Sunday, February 26, 2012
Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?
Scott McLeod is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He has won many awards for his work with technology, and he wrote the book, What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media. He is widely known for his expertise in the issues of school technology leadership.
In, Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?, he makes great use of sarcasm to convey his point that technology is important. At the very end, if the reader has not caught on, he shocks them by revealing that he teaches all of his students about technology, and he thinks they will have an advantage because of this knowledge. I believe he is right. The "cons" of having children so technologically savvy are definitely outweighed by the pros, and if these children are guided by their parents, teachers, etc. then there are virtually no cons. To make technology useful for children, we need to be familiar with it so we can guide them down the right path.
In The iSchool Initiative and Zeitgeist Young Mind's Entry, Travis Allen argues for the use of more technology in schools. He claims by using an iTouch, education costs can be greatly reduced. There are various apps that the iTouch already has that could replace items used in most schools such as: Email, Chemical Touch, U.S. Constitution, WorldWiki, U.S.A. Presidents, Star Walk, Formulae, Recorder, Scientific Calculator, Graphing Calculator, Notes, Calender, Classics, and iHomework. There would be limited internet on these devices so they will only be used for educational purposes. This would create massive savings, while also helping to save the environment since there will be no waste of paper.
This is definitely an innovative idea. I think there are pros and cons to this idea. I personally like having books and notes that I can physically touch and read, but having all of this conveniently in one place would be amazing. I know that my back has suffered from carrying around backpacks full of massive books that I never even use in class, and I know I am not the only one. In the second video, there was a quote from CNN that said "... Travis Allen started a revolution." He has definitely done just that, and I hope he succeeds because this really is completely integrating technology into the students' lives.
Virtual Choir by Eric Whitacre is truly breath taking. It is amazing how these people never met but created something so beautiful. I have to imagine it took a lot of hard work to make this work, but I think it was worth it. We've been reading, watching, and hearing different ways to use technology in education, but technology can also be used for art like this. I think this is a wonderful use for technology. It reminds me of how the students, from one of the links we were required to look at, took a story and recorded it in pieces and all out of order. Then they were able to piece it back together using technology and make it sound like it was recorded all at once. This video just shows you how people from all over the world can be linked through technology and a love of music.
Teaching in the 21st Century
In Teaching in the 21st Century, Kevin Roberts discusses what it means to teach in the 21st century. It means being the filter of the students' knowledge, rather than the main source. It means teaching skills, rather than facts for them to memorize. It means engaging the students, rather than entertaining them. Basically, it means learning how to integrate technology effectively into the classroom. The children we will one day be teaching will have never known a world without technology. It will consume everything they do so it is our job to help them learn how to use it effectively. We have to be there, knowing what we are doing, to guide them through the process and to use technology to teach them lessons in school as well as about life.
Reading Rockets has a variety of reading resources available, and it is almost an overwhelming amount of information. They offer help on how to teach reading, on how to help students who are struggling, topics for reading, and so much more. The resources for helping struggling students are definitely my favorite. One of the biggest fears for me, and probably most people, is failing to be able to reach a student. This website offers links on why they struggle and how you can target the problem.
They also offer videos and podcasts. They have interviews with authors and experts, and they offer videos from classrooms. I like the videos of the authors because you could watch them before reading their book. I also like that they include various lists of books that are recommended for children. Educators should be able to guide a student to something that they are suited to read, and these lists are definitely a big help.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom by Joe Dale names various benefits of podcasting. The students of today have never lived in a world without technology. They use technology every day, and it consumes their free time. By using podcasts, teachers are expanding their teaching methods, and they are making the student’s learning experience more enjoyable. Also, say a student has to miss class for some reason. They do not have to worry about the information they missed because it will be available for them in a podcast. These podcasts would also be there to help them review for tests. Then there are students’ podcasts. When students make podcasts they are using project based learning. This requires them to actually learn the skills of making a podcast instead of just memorizing facts that are given to them. The students also get a more enriched learning experience when they use podcasts to role play.
