • Be Smart and Use Smart Phones
  • Blog
  • Go Digital
  • Collaborate
  • Use Twitter Chat
  • Connect
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Build Your Positive Digital Footprint
  • Code
  • Innovate
  • Keep Learning

The reflective practitioner allows himself to experience surprise, puzzlement, or confusion in a situation which he finds uncertain or unique. He reflects on the phenomenon before him, and on the prior understandings which have been implicit in his behavior. He carries out an experiment which serves to generate both a new understanding of the phenomenon and a change in the situation.

-Donald Schön, philosopher

This quote, taken from a 1983 work published by Schön, perfectly exemplifies the growth mindset teachers need to keep current with the 21st Century. Yes, we will run into things which cause us surprise, puzzlement, or confusion, but if we hope to serve our students in a way which will help them succeed in the world which awaits them, we must “generate…a new understanding…and a change in the situation.”

Continuing education is the first step I have taken in not only keeping current with technology but also looking toward the future. As Martinez and Stager (2013) say, “It is impossible to teach 21st century learners if you have not learned this century (p. 200).” It might be an overused phrase, but I see myself as a lifelong learner. There is a world of knowledge and to think that what I have learned to date will be enough to keep current would be a huge disservice to my students of the future. I would not seek out a physician, a lawyer, an accountant, an auto mechanic, or a appliance repair technician who didn’t feel the need to stay up-to-date on the most recent changes in his or her field and I feel the same about education. We live in a world which is changing at an ever-increasing speed, and as educators, we need to educate ourselves to provide the best learning experiences for our students.

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.

– Henry Ford

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

Another important step I plan to take in my teaching is learning new skills alongside my students. While I might not fully understand coding, I am no longer hesitant to learn as I teach it. Will there be times when a student knows more than I do? I certainly hope so, because this provide me with the opportunity to learn and give the student the chance to shine. Will there be times when we all struggle to figure something out? Absolutely, but these are the best opportunities to demonstrate perseverance. We will all grow more from these struggles than when things go smoothly.

Will it be easy? Will it be comfortable? Will it require little energy? The answer to all of these is, “No,” not just because of the work involved, but also because of the imminent failures that are bound to happen along the way. Will my students learn more because of it? Absolutely.

Resources:

Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Torrance, CA.

Palmer, T. (2015, June 20). 15 characteristics of a 21st-century teacher. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/15-characteristics-21st-century-teacher

Smith, M. K. (2001, 2011). ‘Donald Schön: learning, reflection and change’, the encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved from www.infed.org/thinkers/et-schon.htm.

 

Week 10 Reflection

Like myself, several classmates, including Amy and Gerald, used their district mission statements to help support the reason their schools need a makerspace. A colleague, Cindy Duncan, took this class last summer and wrote about her reasons for needing a makerspace at Keet Gooshi Heen. I couldn’t agree more with Mrs. Duncan that students should not have to wait until the 6th grade to experience the wonder of making! I was fortunate enough to see the collaborative project Mrs. Duncan’s class made for the KGH Project Fair this past school year, and while the project was amazing, the ownership and enthusiasm of the students was even more incredible.

While reading the posts of my classmates, I was struck by how much passion we each seem to have for creating this learning opportunity for our students! As Alaskan educators, we face challenges which others might not think about (accessibility and shipping of supplies is a huge one), but no one has let that dampen their spirits. In fact, we all seem more enthusiastic about making makerspaces a reality for our schools than ever.

This week I posted comments on Sara’s and Aleta’s blogs. On Sara’s, I wrote:

I enjoyed your entire post, but what really hit home was the anecdotal examples of famous scientists. Some of the greatest scientific minds didn’t receive strictly “academic” education, yet might have been better off due to this. I think of my grandfather, born in 1899 to newly immigrated parents, who received a traditional education but also was required by his parents to learn a “trade” at the same time. He was an apprenticed machinist by the time he was 14. He went on to graduate from UC Davis with a degree in mechanical engineering, but used his machining knowledge and skills acquired from the flight club he belonged to in college to become a bush pilot in Alaska in the 1930s. His ability to think outside the box allowed him to survive several crashes in remote Alaska, to build a home in Anchorage from a large bulldozer shipping container, and to fix any broken object that crossed his path. Yes, he was a very intelligent man, but it was his constant curiosity and investigative nature which allowed him to visualize the solutions to his problems.

A makerspace can be the gateway for this type of innovative thinking!

