My class have one lesson a week as a timetabled computer lesson. Last term our ICT teacher spent the final three weeks teaching them what I think is one of the most important lessons they can learn. Not to trust ones teacher! Or to put it a better way, do not believe everything you read.
You see my class spent three weeks researching and creating a class wiki of amazing facts about The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. I first learned about this amazing creature last year when I was lucky enough to listen to Alan November at ACEC10 and I blogged about that here. When Alan first talked about the important lessons one could learn from hoax websites such as The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, I was interested but thought, Oh sure, no-one will believe that, I mean imagine it, an octopus that lives in tree. Come on!
Yet my class did, my class of ten and eleven year olds spent three 52 minute lessons, all 26 of them reading the website, carefully collecting facts and diligently creating a wiki. They even watched some of the You Tube videos about the octopus and not one of them asked why or how or could it be true. When we finally gave in a told them the truth, as it was the end of term and we really had no more time, their response was one of amazment.
“What not true, how could you do this to us?” said one
“I even told my mum and she thought it could not be true but I said it was because Mrs Miller said so” said another
Then gradually they all started to admit, how they knew all along, or they hadn’t thought it was true at all!
“Not me, I knew it was not real” said one
” I never really believed it” said another
So was it the power of the teacher or the power of the group? Believing me or trusting me? Or believing the group and trusting the group? Which ever it was it certainly gave me a shock to realise just how little they still are, just how trusting they still are and just how much protecting they still need.
Hopefully they too will remember the lesson of The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus and realise that not everything ones reads is true.