Podcasting with First Grade
Podcasting with First Grade is a great way to motivate the students. This article pointed out that even younger students will get something from this experience, and they are especially excited when they get comments from people or teachers around the world. In this example, the first graders read a book as a class and made their podcast like an interview between the two main characters. Even some of the students who were normally shy started to open up and gain confidence. This project was great for the first graders because it helped them with many skills such as: speech, listening, comprehension, and technology. There are so many skills that can be learned through podcasting, even at this young age, that I was unaware of until I read this article.
Listening-Comprehension-Podcasting discusses using podcasting as a tool for learning a foreign language. When learning another language, you have to hear not only the word by itself, but you also need to hear it in context to fully understand it. In this case, they used the podcast to tell the story of Purim. The kids had to write a script, and then piece back together everyone's sentences to form the whole story. This wasn't necessarily about learning to make a podcast, but rather learning a language. The podcast was just a tool to engage the students and enhance their learning experience. This is yet another use of podcasts that I hadn't thought of before.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Technology in Special Education is so inspiring. This video shows various students with special needs, and how they are each using technology to better their learning experience. The fact that they have this technology helps them participate in class, build relationships, and make connections. The teacher’s use of technology grabs the students’ attention so they are interested in what is going on, and they are eager to work. This teacher is teaching students the value of technology, and how they can use it. Her vision is to teach them about new technology so they can use those skills in their future and in their work experiences.
Technology can be integrated into the classroom in many ways. One student, Corbin, was unable to read on his own, but since he had iPod touch audio books, he was able to participate in silent reading. Two other students, Chris and Sherae, had computers so they could more easily speak to people. Then Sean used his computer because he had trouble seeing small print and writing; however, he could magnify the screen on his computer, and he had no trouble writing on his computer. Because of technology, these students with special needs are getting the learning experience they deserve. They are actually learning and are engaged throughout the class.
After watching, How the iPad Works with Academics for Autism, I went to Apple Apps and found an app that I would use in a classroom with students who have special needs. On this site they have a whole section of apps just to help those who have special needs. I found an app called Speak It! The type the words the want said, and the app says the words out loud. This is a great tool for students with special needs because if they are not able to talk, this gives them a voice. It also makes it easier for them to interact in the classroom.
Social Media Count
The Social Media Count by Gary Hayes is mind boggling. This count shows the great extent at which people around the world are using technology. If the whole world is using technology at this rate, then why are teachers not realizing the importance? Some people may just be stuck in their old ways, but technology must be incorporate into education if we are to prepare our students for their future.
We may not have any say over what other teachers do, but we, as future educators, need to educate ourselves about technology. We also need to educate ourselves on its importance, and that is what this class is all about. Some people do not get the great opportunity that we are getting by taking this class, and we must take advantage of it. We cannot fight technology. We must work with it. This requires us to learn like we will one day expect our students to. We must welcome technology with open arms and take full advantage of all it has to offer.
Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today
In A Vision for Students Today, Michael Wesch asked 200 students what it was like to be a student today. There were 367 edits made to this document by the students. They talk about how their classes made them feel. The average class size, they said, was 115, and only a small portion of the teachers would know them by name. They also talk about the money they spend on books they never use, the amount of reading they do that is relevant, and the amount of reading they actually even do. They also talked about how they spend their day sleeping, watching tv, going online, listening to music, talking on the phone, going to class, eating, working, and studying. At the end of the day they have 26.5 hours worth of stuff and only 24 hours to complete it in.
Students use technology to make learning easier and more fun. Teachers have to be able to connect with their students and provide a productive learning environment, and this connection will have to come from technology. Making students buy hundreds of dollars worth of books that they never use and giving them reading assignments that aren't even relevant, is not being productive. We need to integrate technology and engage the students.
Arvind S. Grover is doing some amazing things in the world of education. He is the Dean of Faculty at a school in New York that is trying to add a high school over the next few years. At this school they are working towards modern classes with modern teachers. There will be fewer classes per day, but they will be for a longer time period with no academic classes following each other. The first class of the day will be fitness, and lunch will be an hour long and managed mostly by students. My favorite thing was that Wednesdays would be a lab day where the students will be able to take trips, do work in the community, or have extra study time. I would have loved a high school like this. This way of learning is so innovative and should be admired, as I hope it is.