On Aleta’s, I left the following comment:

I love your transitioning levels to get students to be independent users of the makerspace! In fact, I really enjoyed everything about your post: the video clip, the two different makerspaces for your school, and the idea that your students view the world differently than the textbook (absolutely!). I was prepared to write about one or all of these in depth, but then I got to the comments, and those are what truly grabbed my heart.

“Scaffolding seems to make sense to me–and breaking the cycle at the early primary stages.” The cycle of teacher dependence is so detrimental to students actually learning material. Discovery is such an important part of the process, but often educators just “spoon-feed” information as a means to cover all the material or simply because it is easier. Helping students understand their part in the process, their responsibility in being an active part of the learning process, is a very real challenge, especially when working with students use to the system of teacher-led learning.

I started my career as a secondary teacher in rural Alaska. I had never been more frustrated in my life. Each day, as I worked with my students who were barely able to read, who couldn’t write, who didn’t understand math, I wondered to myself, “Where did the system fail these kids?” (One example was the student who had passed prealgebra the previous year with an A by redoing the same eight lessons until she received 90% or better on each of those lesson…except there were 165 lessons to cover in the prealgebra curriculum, 157 of which she never did). I wasn’t ready to jump on the bandwagon of allowing minimal effort for full credit, further perpetuating the cycle, but as a first year teacher, I had no experience and very few resources to draw upon. To make matters worse, I kept hearing over and over, “They are just village kids,” as if to say they were born with different learning abilities than the rest of the kids in the world or they didn’t deserve to be educated at the same level.

This experience is what spurred me to return to the land of student loans to pursue a degree in elementary education. One cannot simply sit on the sidelines and hope for change to happen. I needed to be a part of that change. I needed to experience the difficulty of changing that fixed mindset, from my students, to their parents, to staff members. I taught the youngest students (K-3) and even this group showed resistance to owning their education, but over time and with a lot of hard work from ALL of us, this group of students learned to value their role in learning.

Every child deserves a great education, and the students at your school are lucky to have you!

EDET 677 : Week 10 – Industrial Arts 2.0

Essential Question: Why does Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary need a makerspace?

After reviewing the Sitka School District’s Vision, Mission, and Value Statements (2016), it becomes clear that a makerspace in each of its schools would be an excellent resource in helping students achieve the goals of these statements.
Vision: Educating our children to realize their potential and contribute in a connected global society.
Mission: Foster each child’s maximum growth in academics, social-emotional and physical well-being. Prepare children for their chosen careers, and inspire them to become active, informed community members by providing:
  • Relevant, innovative, and engaging learning opportunities;
  • Clear goals and high expectations;
  • Opportunities for collaboration among students, parents, staff, and community using an active outreach to stakeholders; and,
  • A culture of respect for self and others, and no tolerance for bullying.

Values:

  • Children as the top priority
  • Academic excellence
  • High quality staff
  • Cultural understanding, respect and equity
  • Education as a community responsibility
  • Holistic educational opportunities
  • Preparing children to make effective life choices
  • Community and global citizenship
 Not every student will find success from a textbook. As educators, we are well aware of this. In decades past, many of these students would have found their calling in industrial arts classes, mastering the art of fractions in a woodworking class or learning about physics in a small engine class. As budget cuts have led to the reduction or elimination of these types of class offerings in schools, many of our students are not being given an opportunity to realize their potential or discover their true passion within the walls of our schools. 
Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE magazine and creator of Maker Faire, defines a makerspace as “… [A] space where kids have the opportunity to make – a place where some tools, materials, and enough expertise can get them started.  These places, called makerspaces, share some aspects of the shop class, home economics class, the art studio and science labs.  In effect, a makerspace is a physical mash-up of different places that allows makers and projects to integrate these different kinds of skills (n.d.).” A makerspace is to our youth what home economics and shop classes were to past generations…they are the updated version of industrial arts. And they are important. As Martinez and Stager (2013) note, “The 21st century is going to see the integration of these tools into every college major and career choice. This is a matter of agency and personal empowerment. Engineering and art are interrelated; computer programming is mandatory for biologists, musicians, and historians. We can do our children no better service than to introduce them to the powerful ideas that will shape the rest of their lives.”

