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Going extinct

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As I was enjoying my favorite Sunday morning ritual yesterday it occurred to me that I may be going extinct, as a teacher that is.

I love to read the Sunday paper. Ever since my first post-college apartment it has really made me feel like an adult. I love that it is an unwavering experience in predictability, from the moment it magically arrives at my door to the time I pile it neatly back together with a certain sense of accomplishment. I love its girth, its smudging ink, and its promise of products I never knew I needed.

Many months back I heard a story on NPR regarding the fate of the newspaper, and now it seems that newspapers are their own headlines in "these economic times". One of the radio show's guests commented that young people don't like to read the newspaper, having replaced the need for copious amounts of dingy paper product with the increasingly speedy and customizable search engine. It gave me pause, because other than on Sundays, the first thing I do in the morning is boot up my laptop to check the news and weather.

Everything seems to be irreversibly going paperless, those that work in paper-based industries must take note. So what about teachers? I don't believe I will be replaced by Web 2.0, 3.0 or any other technical incarnation but am I in a paper-based industry? At the end of any given week at school, I estimate that our students have received hundreds of these artifacts - as innocuous as the two-sided worksheet or as positively prehistoric as the overly-photocopied 20-page packet.

I will even admit (in the private musings of this blog) that just today, 4th period, I photocopied an entire week's worth of work. But I'm pretty advanced - I mixed in canary, salmon, and goldenrod with the standard white stock...

Oh boy, I'm in the paper business.

1 Comment

Dear Katie,

Should I say that the paper-bound teacher is indeed already extinct? It is.. but the soul of the teacher insists on living because it believes in learning. If we teachers want to be part of this generation's learning process we indeed need to look at how we teach and how digital natives learn... and make a move towards them, towards technology based learning, towards learning that is in fact differentiated and individualized by the medium...technology!

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