Sunday, March 2, 2008

Wooden Nickelz

Back in college I worked as a scorekeeper for an adult softball league. In sunny Southern California, this is a year round job. We used Toshiba laptops with a program for score keeping baseball. It would keep all stats from defense to batting averages. At the end of the game we would distribute game stats we printed on triplicate paper using a dot matrix printer. (I think I just dated myself :-) Well either way, this was my introduction to technology. I spent countless hours over a few years dealing with the day to day use of these tech tools. I did all the trouble shooting you can think of. Every once in a while a player did not agree with a stat or a decision I made regarding an error that was given or how I scored a hit versus a double. They would come up to me after the game to convince me to change the stat. They would use every excuse in the book and they usually went back empty handed. I always remembered what my boss would tell us; "Don't take any wooden nickels".

Now a few years later, or more. I have kept this as my philosophy. As I go through life and all the deals it offers me, I remember to be careful to sort the real nickels from the wooden nickelz. So comes along educational technology and Web 2.0 tools for educators. There are a lot of folks out there that are advocates for our students and then there are a few wooden nickels. So join me on my journey as I (a third grade teacher) try to sort all this out.


Nancy Pratt said...

Wooden Nickelz. I love that perspective. In education I find lots of real nickelz, and, yup, some wooden ones too. What a great way to think of it.

It is hard to sort all out because when you have a passion for the student learning, and all of the wonderful tools there are to engage the students in that learning process, you want things to remain as authentic as possible. The last thing we want is for those "wooden nickelz" to get in the way of our progress forward. What I have learned, though, is gaining the perspectives from all sides can be valuable for everybody involved. Students gain from a wide variety of strategies. I gain from alternate points of view. At times those keep me grounded, being a very passionate 21st century teacher myself. It is good to at least know what I'm up against!

Great story! Thanks so much.

m said...

I taught third grade for five years. I miss it sometimes. I work in a district office now. I feel removed from what's going on in the trenches so I'll look forward to reading your blog. Best wishes. Marsha in Florida