Jeremy Sambuca (2015), EdTech Director, innovator, and maker, writes, “The Maker Education Initiative (Maker Ed) is a relatively new initiative to create more opportunities for students to make and, by making, build confidence, foster creativity, and spark interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and learning as a whole. This endeavor takes place in a makerspace, which typically includes modern technologies such as 3D printers and a lasercutter, as well as traditional “Shop” hand and power tools. In this space, you will often see students using the design thinking process to ideate, confront a challenge or question, then prototype (build, test, revise) a solution.” What better way to “foster each child’s maximum growth in academics, social-emotional and physical well-being,” than to provide them with access to the opportunity through a well thought out makerspace in which they can exceed their own expectations in grow in ways that a traditional learning model could never allow.

Dr. Stuart Brown (2010), author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, writes of an experience at Jet Propulsion Labratories. JPL was hiring the top graduates, but some weren’t producing the type of work expected of them. “The JPL managers went back to look at their own retiring engineers and . . . found that in their youth, their older, problem-solving employees had taken apart clocks to see how they worked, or made soapbox derby racers, or built hi-fi stereos, or fixed appliances. The young engineering school graduates who had also done these things, who had played with their hands, were adept at the kinds of problem solving that management sought. Those who hadn’t, generally were not. From that point on, JPL made questions about applicants “youthful projects and play” a standard part of job interviews. Through research the JPL managers discovered that there is a kind of magic in play, (p. 10)”. JPL researched the reasons behind the lack of productivity from their employees, which means the work has been done for us as educators. If elite companies aren’t just looking for brilliance in the form of top grades, but rather a fuller complement of skills which come from hands-on experience, we need to help the work force of tomorrow acquire these skills. A makerspace can provide them with, “relevant, innovative, and engaging learning opportunities.

“Makerspaces are collaborative learning environments where people come together to share materials and learn new skills… makerspaces are not necessarily born out of a specific set of materials or spaces, but rather a mindset of community partnership, collaboration, and creation,” states Christina Jones (2012), a librarian looking to bring making to her community in order to build community and global citizenship through the experience of making. A makerspace in Sitka schools would provide, “opportunities for collaboration among students, parents, staff, and community,” through Maker Days, sharing of information within and across grade levels, and through students working together to find solutions to problems. 

“Schools must embrace future trends and prepare students to be lifelong learners who are creative and innovative, responsible for their own education, confident in using new technological tools, capable of solving complex problems, and able to communicate as global citizens (Sambuca, 2015)”. 

Resources:

Brown, S. (2010, April 6). Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul. Penguin Group. New York, NY.

Dougherty, D. (n.d.). The maker mindset. Retrieved from https://llk.media.mit.edu/courses/readings/maker-mindset.pdf

Jones, C. (2012, May 13). A WAPL recap. The library as incubator project. Retrieved from http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/?p=4594

Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Torrance, CA.

Sambuca, J. (2015, January 20). Makerspaces: Industrial Arts 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.jeremysambuca.nyc/blog/2015/1/20/makerspaces-industrial-arts-20

Sitka School District Statements. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.sitkaschools.org/Page/2557

Week 9 Reflection

Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of helping put together several large science-related exhibition/activity days including 4th Grade Junior BioBlitz (a link to a video from the previous year if you want to check out what BioBlitz is all about), Science Saturday (organizations from the area provide hands-on science lessons for elementary age students), and the 2-5 Project Fair. Each of these events had its own set of challenges, but with enough planning and organization, they all ended up being very successful learning opportunities.

What I think I have found most valuable from reading the blogs of my classmates is that not one of us can do this on our own. Whether we are able to procure volunteers from the community, the help of our fellow teachers, or the assistance of our students, a Maker Day is not a one-man-show and if we really want it to be successful, we will need to explore our options for recruiting help.

This week I posted comments on Josie’s and Anastasia’s blogs. They each brought up ideas which I hadn’t included in my own plan but I could certainly see their merit.

On Josie’s blog, I loved reading about the idea of hosting the Maker Day in an alternate setting. This made me think about the different local places that could enhance the making experience.

Josie,

While I was reading your post, I was transported back to my childhood. We grew up poor but that didn’t stop us from dreaming big! One particularly hot summer, my siblings and I tried to make a pool out of an old outbuilding and some sheet plastic. As it turns out, when there is a big roll of sheet plastic just lying around, the chances are pretty good that your dad got it for free because it was full of holes. Who knew? Although we didn’t get a pool as a result of our efforts, we did learn a thing or two about sourcing materials. Our farm was barely a farm with just a small garden and animals we raised for food, but perhaps there is something about the farmer’s mentality that runs deeper than we know!

