Let Me Google That for You

Wow. What a site. It's simple, yet has so many implications. Here is a sample.

Let me google that for you is a site I saw for the first time today, and it has floored me.

This is for all those people that find it more convenient to bother you with their question rather than google it for themselves.
What a profound statement. How many times have you been approached with a question that is so easily answered? If can be quite frustrating. Yet, at the same time, it opens up so many questions in the field of education.

If a teacher has a question, can they not take the time to do a little work first before seeking outside help? I don't know how many times I just typed their question in Google to get the answer for them. Think about it: As a teacher, I'm trying to get my students to realize they can find the answer without relying on me as their teacher, as I won't always be there for them. They need the skill and confidence to be able to know where and how to find answers, be it through Google, looking in books, or trying out a process and realizing patterns. If a student asks me a question that simple, I don't give them the answer. I give them a means of finding the answer.

This site also gets me thinking about tests and quizzes. If I end up asking a question that can be Googled and doesn't provide any higher order thinking, why would I be asking that question? This site has brought that question to mind again, and it's something that really should be shared with teachers. The question is, how do you approach this (possibly touchy) subject? At least in my district, we have had CFF training to help move us in that direction, as well as a forward-thinking staff.


Cell Phone Exploration: Day 1

So, I began my foray into utilizing cell phones in my classroom. I am starting out with my Advanced Algebra classes. So far, I am only utilizing Poll Everywhere to gather quick responses to short questions, almost as you would with a CPS (but a lot cheaper). Neither myself or my district had to purchase the CPS, as we use either the cell phones students already have or the computers we received through the CFF grant. This allowed for 100% participation, regardless of whether a student has a cell phone or not.

I first asked a review question from the previous day, hoping to see the correct answer. I set up a multiple choice question with four possible answers, and I had all but one student in the two classes choose the correct answer, but I believe that was due to being unfamiliar with the process. It was good to know that I got through to them, and you are not always able to know that until it's too late. It is so nice to be able to receive this feedback as a teacher, as I was then ready to move on to the next topic.

Right now I'm working on a unit dealing with solving systems of equations. We covered the substitution method today. We worked on two problems together as a class, then I set them loose on a third example to do on their own. When they were done, they were to submit their answer as a text answer. Most of the students did the work correctly, except for one step, where they ended up losing a possible solution due to making a very common error. I was somewhat expecting that, which was a great thing that allowed me to review the concept. Had I gone through this problem at the board, I know I would have lost most of the class. By allowing them to make the mistake and then going back over where the mistake was made, we were able to deal with an error that comes around very often, and I had my students' attention when we covered it. The other students that made a different error also were able to determine where their mistake was made, as well.

I think for now, I will continue using the polling option with my classes to see how they further react to our use of cell phones in this capacity. They seemed quite receptive for now, but I will have to continue to grow in my use of this mobile technology if I am going to make a success out of this experiment.

On another cell phone note, I was speaking with my buddy Chris at a retirement dinner last night, and he was telling me how he was using coupons through his iPhone. How interesting. He had been doing it for quite some time, until the other day he attempted to use a coupon at a place of business that he had done so before, and he was told that they needed a paper copy of the coupon. It was no longer good enough to just scan the bar code from the iPhone. How 20th Century. Could you imagine if businesses actually embraced this idea? They could have coupons posted on their sites, and by accessing these coupons, they would be building web traffic, which would help with their advertising revenue on their site. It could be a win-win for everyone involved! This could be something to keep an eye on in the future.