Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blog Post 4

 Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? 
 It is time for this message to be heard everywhere. What do most parents and teachers hear about the most? The bad things, such as children being abducted because of social networking sites, and sexting, and porn surfing, and cyberbullying. But what they dont hear is what they refuse to listen to. They choose to ignore the many benefits we receive from using technology because they are set in their way of thinking that the benefits are overshadowed by technology’s downfalls. If they would just give it a chance and trust their children and students then they might realize that it is worth it, and that there is a whole new world out there just waiting for someone to use it. Dr. McCleod is the director of CASTLE which focuses on the technological needs of educators.  He has received many awards for his efforts to utilize technology within the learning realm.   

The iSchool Initiative
One of the my favorite uses of the iSchool is the ability to keep up with all assignments and all due dates in one area.  Yes, there are planners for this, but sometimes students are in too big of a hurry to take the time to write it all down.  If all of your class assignments were automatically entered in for you in one place, it would be a lot easier on everyone.  Aside from all of its amazing educational benefits, there is the fact that we will cut down on our school systems debt by not buying books, papers, pencil, maps, projectors, etc.  The total accountability that iSchool provides is unheard of before now.  Students now have no excuse to say "well I didn't hear you say it was due the next day" because it is right there with you, with all of your assignments/due dates at all times.  The fact that internet websites are limited to those that are dedicated to education-only assures the fact that this is a learning tool that cant be used to facebook in class, or anything else that the internet I used for that lets students escape the educational realm.  The best thing about this is that it isn't some futuristic dream, it is possible now.  I can only hope that my future school will be on board with this technology.  Teachers, students, and schools can be taking apart of this amazing program right now.  Together, we can all improve the accountability and performance of our education system. 

Watch The Lost Generation

.First of all, this video's technique is amazing.  If we were just to have simply read it backwards, then we would certainly not have gotten the same effect.  It was inspiring. With technology, she was able to take such a simple message and make such a big impact.  I do believe that sometimes we are told that we are a lost generation. Even my grandparents have said it to me.  But I refuse to believe it, just as she did.  We will make a difference, we will keep our morals, and we will not turn into money hungry cold hearted human beings that only care about ourselves.  We, as a generation,  will prove them wrong.

 Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir
Technology. Wow.  If you would have told me to orchestrate an entire choir, I would have probably said, there is no possible way.  But, with technology we have surpassed anyone's expectations and done the impossible.  Getting hundreds of people to sing together while face to face is a feat in itself, but I would have never believed it were possible for this to happen with out any of the choir members ever meeting.  With the help of technology we have been able to complete something as amazing as this, I can't wait to see what technology will help us achieve in the future.

Teaching in the 21st Century.
"Teachers are no longer the only source of information.  We are the filter".  This is so true, we should use this to our advantage.  We as teachers should guide our students through their journey so that once we are no longer with them they will be able to do it on their own.  We must refuse to do it for them any longer.  We must teach them how to survive without us, how to learn without us.   I am no saying I am against teaching some facts and content, but if we were to teach our students lifelong skills then they would be successful long after they left our classroom.  Life is not a multiple choice test.  So why should we expose our students to them.  They have no meaning. They have no power of helping them after they pass that class.  Life is an ever changing journey.  They will need to overcome obstacles by using their critical thinking SKILLS.  They can't look back at their notes from class to see how to deal with their problems, but they can use the skills that we equip them with to answer any of the problems that life may throw at them.  So yes, we do need to rethink the tools and sources we use to teach and constantly reevaluate what are we teaching our students and why? How is it helping them?  How is it preparing them?  One thing that I have encountered in college, that I had never used in high school, is online access to the classroom.  I may sit there and stare at the power points for the entire class period and still not understand what is going on, but now that I do my homework online and have access to videos and tutorials that present the material in different forms I can easily understand the message that the professor couldn't necessarily get across to me with just a lecture.  "The tools provide temptation but they are not the source of the negative behavior" Exactly.  Guns don't kill people. People kill people.  The internet doesn't corrupt.  People corrupt.  But we must believe our students will use the tools we have equipped them with, and use them to tackle their issues. Every thing we teach must be relevant, challenging, and engaging.  We want them to grow from their experiences, and we want them to want to learn.  So what does it mean to teach? Well, it sure as heck doesn't mean A, B,C, or D.  In order to teach we must equip our students with the life skills needed to learn, live, and overcome any obstacles they may encounter.  As teachers THAT is our job.


  1. Paige,

    It makes me laugh when I hear about parents not wanting their children to use the internet and other technological tools due to the "dangers" that are associated with it. In reality, everything is potentially dangerous. Playing outside, going to the mall, riding in a car, etc. We just need to teach the kids "proper internet etiquette" and how to be safe while online - just like how we teach them to stay on the sidewalk and not to talk to strangers.

    - Allie

  2. Paige,
    I completely agree with your take on teaching in the 21st century, it's important to teach skills to students. Teachers can't stand in front of a class pouring facts from a book hoping something sticks. They need to be able the think critically and analyze what's in front of them.

    It is frustrating that we often hear about the dark side of technology and the temptations it holds. It's the job of educators who want to incorporate technology to ease parents fears and educate them on the positive aspects.

    -Nickolas Sullivan