I love the idea of a Maker Day in a park. We have a great skate park in Sitka which could serve as an excellent place to test designs with its many ramps and half-pipes. Thanks for thinking outside the box and making me do so as well!

When I read Anastasia’s blog, I was reminded of how I had planned on including student work in the displays. I encouraged her to think beyond just pictures of what students had done and incorporate video demonstrations or reflections which were created by the students themselves (also has the potential to cover lots of different standards).

Anastasia,

As I was reading your blog, I was reminded of something that I meant to put in my post. I like how you included decorating the space with examples of the making that your students are doing. Wouldn’t it be cool to take this one step further and have the students compile video clips of their projects which could be played on a repeating cycle for the audience to view? They could provide a narrative of the steps they took in their making, including examples of where they needed to use growth mindset when they became stuck or didn’t get the results they were hoping for.

EDET 677: Week 9

Essential Question: What would you need to coordinate a “Maker Day” for your school?

Martinez and Stager (2013) state that a Maker Day should send the following message to the community: “Our students learn by doing. We solve problems with modern tools, materials, and techniques. We value creativity and collaboration. Join us!” George Mason (2013) builds on this sentiment when he states, “Skilled workers remain an essential component of our economic well being. Without them, we’re in trouble.” Introducing “making” to our students and showing their families how it can be an integral part of their educational experience is just one of the benefits of a Maker Day.

I think it is fabulous that in my community, teachers at different grade levels are interested in hosting Maker Days, which allows the opportunity to collaborate with one combined event, or host at different sites for different ages levels on the same day or different days. Below, I have compiled a list of tasks which would need to be considered when planning a Maker Day for my school.

Identify the target participants: Sitka has four different groupings of grade levels within its schools. The primary building serves the K-1st population. The intermediate school has 2nd-5th grade. Middle school is the home of the 6th-8th graders. The high schools are 9th-12th. While I will be teaching in the intermediate school, I would love to include students from the primary building as participants to help introduce them to the concepts of making. This means creating different areas of “Making” which are appropriate for a wide range of ages and interests.

Set a time: Picking a time which is accessible to the most students can be a challenge. Holding a Maker Day after school makes sense from the standpoint that students are already in the building, but after a day of regular school many may not be interested in hanging around for several more hours. There are also a host of after school activities which compete with the use of this time slot. A second option would be to host the Maker Day during a teacher work day or inservice day. These are during the week which would allow students to use the community buses. The buses are operated by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, which might be willing to offer free or discounted rides to students head to or from this event (see unaccompanied children under Troubleshooting section). Additionally, any staff helping out with the Maker Day would need to have permission to be excused from the scheduled inservice. This makes the weekend seem like the most manageable of the available options, and, as anyone who has lived in Southeast Alaska knows, there are a lot of cold, dark, wet Saturdays, especially during the months of November, December, January, and February. The problem with the weekends is transportation. Community buses do not operate on weekends, so students without rides who are too young or too far away to walk may be left out. A great benefit to the weekend scheduling would be that more parents would be able to come and enjoy the process of “Making” with their children.

Reserve a space: The building I will be teaching in has two fabulous spaces for creating. There is a central gym and a large multipurpose room. I have used both of these spaces in the past when assisting with Science Saturday (a hands-on science day for elementary students) and the project fair. It is my understanding that these rooms can be reserved for educational use with no fee.

Devise a list of projects: I love a catchy, local theme. I think themes help attract interest and tie ideas together. They also help give me the focus from which I can start building a list of projects. For a fall Maker Day, I love the idea of Migration as a theme. There are so many ways “Migration” can be interpreted to create fun and innovative projects. Here are several, and many more could be added to the list:

  • Paper airplane building and flying (using a fan to simulate varying air currents)
  • Building drawing robots using offset motors
  • Coding to move objects from one location to another
  • Paper circuits and squishy circuits
  • Rockets (marshmallow stomp cannons)
  • Diving “Spudmarine” potatoes

Projects for a Maker Day aimed at the K-5 crowd would need to be varied in complexity, with many quick, fun projects to complete. 

Source materials: Locating obscure materials on an island can be challenging and expensive. For these reasons, I would love to limit the materials used in the projects to items which are easily scavenged from the local recycling center (or better yet, donated by individuals prior to recycling drop-off, eliminating the need for dumpster diving). Cardboard, recycled containers, cast-off copies from the office copiers, cereal boxes, and tin cans could all be used in projects. End cuts from construction framing projects and plumbing jobs could be used as well. Items like duct tape (can’t ever have enough) would need to be purchased or donated.

