The guest professor in my large class of 200 journalism students at Michigan State University was just hitting his stride when suddenly every single student plunged to the ground as though looking for a dropped pencil. Stunned, the speaker continued his talk. About 15 minutes laterthe students leapt to their feet and applauded furiously! Shattered, he began to realize that something he was saying, some word, was igniting this explosive response from the students.
At the time I was on a flight to Denver and the speaker was doing me a favor taking over my class. As the plane was about to land I got a text message from him (yes, I had my phone illegally turned on) that simply said, "You're dead!"
He was right to blame me ... and Twitter.
Now, I wouldn't advise doing this to just any old professor. This was a good friend of mine and I knew he would appreciate a Gude joke. The day before class I had tweeted my students a couple of times encouraging them to commit these outrageous acts whenever my friend spoke a certain word.
Now why would I do such a mean thing? Usually, when a class has a substitute teacher, students just ditch it. Or if they do come to class, they ignore the speaker and spend their time on Facebook. But this little joke caused them to not only attend class (who wouldn't want to miss the fun?) but also to listen intently to every single word the speaker said. Mission accomplished: class was packed and they did well on the quiz I gave later on the material.
Jason Critchlow, 14, l. and Raiden McLean, 14, film documentary at the Willoughby Senior Center in Fort Greene.
Fort Greene resident C-Allah Coombs leaned back in his chair and stared deep into the camera as he talked about his worst day on the Fort Hamilton High School basketball team. "It wasn't good. Dean Meminger scored 50 points on me,” said Coombs. “And he wasn't even a good shooter - just a good defender." Coombs, 63, recounted his front row seat to the Rice High School prodigy and former New York Knicks’s scoring barrage as part of a filmmaking program for 12 students from the Urban Assembly Academy of Arts and Letters are profiling a group of Fort Greene seniors and turning their stories into two-minute documentaries.
"President Obama has a goal that 100 percent of students should be college or career ready, and in the next decade, most jobs will require at least some post-high school education. The opportunities for high school graduates are declining and generally offer lower earning potential. But are we educating students with the right kind of post-secondary education to meet the demands of the workforce of the future?"
It's not enough to take a traditional K-12 classroom and fill it with technology. The smart classroom requires a more methodic approach that factors in the design of the basic shell, the teacher's space, and the students' independent and collaborative work areas.