My View of Hacking has Changed!

My view of hacking has changed!  I always viewed hacking as something wrong or something illegal. Computer hackers are bad, right?  They steal people’s identities, sometimes their money.

Photo by Adam Thomas
Photo by Adam Thomas

I never took the time to look up the original definition.  Viewing hacking as being innovative, and challenging and changing systems makes me think of myself as a hacker too!  Or maybe, I’d like to view myself as a hacker…  A hacker changes thing, shakes up the monotony, and challenges people to be better!  A hacker is a problem solver, not a whiner.

Logan LaPlante  said “once you are motivated to do something, you can learn a lot.”  Maybe that doesn’t sound incredibly profound, but helping students get motivated is essential to opening their minds to learning. It’s our job to find innovative and creative ways to teach content.  Is Math important?  Absolutely!  Is there a way we can teach it that helps students “want” to learn it more?  Absolutely!  When teaching multiplying decimals to a group of fifth and sixth graders, many were like “why do we need to know how to do this?”  I tried to think of a real-world scenario where they would need to utilize that skill.  I decided shopping was the theme to use.  We create a mini-mall with different vendors who were selling goods.  Some students acted as consumers initially, others acted as vendors.  The consumers had a set amount of money.  The vendors were selling goods of varying prices.  Some goods were taxed and some were not.  At some of the vendors, the students had to simply find out it they had enough money to purchase a certain item, then the vendor had to determine what amount of change they would give the consumer.  At the end of this exercise, students had to be able to figure out what the tax would be on a certain amount, be able to add decimals to find the total cost, be able to determine if they had enough money.  They would then have to be able to subtract decimals, to figure out how much change they would get.  This exercise helped students relate the skill to the real world.

As teachers, our goal is to teach skills, but teaching them in a creative way that is useful is essential to help motivate students to learn.  The challenge I will face this year is how to teach writing and English in a creative way.  Blogging may very well play an important role.  I am looking forward to the challenge!

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