PLN Activity 2

Standard

http://www.pbs.org/teachers/digitallearners/watch/

This video challenges viewers to move forward in the integration of technology in classroom instruction. There were some exceptional points worth taking into consideration that I will cover in this blog.

The first idea from the video that really caught my eye was the school that uses technology to stimulate learning and also train them to think systematically about abstract concepts. I think that while some may find schools that are heavily based on the use of technology controversial, it is at least an idea worth pondering. Like the video mentioned, if we’re teaching our students today the same ways we taught yesterday, we’re robbing them of tomorrow. Students need exposure to the new forms of technology that are out there so they can make them even better.

While watching this video, I also couldn’t help but think how it was interesting that the technology class i’m currently enrolled in is my first ever class of it’s kind. Before this semester, the only experience i’d had with technology was outside of school.

While some parts of me agree with the idea that students can get too involved with technology to the point of addiction, I think it’d be foolish to completely ignore it with that reasoning. Educators need to remain sensitive to the fact that technology isn’t something that will ever go away. Kids who are interested and intrigued by new gadgets will turn into teenagers who remain intrigued by it’s complexities.

Another idea brought up in the video was the power of collaboration. I am a strong activist for this instructional method because I think it’s the most effective way for students to not only learn new things but also retain the information.

What it all boils down to:

Lectures are not cutting it anymore.

I can speak for majority of the students my age when I say that i’ve been through way too many lectures that turned into reading Facebook profiles. Lectures lose my attention as quickly as they begin. The only reason they still survive in today’s education world is the fact that it’s a cheap method of teaching a large number of students information. 

It’s time to start looking for alternative ways to teach children without sacrificing their attention span. As the video expressed, humans don’t learn from words. We learn best from hands on experiences and real life situations.

Some of the other concepts I felt were worth highlighting were:

  • teaching things through youtube/learning
  • kids teaching other kids
  • learning outside of the school matters for the inside of the school
  • workshops set up as games for teenagers
  • scavenger hunt based around technology and exploring
  • going into community and exploring real world issues
Advertisements

PLN Activity

Standard

First and foremost, I think that Bill Gates brings a plethora of substantial points to the table in his lecture. From his ideology on how to make a “great teacher” to how we can better education in America, Gates provides a lot of useful information to knead out.

The first concept Gates touches base on is the fact that the top 20% of students have gotten a good education and they’ve gone forward to creating new softwares and innovative ideas. However, with time this percentage has gotten weaker as has the balance for overall quality of education in the U.S. Because students all over the country aren’t receiving the same kind of education, this creates an inequality. We need to lessen the disparity amongst schools to ensure that every student is given an equal opportunity.

I think one way we can accomplish this task is by distributing funds equally among schools. Right now, I know that wealthier towns are getting brand new swimming pools while schools in poverty stricken neighborhoods aren’t getting enough money to pay for chalk and erasers. The government needs to find a way to better monitor the way money is distributed amongst schools. I believe that if a school in a poor neighborhood had all the resources they need (up to date computers, school supplies, modern desks, etc.) it would make learning and getting an education more meaningful for the students who attend it.

An article written by Valerie Strauss took the words right out of my mouth: “If it takes a village to raise a child, the same village must share accountability when many children are educationally abandoned.” Clearly, she takes a more local stance on the issue. Strauss expresses that parents, teachers, and political leaders need to “reject long-standing practices that undermine students’ opportunity to learn in the city’s most neglected communities.” She suggests more advocating for genuine reforms, which will assure equitable access to good schools and programs. I think she is exactly right: we cannot choose to abandon our children’s quality of education and simply hope for the best.

To read the full article, go here!

Additionally, it is disheartening to hear all of the statistics he spoke about in regards to high school graduates. Poverty is a problem that I think our society doesn’t take as seriously as it should. Those high school drop outs are America’s future. To think that over 30% of students don’t graduate high school shows that something in the education system is just not working.

“A top-quartile teacher will increase the performance of their class — based on test scores — by over 10 percent in a single year. … That means that if the entire U.S., for two years, had top-quartile teachers, the entire difference between us and Asia would go away.”

I felt that this quote was worth highlighting considering competition with other countries has always been a hot topic for the U.S. Years ago, America had one of the top education systems ranked worldwide. This has obviously changed as today we are constantly trying to readjust our own methods to assimilate to other more prominent systems such as Finland’s.

Mini Challenge 1-Part 1

Standard

“Given the realities of our modern age and the demands of our children’s future, is it really ok to allow teachers to choose whether or not they incorporate modern technologies into their instruction?”

Here’s the deal in my eyes. We live in this big world that is constantly changing, filled with creative minds who are constantly innovating. This world is getting bettered every single day by the power of technology- and it’s happening fast. So, without beating around the bush and longer, my response to this loaded and very controversial question is no, teachers should not be able to choose whether or not they incorporate modern technologies into their instruction.

When considering technology and the integral role it plays in our society today, a video i’ve recently watched comes to mind:

2012: What Brought Us Together

My initial reaction to the ways that this video moved me: wow. What an incredible, ground breaking year 2012 was. Moreover, this video highlighted a plethora of advances in man kind, all captured by film, all captured by the use of technology. It portrayed campaigns, revolutions, internet sensations: all of which started with the click of a mouse.

With all of ways that technology has touched our world, why is it that so many teachers stick to their traditional ways? My thoughts are that they either A) Don’t know about it yet B) If they have heard of it, don’t have any idea how to use it or C) Want to teach the ways in which they were taught. There is a very big reason why C can be detrimental to the future of education. If I were to walk into my first day of teaching and go about it with idea C in mind, this is what my classroom would look like:

kumamoto 059

  • desks all in rows and columns
  • teacher at the front of the classroom
  • chalkboards, a few wall decorations, and bookshelves that seem to never end

Now, lets compare this mental image to a real picture from the 1940’s:

Inspiration_Board_Image_23_Image_

Can you spot any immediate differences? I know I can’t. How scary is it to think that over 50 years had passed between the time that this photo was taken, and my first day of kindergarten, in yet the most obvious changes can probably seen in the clothing students wear? Especially considering we live in a generation when things like this are happening:

Baby Works Ipad Perfectly

At just 2 years old, we already have babies who are mastering technologies that adults can’t even understand. Can you imagine the possibilities? What will this child’s knowledge of technology look like in 10 years?

This is not to say that I think children should all have iPads glued to them from the moment they start their school day. As is with most things, moderation is key. Teachers need to remain sensitive to new technologies available to use in the classroom, while weighing out the pros and cons for each one. There needs to be an appropriate balance when using technology so that students won’t learn to depend on it. Technology should enhance education, not take over it.

The reality that this all boils down to is that we cannot simply ignore technology in the classroom, because the second our students step out of the classroom, they are engulfed in a world that revolves around it. If we are setting our inventors of tomorrow up to be ill-equipped, how can we expect them to flourish and create new ideas? We can’t.

So now it’s your turn…