Trinitas Blog

The Downside of Internet Based Instruction, Part II

Posted by Ron Gilley on Apr 27, 2020 9:58:34 AM

As COVID19 school closures continue, Florida is being held up to the nation as an example of how well internet based instruction can be done. Still, in almost daily briefings I receive about Florida’s schools, administrators and teachers are dealing with problems ranging from poor connectivity to students simply not showing up for online class. To say teachers, parents, and students everywhere are just trying to make the best of a nearly impossible situation would be the epitome of understatement.

Last week I decided to write about the downside of internet based instruction in an attempt to offer some balance to the idea that online school is the next best thing to being there. I am convinced it is not. Still, the internet does offer schools another tool to overcome the new hurdles we are all facing. In full disclosure, even since I posted last week, Trinitas has increased its online instruction for 9th – 12th grades. Most classes are now offering the option of meeting at least once a week online for some face-to-virtual-face time with instructors. Technology offers us a tool, and we are using it sparingly, cautiously. I suggested last week that the carryover from using the internet for entertainment will taint its use as a tool. Three detrimental effects particularly concern me as an administrator and teacher: passivity, shortened attention span, and diminished imagination.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Technology, True Education

The Downside of Internet-Based Instruction

Posted by Ron Gilley on Apr 20, 2020 11:56:20 AM

It became clear in mid-March that most of the nation’s schools would have to close for weeks that could turn into months. There ensued then a mad rush to get electronic devices into the hands of students. The nation’s school districts spent millions of dollars in the effort, and probably billions once the final tallies come in. Hand wringing over lack of internet access for rural and low income students quickly followed. When all was said and done, however, many of the nation’s students were engaged in some kind of internet-based learning by the first week of April.

And for what? One Florida school district set the goal of having students complete “at least one assignment each day.” I am acquainted with a freshman and a junior in another Florida school district who spend fewer than two hours each day on their internet-based school work, and a large portion of that time is squandered waiting for completed assignments to upload. Zoombombing has occurred to the horror of teachers and students. With each passing week attendance wains in many Florida school districts, and some teachers refuse to take attendance. Certainly there is no single reason this internet schooling doesn’t seem to be as successful as many had hoped, but I suggest that it can even be detrimental to the habits of good students.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Technology, True Education, Homeschooling

Protect Your Children from Predators

Posted by Ron Gilley on Dec 16, 2019 12:38:57 PM

Christmastime is nearly upon us. Many parents are spending these last few shopping days searching for gifts for their children. Electronic games will be on most children’s Christmas lists. This age is such an exciting one when it comes to technology and the way it has advanced games, making them more life-like and realistic. Communication within games, online games to be specific, seems like one of the most significant advancements of all because it allows us to play in community with others. A down-side to the advancement in gaming communication, though, is that one may not always know with whom he or she is playing and communicating.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Technology, Parenting

The Unfulfilled Promise of Technology in Education

Posted by Ron Gilley on Oct 21, 2019 12:00:00 PM

Parents who send their children to classical schools often have to defend that decision to their siblings, their friends, and even their own parents. The conversations can be tense, and especially so if everyone involved received a free public education. It isn’t as though your friends and relations know a lot about education; it is more likely their opinions have been informed by public debate, federal initiatives, and the latest trends. If the parents defending classical are sacrificing financially to afford the education, they often find themselves doubly on the defense. Points of debate include uniforms, classroom rigor, Latin, and always, always classical education’s lack of emphasis on STEM.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Technology, Classical Education

Time is Money: Why Your Kid Can’t Put His Phone Down

Posted by Ron Gilley on Dec 3, 2018 8:50:12 AM

I used this space last week to write about the very real concern of our children isolating themselves by spending too much time on their smartphones. Studies show that pre-teens and teens are spending six to nine hours a day consuming media, mostly on their phones. Studies also show that those same pre-teens and teens are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and suicide than those who do not isolate themselves with their smartphones. We know these things if for no other reason than because I’ve been harping on them for weeks now! But has anyone seen studies on why our teens are giving their smartphones so much attention and thereby isolating themselves from humanity? I know there is more than one reason, but I want to suggest that at least one reason is the creators of social media apps planned it that way from the beginning.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Technology, Parenting, Smart Phones

More Fun with Phones

Posted by Ron Gilley on Nov 20, 2018 2:02:38 PM

Last week I wrote in this space about cell phone use among teens. There is a lot to say about it. I can’t get to all of it, but it is a serious enough subject that I will revisit it more than once. There are a great many discouraging trends in our society today, especially among teens, which are beginning to be attributed to addictive smart phone use. Arguably the most concerning trend is the failing mental health of our teenagers.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Technology, Parenting, Smart Phones, Social Issues

The World at Their Fingertips

Posted by Ron Gilley on Nov 13, 2018 8:43:52 AM

Smartphones were turned loose on the world in 2007. How many of us have stopped to think that the average fifth grader has never known a world without smartphones? Today’s seventh graders were only two years old in 2007, so it is doubtful they can access much memory before smartphones. These children have always had the power of the internet and everything it brings with it right at their fingertips on their parents’ phones. Now they have it right in their back pockets because the average American child receives his first smartphone at the ripe old age of 10 (Psychology Today). As you might expect, that little number comes with some baggage.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Technology, Parenting, Video Games, Smart Phones

To Game or Not to Game?

Posted by Ron Gilley on Sep 24, 2018 11:38:04 AM

downloadRecently I had a conversation with a Trinitas Dad who dropped in for a visit. We talked about college and testing and the different personalities of his teenage children, and somewhere along the way he commented in passing that he had never allowed his children to play video games. He wasn’t bragging or even making a point with that statement; it was just necessary information for something else he was telling me, but that was what I wanted to hear about. How had a family with a house full of teenagers avoided video games without mutiny? When our conversation took a breath, I asked him why he had never allowed his children to play video games. I’ll paraphrase his response, which consisted of three main points, and I’ll chime in with some additional information.

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Topics: Blog Posts, Technology, Parenting, Video Games

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Each week we enter what has been called the Great Conversation, writing about issues important to classical education, parenting, and culture from the Trinitas perspective. We invite you to join us as we explore topics as diverse as the smartphone habits of teenagers, kindergarten readiness, and legislation that may affect the future of Christian schools.  

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