â€œStudents of almost every age are far ahead of their teachers in computer literacy,â€ said Mortimer B. Zuckerman in the October 10, 2005 editorial â€œClassroom Revolution.â€
I think thatâ€™s an overstatement. Of course, I could be the exception.
My sons are much better than I am in computer literacy, or so I think. We all three use our computers for hours. They post to message boards. I blog. But it may be that they know as much as I do and that seems like more because theyâ€™re 13 and 14.
But last year in my college classroom I didnâ€™t have a single student who knew what a blog was. And Iâ€™d been blogging for a year and a half at that point. So I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s â€œfar ahead.â€ This year I had eight students out of fifty who knew what a blog was. So Iâ€™m still ahead. They could have blogs; I donâ€™t know.
But how to integrate the computer into the classroom? Thatâ€™s the real point of the editorial.
I think it would be easier to do if I were assured of having daily classroom access to computers over more than a single semester. I have only taught one class in which we had daily access. The first time through you donâ€™t use anything well. Not even a textbook. Or at least I donâ€™t. But Iâ€™ve never been able to develop that, because Iâ€™ve never had more than one opportunity.
I use the computer in homeschooling.
I send the boys their syllabi. They send me the answers to their questions. I have E look up SAT vocab online and use it as his vocab lessons. E and M both use the internet for history timelines and research projects. I am slowly using more computer. M does his essay writing for his blog. He is allowed to pick the topic but must write a certain number of paragraphs. E uses his for research. Heâ€™s having to write his first research paper for me over chemistry; heâ€™ll get credit in science as well.
But if I didnâ€™t know computers, I wouldnâ€™t be able to work with them on computers. So I do think itâ€™s a big help. But perhaps more teachers are literate than Zuckerman thinks.