Sunday, February 13, 2011
Blog Assignment 4
“Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?”- This blog post was created by Dr. Scott McLeod. Dr. McLeod is a professor at the University of Iowa. Dr. McLeod is also the director of UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education. Dr. McLeod is dedicated to making educators technologically literate. He also shows an interest in making sure that the future generations are taught to be technologically literate in school. He makes this evident in his post “Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?” This post can be found at http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2009/08/dont-teach-your-kids-this-stuff-please.html.
In this blog post Dr. McLeod addresses a problem that he sees with overprotective teachers and parents who are against students using technology. Dr. McLeod points out misconceptions that these adults have about students and technology. For instance, some teachers may think that it is good enough for students to stick to writing assignments with a pen and paper and that it is not necessary for students to post their thoughts on the web. Teachers who think this way cut their students off from the possibility of getting recognition for their work or feedback from a global audience. Dr. McLeod also brings up the point that some adults may believe that students will only use the internet and technology for inappropriate purposes such as pornography or sexting. Although technology does allow students to do inappropriate things, this does not mean that technology is evil or that all students will do these things.
“The iSchool Initiative”- This is a youtube video posted by a high school student named Travis. This clip can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68KgAcx_9jU. Travis proposes his idea for improving our educational system while solving budget problems as well. Travis believes that schools should equip their students with an iTouch which is a touch screen mp3 player made by Apple. This device is equipped with wireless internet access with which students could access school assignments, email, and many educational applications. Travis believes that incorporating iTouch technology in school will make a more efficient, less expensive and more eco-friendly environment.
The first question that popped in my head was how would giving each student an expensive electronic device improve the school’s budget? However, Travis has done the math and he claims that, by eliminating the need for traditional school materials such as paper, pencils and copy machines, schools could save $600 per student. This point is appealing because it saves both money and trees. Travis claims that the average cost of an iTouch is $150. I did some research and found that the cheapest iTouch which is the 8GB costs $229. Despite this slight underestimate of cost, it sounds like this idea might have the potential to save money. This video leaves me with many questions. I would have liked Travis to expand more on how this idea would play out. I was impressed with his presentation and his innovative idea though.
“The Lost Generation”- This is youtube video which asks it’s viewers to contemplate problems that are rampant in our current society. Some of the issues that it addresses include the high divorce rate, greed and mixed up priorities. The speaker in the video identifies that these are problems which are present in our society today and have the potential to become even worse. I completely agree with this video because I think it is shameful that many people in this country place more importance on their careers than their families. I also think it is very sad that people do not take marriage vows very seriously anymore.
Although these are all very sad and serious problems, the video states that there is hope for the future. The video begins with scrolling text which makes statements such as “My employer will know that my priorities are straight because work is more important than family.” This statement is a satirical portrayal of the American mentality today. The scroll then plays backwards and reads “Family is more important than work. I have my priorities straight because my employer will know that.” I think that this technique is very clever because it shows how many people have a backwards way of thinking by playing the statements backwards first. I think that this is a great video which touches on many truths that Americans have forgotten about or chosen to ignore. If you would like to watch this video it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42E2fAWM6rA&feature=player_embedded.
“Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir”- This youtube video features the song “Lux Aurumque” which translated from Latin into English means light and gold. This choir has 185 people from 12 countries. That description sounds pretty impressive. However, the most impressive thing about this choir is that none of the singers were together when recording. They all recorded separate videos of themselves singing which were later put together by Eric Whitacre. The song sounds so amazing that I could not have known that this choir never practiced together if the video had not indicated that this was the case.
I think that Mr. Whitacre’s virtual choir project is amazing because it shows the power of technology. The use of technology can bring people across the globe together. Complete strangers were united in one purpose to make beautiful music. This idea can be applied not only to making music, but to any collaborative effort. This is the true power of technology that teachers need to make use of in their classrooms. The possibilities are endless. If you would like to hear the virtual choir’s performance of “Lux Aurumque” it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs&feature=player_embedded#at=29.
“Teaching in the 21st Century”- This youtube video asks the viewer to think about how teaching in the 21st century needs to change. Many teachers still rely on old techniques that have been used since the beginning of public educations such as the chalkboard, books, pencils and paper. Now there are many more tools available for teachers, so why do teachers only focus on using the old ways? The old style of teaching is focused on making students memorize facts that could only be found in books. Nowadays, these facts can be found within seconds on the internet. Children don’t need to go to school to learn facts which they can find easily on their home computer, iPod or cell phone. Teachers now need to focus on showing students how to analyze and interpret these facts so they can apply them to real life situations.
I think the creator of this video touches on some great points. Teachers do need to do more than just teach facts and information. However, I don’t think that this style of teaching should totally be thrown out the window. It is still important to know facts and formulas! I think that the main problem is that teachers need to come up with more engaging ways to present this information and more innovative projects where students can use this information. Let’s not forget that although children do have access to important information, they are not always motivated to search for the information. Also, students don’t always understand information that they find. That is where teachers come in. I think that the best message that this video sends is that using technology is not about entertainment. When teachers use technology, they are not trying to just entertain students. They are trying to engage students and show them that learning can be interesting and relevant to their everyday lives. It can even be fun! This video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmskHM0V2Ig&feature=player_embedded%23!.