Sunday, November 21, 2010

Additional Assignment 5

Tom Johnson's Adventures in Pencil Integration
Our assignment: Read 4 [predetermined posts] and summarize the main ideas/beliefs.
     The first post I read:            Just Teach Them to Solve for X
  In this post, I found that Tom Johnson's primary concern was the use of metaphors. While using a metaphor, he explains the necessity of metaphors. He uses what may or may not be a personal experience of using metaphors to teach math. He argues that students need to know how variables work and be able to apply them to every day life. When I think a little deeper into the matter, metaphors are applied to every day life, and it is also argued, metaphorically, that people need to know how metaphors work.         Sketchy Portraits: 8th Grade Identity and Pencils
 In this post, I was unsure of the meaning of this post. We read one post earlier this semester in which Tom Johnson referred to pencils to metaphorically to represent computers. Then the post mentioned above, talks about metaphors. That is all great and all but this particular post mentions the ink of pen and the graphite of a pencil. Hmm, that poses a serious problem of confusion for me. Maybe it isn't primarily focused on the medium, but rather what the medium portrays. It isn't what we see the medium create, but rather what the meaning of it is. Eighth graders are in a period of confusion, looking for any means to hold on to their childhood, like Johnson suggests, yet they thrive for independence. Mediums are the same way. Pens are compared to pencils, as if there is no permanence, yet computers create something that is just as easily changed. So if we are moving towards a means of permanence, we are still leaning on the uncertainty and temporariness of yesterday's mediums.          He Just Likes the Class for the Pencils  Students need to know that someone is there to listen and actually cares. This relationship needs to be developed rather than assumed. I approve of Johnson's approach to creating such a relationship and think that more teachers should take the time to realize his approach. Students don't necessarily enjoy a class due to the computers. I really think that students care more about the relationship they build with their teachers.                                        The Medium Shapes the Learning
This was probably my favorite post that we read by Johnson. I was very moved that Johnson isn't opposed to incorporating new tools in education but rather he prefers to use ones that reshape learning. I think on a daily basis teachers should be thinking of new ways to reshape the teaching process, but not losing focus on education. Johnson is a very talented writer, and he makes any reader of his writings think deeper than they expect.

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