Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ben Glenn - The Chalk Guy

Today I had the opportunity to see Ben Glenn "The Chalk Guy" present at our school Faith Lutheran Jr/Sr High School. Ben's focus for his presentation was teaching students with ADD, and how we as educators can inspire and uplift these individuals. His ideas for helping ADD students in the classroom would also benefit all students in the classroom. Ben said that when most people walk from A to B they are so caught up in their agenda that they miss everything in between. When a student with ADD walks from A to B they notice everything in between and are drawn to the most interesting thing there. It is not A and B that are the important things, but the journey from A to B where the real learning occurs.

Marc Prensky makes the statement in his presentations "ENGAGE me or ENRAGE me". In the classroom students are going to be drawn to whatever is the most interesting in the classroom. This does not just apply to ADD students, but to all students. In most cases this is not the teacher. In order to engage students, teachers need to be creative, and step outside the box. As teachers we need to provide our digital natives with activities that truly engage them. What engages these digital natives: video games, iPods, facebook, and text messaging.

Will Richardson makes the analogy that students and teachers methods of communication used to run parallel, but now our students are veering off of that path and are showing no signs of coming back. So as teachers we need to follow them and use tools in our classroom that truly engages them and emphasizes the journey from A to B. We should be seeing more use of video production, podcasts, blogs, and chat rooms to connect our students to a real audience. Nothing is more engaging than having an expert at the CDC discuss a book about viruses, or the author of a book responding to a blog posting that a student wrote about that book. We as teachers are no longer the experts, but we have the power through technology to engage the students in collaborative activities and connect them to the real world.

Ben Glenn Photograph courtesy of (used with permission)

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