Troubleshooting:

  • Unaccompanied Students: While a Maker Day runs best when younger students are accompanied by adults, I don’t want to exclude students just because their parents might be working or busy. Both large high schools in town (Sitka High School and Mt. Edgecumbe High School) have active National Honor’s Societies. The members need to accrue a certain number of volunteer hours each year. I think a Maker Day would be an excellent opportunity for many of them to add a few more hours to their volunteer sheets. 
  • Setup and take down: Ask for volunteers! While advertising (see Gettting the Word Out below), mention that many hands make light work. Provide contact information and compile lists of helpers with phone and email contact information. Prior to the event, contact volunteers to thank them and remind them of their duties.

Getting the Word Out: There are many opportunities to promote the Maker Day. They include the local newspaper and radio stations, the school newsletters, flyers in classrooms and in common areas of the school, emailing information to parents, utilizing the school website calendar, and promoting the event on the district Facebook page.

 

Resources:

Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Torrance, CA.

Mason, G. (2013, October 18). Where did all our skilled workers go? The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globedebate/where-did-all-our-skilled-workers-go/ article14909494/

Week 8 Reflection

I loved the essential question for this week: Can we teach more than we know? It made me reflect on all the times in my teaching career when I haven’t known all the answers but have still been able to provide a quality educational experience for my students. I’ve been seriously considering teaching a beginning Chinese language class this year to my 5th graders, and while I don’t speak a word of Standard Mandarin, I am now feeling more empowered than ever to undertake this challenge.

I wrote about my experience teaching band and how I had to learn many things right along with my students. I will freely admit that I wasn’t the best band teacher they could have had because I lack the inherent qualities of an excellent musician (natural rhythm for one – it’s a good thing no one told me I was teaching dance!), but with a little creativity and careful planning my students were still able to experience the joy of playing an instrument together with their peers.

Both Amy and Teresa commented on my post. Teresa shared a similar experience of teaching band and being out of her comfort zone but finding success by using the talents of the students to her benefit. Amy furthered my thinking on the subject by posing the thought that teachers really could do more if they worried less about failing. It is a great concept, and one I hadn’t thought about much: Does our fear of failure hold us back from doing our best job? Yet another thing to ponder!

I read a majority of the blog posts this week and commented on Amy’s and Gerald’s.

On Amy’s blog, I really liked the idea of giving students ownership. I wrote:

“Creating a MakerSpace, where students have a say in how it is run and in what they create, is a way to create ownership and empower the students to be successful citizens with the ability to manage themselves and work collaboratively, which are important skills for their future.”

The way you stated this ability of a MakerSpace to give students ownership is wonderful. It is this ownership with takes the “reins” of their education out of our total control and allows the students to share in that responsibility. Perhaps in a space created specifically with the intent of letting go, those of us (myself included) who are more comfortable in the educational driver’s seat will learn to become better acquainted with the view from the passenger seat…

Gerald touched on several points that I thought were key in the reading. I wrote:

That cartoon is so funny! Usually, when I can’t figure something out I hand it off to my nine-year-old and six-year-old.

I liken teaching in rural Alaska to one of those cooking shows where you are given a bunch of incompatible ingredients and a tight timeline and you hope you can come up with some recipes that work and have a somewhat decent presentation of everything. Whether it is teaching at the high school level where you might be teaching far outside your area of certification and a multitude of different preps each day (I had 11 my first year of teaching, with only one of them being a science class) or at the elementary level where you might have four, five, or six grade levels all in the same room together (I had six grade levels in one village and four in another), there will be plenty of opportunities to teach something you do not know. Bringing in outside resources, such as elders, is extremely helpful when teaching those things that are specific to an area or a region, such as language and traditional ways of life. My students learned how to make traditional tools, traps, hats, artwork, and instruments from elders and other members of the community.

I think the point you brought up about technology not being used in the ways kids use technology was a valid one. As each year marches on and technology changes more and more, the lessons which once counted as technology lessons are no longer applicable. We need to change how and what we teach with the changes in technology if we want our teaching to remain current. Does this mean that we need to take night and summer courses so our knowledge level can remain ahead of that of our students? Not necessarily. This is where learning with and from our students in an ever-changing environment is not only valid, but necessary.