Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blog Assignment 5

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? -Scott McLeod
        Scott McLeod's blog post, Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?, makes parents and teachers question education. This post is short and sarcastic, yet powerful. He mentions it is pointless to teach children to type because pen and paper are not going anywhere. It talks about how technology is evil and dangerous.
Brown Sign says No Technology, Technology is spelled wrong
        Sadly, many people still believe that technology is awful and will hurt our future generations. I will admit that just a few weeks ago I partly agreed with these people. I kept thinking how children being on the internet is dangerous. I have seen the "Craigslist Killer" and other Lifetime movies; they don't end well when people talk to strangers online. However, in just the past few weeks I have seen how powerful technology can be in the classroom. A computer is not just for stalking people on Facebook. Children can podcast, make videos, connect with other students across the world, and do research on anything they wish. Of course I still believe there is a chance a child can be harmed from going to the wrong website, but I believe it is our job, as teachers and parents, to show our future generation the perks of technology and the different ways to learn. I hope whoever reads McLeod's post will see that we need to stop making our children scared of these computers and show them the positive possibilities of these machines.
        After doing some research on Scott McLeod, I learned that he is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky and the Founding Director of the UCEA Center of the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education. CASTLE is the only academic center in the United States that is devoted to the needs of school administrators when it comes to technology. McLeod was also the co-creator of the video, Did You Know?, which I watched and discussed in a previous blog post.

iSchool Initiative-Travis Allen
       Travis Allen was a high school senior when he made a video about the iSchool. This video showed how we could change the future of technology in the classroom. My first thought when viewing this was, "Wow, it is sad when the students are begging for change in their education." Then I thought about all the reasons why they want it to change. We, the teachers and education system, are just like Mr. Winkle (see Blog Assignment 2). Things are changing, but nobody is "comfortable" with changing how the classroom runs. I admit, when watching about the iSchool, I was terrified. All these negative thoughts ran in my head. "That won't work. The kids will be on there playing. What about children that cannot afford this." Travis Allen must have known there would people doubting this because he made sure to answer all of my doubts. Websites that are not educational would be blocked and the iSchool would only cost about $150, which is a lot cheaper than what they spend today.
        When he was naming all the different applications that could be used, I mostly enjoyed the US Presidents one. To this day I cannot tell you what certain presidents look like. My teachers did not have room in their classrooms to hang pictures of all the presidents we have ever had. With this new application, students will be able to see pictures of former presidents while learning about them; they will be able to put a face to the name. I also liked how it has math formulas and a graphing calculator. Not all students can afford a graphing calculator so this is a great option. Another amazing feature is that the iSchool can store lectures and send the lectures and notes to other students. This is a great way to keep in touch with sick students. It has a section that has all the due dates and parents are able to see what their child is doing in school.
        The only thing I am not sold on when it comes to the iSchool is the applications where students can take notes. I have always personally learned better by writing out notes with my hand. Typing just does not seem to work as much as writing. Of course, all students learn differently, but I hope students will have a choice when it comes to taking class notes. If I actually think about why I do better with hand-writing my notes, it is probably because I did not have this kind of technology when I was in school. Hand-writing notes has been the way I have learned for years. So I suppose if we start this iSchool program, children will probably become immune to learning by typing.
Disney's Belle reading a book
        I also have trouble with the books and text books being only on a small machine. Since I am an English Education major maybe I am a little old fashion when it comes to books. Nothing can beat the smell of an old book. Last time I tried to read online, I strained my eye to the point where it was red all over. Again though, this is probably because my generation did not learn with technology. Overall, I think this is a great program just as long as students have choices. It can help the environment, help teachers and parents become involved, save money in the schools, and make learning fun for students.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
        Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir video is a YouTube video recommended by a former EDM 310 student, Jennifer Chamber. This video showed how amazing technology can be. It is 185 different people singing the same song. However, they have never met each other face to face because all their singing is done through the internet. These people are from 12 different countries and have produced 243 tracks. This made me think of all the people in the world who always say, "We need to come together and work together since we all live on the same planet." I wonder how those people feel about this video. The world is finally coming together and can work together through technology.
I always thought it was neat on how the new version of the game show 1 VS 100 works.
Screen picture of the game 1 VS 100
There are 100 people on the screen answering questions; however, these people are all on webcam communicating with the contestant. These people are all from the United States though. This choir was amazing because it was people from all over the planet.
      Making beautiful music together with people from 12 different countries is only one possibility of technology. Students can communicate with other students from across the world through blogging and other forms. They will learn more about other cultures and how the world works in other places. I hope many people see this video so they can agree that this is just the beginning of the world coming together.

Teaching in the 21st Century-Kevin Roberts
3 Snakes on Google researching snake        In Kevin Roberts' video, Teaching in the 21st Century, he makes future teachers question ways of teaching in today's world. He talks about how teachers are no longer "the main source of knowledge, we are the filter." Many may not agree with this, but people need to think about where students mainly learn. Even I do not think I could have survived my college years without Google or the internet. I have had teachers use words that I do not know the definition of. Instead of bring my thick Webster Dictionary every day and causing back problems, I write the word down and get on Google after class to research it. Google has taught me more than many of my teachers have. Roberts makes a point that every student can use Google, but nobody teaches the student how to use it correctly and find important information. These are things teachers should also be teaching. After all, Roberts makes the point on where do we really expect our students to learn about plagiarism, copyright, and other information. We do not have time to teach our students what everything means in great detail. We need to teach them how to research what they do not know.
        "What does creation mean today?" That is another question Roberts had me rethink. If I ask my students to create a project, a poster board won't cut it anymore. In fact, a poster board would be seen as "lazy" in today's classrooms. Students have to bring out their creativity; one of the best ways to let them explore their creative side is through technology. Each student could come up with 20 different ways to do a project. Since I will be teaching literature, I will be expecting my students to do projects based on books and readings. Making a blog for a fictional character, creating a website about a book, and doing research on an author are only three ways out of many for students to be creative and learn more.
      Roberts' video made me rethink on how to teach. Teaching in the 21st century is about helping and showing our students different ways to learn and do research.We are the filter, not the source.


  1. Kathleen,

    I am glad you picked up on the satire of Scott McLeod's blog post! I saw that you mentioned how you would rather take written notes instead of typing. Back when I was a student in EDM 310 and was doing this assignment, Scott McLeod's blog post and Travis Allen's iSchool Initiative concerned me, in a way, because the thought of no more physical writing is a little scary to me. Do you think there will come a point in time in which we no longer use pens and pencils at all? How do you feel about this?

    Your blog post was very interesting. I really enjoyed reading about your ideas for your future
    literature class that combine using technology!

    Oh and by the way, great job on the links and pictures! Keep up the great work.

  2. McLeod: You got the sarcasm. Many students didn't and interpreted McLeod's post literally.

    Read my post I'm Scared and leave me a comment.

  3. Elizabeth,
    Thank you for your comment! I am not quite sure how I feel about letting go of pens and pencils forever. Yes, it would be great for the planet, but I am just old fashion. If I need to write a short memo it is so much easier to pull out a pen and write down the memo. I might not always have a computer or a phone by my side.
    Plus, I have always been odd and enjoyed comparing people's handwriting. Handwriting can be sort of an art to some people.