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Wan2tlk About Poetry?

I thought I’d tag this on to my last blog post about the cultural divide between so called “digital natives”(our current generation of students) and the digital immigrants (their teachers). Many educators don’t necessarily accept the idea that in the so called 21st Century Classroom where all technology, even which previously considered taboo should be should be incorporated into the curriculum.

That brings us to cell phones in the classroom and a story reported in the Times Herald Record. A New York School principal challenged his 6th grade reading and social studies teacher to find ways to use text messaging with a cell phone to teach poetry. The results were surprising. Kids who used their cell phones to extrapolate the main points of each stanza managed to answer correctly, 80 percent of the questions about the poem on a state test. Students in the same class who were presented the material the traditional way – reading, reciting and discussing – answered only 40 percent of the State test questions correctly.

What should we be thinking? Well, the first thing that popped into my head was that maybe cell phones will become like pencils… something students are expected to bring to class themselves. It might help alleviate some of the budget issues related to a school acquiring projector, whiteboard and computer technology for the classroom. But more than this, I hope that this test will be repeated in classrooms all over the country so that data can be shared and real conclusions drawn. I applaud the effort and the open minds that allowed such an experiment to be conducted in the name of 21st Century Skills acquisition.

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