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Google Earth Lessons Blog » Instinct or Standards?

Google Earth Lessons Blog

An Educational Resource for Teachers

Instinct or Standards?

Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 2:52 am on Friday, May 26, 2006

Well, the summer is here. School ended yesterday for us and that means a couple of months for doing other stuff. Saturday my wife and I head off to Europe for a couple weeks and I will tote along the laptop and the new GPS unit, so hopefully I can get some work done and have fun at the same time!

The big thing I will be doing on the rainy days is working on the site and trying to develop some good lessons to use with the kids for next year, which brings me to the quandary that has been troubling me for the last couple of weeks.

As I develop the site I think of more and more things to do, but I want to create lessons too, not just manage and update the site or crank out tutorials about how to create course content using Google Earth. In the process of looking into content that could be addressed with Google Earth I was looking over the ‘Assignment Builder’ section of the United Streaming website (a great resource, but not free) and noticed that the site allowed you to select by State Standards for the different subject areas.

Meanwhile, Mr. Barrett over in the UK published another placemark collection that addresses the standards and curriculum in his home country.

And it all started me wondering…

What is it that students need to know? Why should it make a difference if the kid is growing up in Orlando, Montreal, Singapore or London? Yes, there will be cultural differences based on the history, politics and geographic elements that the child grows up in, but aren’t there universals? And if so, what are they and why hasn’t anyone put them down on paper (at least so I can find them through a Google search :-)

Is teaching simply a process of taking a Standard, presenting it to the student and hoping it sticks? Or is it more than that? Teaching can’t simply be following a recipe or instruction booklet. There are too many variables. The child’s IQ, home life, place in the family, age, developmental level, a zillion things. I had a kid this past year whose mother died. He was angry and obviously lost focus on school. Is there something that says a kid like that has to master M5.33.7.21 above all else? I had another kid, an 11 year old girl who had to be the mother to her three other siblings who attended the school. She didn’t have a dress to wear to the end of the year celebration and had to borrow one from one of the teachers because her family was so poor. How important was SS6.24.12.3 to her existence? If you teach you have your own stories, possibly hundreds or thousands of them.

What is it that they ALL need to know and understand?

As teachers, yes, Standards are important, but there is something even more important. Something that anyone who stays in the field had to have (at least in my opinion) and that is Instinct. An Instinct to know where your kids are, what they need and how to reach them.

Maybe that is why I haven’t developed too many new lessons other than technical stuff these past couple of months. Maybe when I start looking at the world, the whole world, like I see it with Google Earth, I lose the instinct because the stories, the Standards, the needs are so disparate that they just don’t fit in my head.

Maybe we need Global Standards, maybe we need Global Instincts.

Maybe we need summer vacation.

David

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