He also posted a picture about raising awareness of racist costumes during Halloween. This poster was designed by Students Teaching About Racism in Society. I have actually seen this picture all over the internet. He also mentions the use of provocative costumes by women. This subjects women to judgement by those around them. Women should have more respect for themselves, and they do not need to subject themselves to this judgement.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Did You know? 3.0 - A John Strange 2012 Version
Did You Know - by John Strange - January 12 Version, presents various facts about technology. I think this was done to shock us into realizing, if we did not already, how important technology is in this world. He also presented some facts about how India and China are rising up in the world. There are more honor students in India than there are in the United States, and there will soon be more Chinese people who speak English than there will be native English speakers.
It is astonishing, in just one little minute, how many Youtube videos are watched and posted, and how many searches are done in Google. That's not even mentioning how many SMS messages were sent in that minute, which is also extremely astonishing. All of these facts, are here to provide us with an understanding that technology is important for our future and the futures of the children that we will one day teach. Dr. Strange stated that we do not know the top jobs ten years from now because they will be using technologies that do not even exist yet. This fact alone should shock everyone who watched this video, into realizing that we all need to keep up with what is going on in the technology world.
Mr. Winkle Wakes
Mr. Winkle Wakes by Matthew Needleman, uses the familiar story of Rip van Winkle who slept for 100 years. He sets it in a bit more modern time to where Mr. Winkle wakes up in our present. Mr Winkle is distressed to see that businesses and hospitals are using all this technology stuff that he does not understand. Then he decides to go into a school, and he likes it there because there is none of that technology stuff. He stays there for the rest of the day, and he only sees one computer that is dusty and looks like it is barely used. He leaves the school happy, thinking how wonderful it is that even after 100 hundred years some things have stayed the same.
This is used to illustrate the great injustice being done to the children in today's schools. Technology is important in today's world. He showed businesses and hospitals using it, while the school only had one old, dusty computer. If technology is so important everywhere else in the world, then why are students being denied it? The answer I believe to be true is, the importance of technology is not recognized, and we must make it recognized when we are educators.
Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity
Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity, and after watching this, I believe he is right. He claims that all children have some sort of talent, and we ignore them because they are not "useful." Creativity gives children the outlet they need to not worry about being wrong because if they are always worrying about being wrong then they will never come up with anything original. He also makes a point of saying that school is uses the hierarchy it does for two reasons. The first is that the most "useful" subjects for work are on top, and the second reason is that it is designed for university entrance.
We cannot go on teaching our students this way. Our job should be to encourage creativity and use it wisely. He tells an amazing story about Gillian Lynne. Her teachers thought she had some sort of learning disorder, and when she was taken to a doctor, he told her mother that she was just a dancer. She thinks by moving, by dancing. She could have just been given pills, but instead she was nurtured and became an amazing choreographer. That story is what I think this whole video is about. Learning can be in many forms, and art should be one of them.
A Vision for 21st Century Learning
A Vision for 21st Century Learning argues that our world is composed of technology, and our schools should utilize this. Kids are still learning by listening to lectures, passively, and memorizing facts with no context. They want to change the way kids learn by turning a lesson, say about ancient Rome, into a video game where they can learn by interaction. I think this is the only way for children to truly learn. Otherwise it's just memorization, and as Dr. Strange likes to call it "burp back education." This type of learning is unacceptable because, essentially, it is not learning.
Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts by Vicki Davis gives us a view into her classroom. She is a teacher and IT Director, but she is a full time teacher, which is her main focus. However, she integrates her IT skills into her classroom. She states that if you only focus on the pencil and the paper then you are only setting it up to where certain kids will succeed. If technology is integrated then you open up a whole other way of learning that more kids will be able to succeed in.
The way to succeed in integrating technology is by looking at the interests and strengths of the students and accomplishing the curriculum but customizing it according to the group of students that you have. This is exactly what Vicki Davis does in her classroom. She is teaching them how to learn. If she says a word that the students do not know, they are expected to look it up. Once again, she is teaching them to learn. She also has students teaching, and she is even learning some new things from the kids. This way the students actually learn and gain empowerment, and isn't this what we want for our students?