Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? by Dr. Scott McLeod
Dr. Scott McLeod, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky, begins his post by delineating the 'evils' of teaching students how to use the computer, citing porn, cyberbullies and predators as dangers. He also questions the need for shared online writing, programs and social applications. Towards the end, however, he challenges the reader to consider whose children will benefit most, and have a 'leg up' in a decade or so. I pointed out four concepts to validate making computers available, necessary, and a vital part of the curriculum.
First, there are locks and password systems we can put in place to protect against the 'evils' mentioned above. Secondly, if detailed technological proficiency was made a nation-wide (but state ordered) course of study objective to be met, it would force present unwilling or apprehensive educators to 'get on or get out' of the teaching field. Thirdly, many impoverished children do not have access to 'techno toys' or electronic devices like their friends and classroom peers, so provision of them in a classroom and instruction on their use could allow lower SES students to have a chance in the global labor market and possibly break the 'cycle of poverty' that seems prevalent in certain areas of our nation.
Finally, I complimented his delivery of such an important point in an unconventional manner. Some may be taken aback, and several students' comments reflected even a misunderstanding of his meaning. A highly educated leader, he embodies the sometimes obtuse necessity of making a statement by standing out as an "in-your-face" orator; this can be a very effective way to get peoples' attention!
Don't Teach You Kids This Stuff. Please?
The iSchool Initiative by Travis Allen
I took some notes on this video, and looking back over them, I am amazed at this very young man's innovative, pioneering, unbelievably forward thinking and extensive research that went into this project!! These are the kind of students that technologically savvy teachers can produce-young adults with productive, workable, sustainable and oh-so creative ideas for a better environmental future, educational system, and a way to streamline thoughts, learning and sharing in a fast-paced world.
Mr. Allen pointed out that many applications are presently available that would be useful in iSchool implementation, the cost for each student would be $150 versus $600, the students and teachers would hold in their hand (literally) everything that takes place in the classroom (assignments, homework, due dates, attendance, school events, books) and the most important idea of teacher and student accountability. I agree with everything that Mr. Allen stated, and would feel inclined to participate as a teacher in the first 'experimental' classroom or school situation that incorporates iSchool as its curriculum. It is an exciting concept, and as with any new idea, there will be problems. However, with innovative thinkers like this young entrepreneur, they will not be hard to solve!
The iSchool Initiative
ERIC WHITACRE'S VIRTUAL CHOIR
I am amazed....what a wonderful way to synthesize the mellifluous voices of 185 strangers! It is such a beautiful, seemingly effortless harmony. Creative genius is the only term that comes to mind for me. We have news conferences, interviews, reports, meetings, seminars, etc. on the internet, so it is only natural that someone with such vision could compose a unit of many into a voice of one. I think this is a wonderful way to showcase what we can manipulate electronic information into. Numbers and codes digitally maneuvered and captured, become art, a brilliant moment in human history; I think this video demonstrates man's potential quite well, indeed.
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts
The comparisons that Mr. Roberts makes between using technology in the classroom to entertain versus to engage are compelling. His message is one that challenges today's educators to sidestep the conventional classroom ideologies and with a little research, collaboration and sharing, create real-world problems or questions that require students to utilize higher thinking skills to solve or answer. One advantage to a film maker's use of the written word sans the spoken word is that as you are reading it, you are hearing your own voice, instead of that of another person. This technique helps us feel more compelled to seek answers and try new things.
All of the action words he used in this video engage students in higher thinking skills. I imagine it as 'peeling' the layers of an onion; exploring every aspect of a potential problem to commandeer the most plausible solution. Every 'layer' represents a more thorough understanding of the problem or concept, and students who use these tools will have a much better view of the world and their role in it.
New teachers should have this video for quick reference, and view it often. The fresher those ideas stay in our minds, the richer we can make our classroom environments, lessons, interactions and activities. Teachers need a good study guide to keep them focused; I feel this video is a great start.
Teaching in the 21st Century