Tuesday, February 1, 2011

C4T- Adventures in a gifted classroom- Bryan Jackson

stop sign

This week I commented on two posts made my Bryan Jackson, a high school teacher from British Columbia, on his blog Adventures in a Gifted Classroom which can be found at http://bryanjack.edublogs.org/author/bryanjack/. The first post that I commented on was a music video that his class had made. It was a parody of "Don't Stop Believing" which they titled "Don't Stop Believing in Santa Claus". The video featured guitar, cello, drums, piano and two vocalists. I thought that the video was a fun way to let the class practice their musical talent while learning about technology. The students got the experience of recording and posting a video on youtube for the whole world to see, as well. I thought that this was a great activity for the students because it was a creative way to teach them about technology, practice musical skills and have fun all at the same time.
The second post I commented on was a post about changing the way that we run schools and classrooms. Some of the ideas that the post mentioned include going a week without using technology in the classroom, stopping the use of bells and time schedules, no longer using desks or chairs in the classroom, and no longer using textbooks or paper. Although I do not think that some of these ideas would work out in a real classroom setting, it was still interesting to think about ways that educators could try renovating our school system. As future educators, we need to start thinking about ways that we can change the status quo. We just might find some new classroom techniques that would benefit the students and make the learning environment in schools even better.
Overall I'm glad that I read Mr. Jackson's blog because it seems to me that he is an unconventional teacher who is willing to think outside the box and take some risks in the classroom. Some educators might be opposed to this. They may raise objections like "This new environment that Mr. Jackson is suggesting would be chaos" or "An idea like that sounds good in theory, but it would never work in a real classroom". I think a quote from Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is appropriate here. "Playing anything to roll the dice just one more time. Some will win. Some will lose." Let's take a chance and challenge what our current society thinks is the appropriate way to run a classroom. The truth is that we will never know what other possibilities there are to make schools better until we try. Who knows? We could totally change the way that American schools run forever. Not just for our own sake, but for the good of the students.
I revisited Mr. Jackson's blog this week and read his post which was entitled "Something for Myself This Week". In this post, Mr. Jackson reflects on his quest to integrate technology in his classroom. He compares this quest to a journey through a desert or a jungle. He also accompanied his post with a video of a trip that he recently took which adds to his metaphor. I enjoyed this post because sometimes I feel like trying to learn about new technology is a difficult quest, as well. However, Mr. Jackson leaves me with hope at the end of this post by stating that we are all part of a huge technological learning community. The posts that we make about our thoughts may be benefiting someone else and that makes the quest worthwhile.


  1. Hi Rebecca!

    Glad you found my blog, and were able to glean some inspiration from my travels - in tech as well as my car!

    I think that technology can be overwhelming for many teachers to integrate successfully in their classroom, as it involves no small amount of letting go of some of the control that is at the root of many traditional classrooms (teacher at the front dictating to the class in preparation for a test where students will reflect the teacher's knowledge back at them). Many of the learning opportunities made available by technology depend on much more of the voice, and control resting in the students' hands, which doesn't fit well as an 'add on' in most classrooms. If a classroom - teacher and students each - can strive to become more learner-centered and self-directed, the teacher's role shifts to one of support, rather than authoritative direction, and a diverse use and experimentation with different technologies and learning environments is not only made easier, but essential.

    Thanks for reading, over at my blog, and best of luck in the rest of your Ed course!

    (Oh, and while I attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for my undergrad, I have since returned to Port Moody, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia : - ) )



  2. Bryan,
    Oops, sorry for the confusion about Arkansas. I'll be sure to correct that. I've actually driven through British Columbia before. It's a beautiful place! Thanks for you insight! I hope that I will be the kind of teacher who will let go of some of my own desire to control the classroom for the benefit of my students. I will continue to visit your blog to see what other discoveries you make throughout your career as a teacher!