Thursday, September 10, 2009

President Obama's Contradictory Speech

First, let me start by saying that I am thankful for a president that is willing to talk to school children.

His speech on Tuesday was good but it could have been so much better. Ira Socol posted his thoughts on the SpedEdChange blog. I agree with much of what he wrote.

For me, there are two things that immediately stood out in my mind. First, President Obama said that Michael Jordan, the world's most famous basketball player failed thousands of times. I've heard this failure speech before. It's a good comparison. However, just minutes before this example he told the students something contradictory. He told students that they shouldn't rely on professional sports as a career. He said that students probably wouldn't make it that way. It's not a good idea to use an example from something you just told them not to rely on.

The other thing that stood out in my mind is that Mr. Obama stated the face of communication has changed and education would allow students to be the ones who are changing that communication again. Students could be the ones who create the next Facebook or Twitter.

If the face of communication has changed, why can't I teach with Twitter? How come Facebook and My Space are blocked? If this is how people are communicating, why can't we communicate like that in our classroom? I'll teach my students responsible use and how to use the communication effectively.

The president did tell students to keep trying. So important for everything in life. It would have been nice if he would have told students that he is recommending unblocking web communication tools that the world is using, professional development for the teachers to be effective and instruction on how to use them in the classroom.

I'm sharing this post with my students as a model of a writing example. I'm challenging them. And just so they know, we will use online, Web 2.0 technologies in our classroom, just not Facebook or Twitter, yet.

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