Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blog Post #2

Did You Know? 3.0 Video Response

Dr. Strange's video Did You Know 3.0 stresses his reasons for the importance of future educators to use advanced technology in the classroom.  Using a list of facts and exciting action-adventure motion picture music, Dr. Strange seeks to impress that the teachers coming out of EDM310 in 2012 will be preparing their students for jobs in the technology field that do not even exist yet.  He attempts to deter any of the classic arguments against heavy technology based curriculum by giving statistics about K-12 computer use and access, computer availability amongst minorities, advancement of other countries such as India and China, and reports predicting a massive influx of computer-based careers coming in the future.  The effect this video intends to incite in his students an appreciation for the techniques we will learn in this class.
I take some issue with the content of this video.  While I do recognize that we live in a vastly different world from even five years ago and the importance of technological advances in that world, it doesn't mean that every one has "caught up" with the curve.  He stated in the video that minorities such as African Americans and Hispanics now have computers in their homes; however, what he failed to mention was if these households have Internet access, which would be a huge part in his advanced technology education methods proposition.  Also, it seems to me that this video uses a few statistics picked from only three sources to back up an argument for what seems to be his philosophy on an entire overhaul of the way traditional classrooms function.  Should we step into the future using these new techniques in classrooms?  The answer probably is "yes." However, the immediate feasibility of this endeavor is still unknown.  I think you could make the argument (and I think Dr. Strange is making it with this video) that the United States is behind the rest of the world in educational advances. I would agree with that, but I don't know if giving every American child an Ipad to download their textbooks onto is the answer.  Before I get the "you are anti-technology" response, let me restate that I agree with Dr. Strange that as an educator of the future workforce we should stress the importance of changing technologies.  How we are going to integrate technology across a vast, debt-ridden nation is another issue entirely. 

Mr. Winkle Wakes Response

This video takes us on the all-too-familiar man-wakes-up-in-the future cliche.  Mr. Winkle has woke from a 100-year slumber and is memorized by the assortment of unfamiliar technologies he finds.  In fact, he is so overwhelmed by what appears to be a high-tech office where computers and video-chat are being used that he must go to the hospital.  At the hospital, Mr. Winkle finds himself immersed into yet another world of strange machines doing extraordinary things.  However, when Mr. Winkle visits a local school he breathes a sigh of relief.  He finds familiarity. The students are using pens and papers to take lecture notes from their teacher, apparently just as they did when Mr. Winkle was in school.  He sees what we know is a computer, but it is not being used for teaching.  The purpose of this video would be to contrast the disparities in technology within schools compared to other businesses or professional establishments. 
Despite the low-quality animation of "Mr. Winkle Wakes," the point comes across loud and clear.  I would agree that technology is not used to its fullest efficiency and potential in most public schools in the United States. I do think that technology should be used to enhance not overhaul traditional teaching methods.  Other than EDM310 and few other exceptions, most of my college experience has been with lecture-based learning, or what Dr. Strange would refer to as "burp-back" learning.  While computers have also been a large part of my college experience; if I did not know how to take notes from a lecture, I would be struggling to have an acceptable GPA right now.  Balance and diversity in techniques seem to be the most efficient method for teaching today's students. 

The Importance of Creativity Response

Ken Robinson, the dynamic and witty lecturer on this video, postulates a bold and arguably controversial premise for his speech within the first 3 minutes of this post: Creativity is as important as literacy.  Between the casual joke-making and comic examples reminiscent of "Kids Say the Darndest Things," he brings real insight into why he believes the above theory. He proposes that, "If you aren't prepared to be wrong, you will never be original." To him, our education system so greatly discourages the "wrong answer" that creativity has been stifled amongst children who only seek that "right answer" for fear of mistakes.  He goes on to say that education around the world progressively educates "above the waste" as children age, until we (as educators) are only interested in their brain and particularly one side of it (math, language arts, etc...).  His idea is that our current education system only places value on certain skills and subject, leaving creativity by the roadside.

A Vision for 21st Century Learning Response

The main idea for this video was to create video games that could be used in the classroom to replace traditional education methods.  They argue that the current education system is a "mass standardization response to industrialization," and that to remedy this there must be huge innovations in learning methods.  First, this video speaks to the future History teacher in me.  The 3D navigation through a recreated Rome really sparked my interest.  I agree a tool like that could be a huge asset in my class; words and pictures in textbooks could become a navigable reality to students with the software highlighted in this clip.  The popularity of educational video games has risen in the past few years, as can be seen with things like LeapFrog toys.  Integrating specific and personalized computer games for classroom curriculum seems like the natural progression.  I like the idea that "If we get it right, kids won't even know they're learning." 

Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts Response
Self-described teacher-preneur Ms. Davis, takes a high-tech and highly personalized approach to educating her students in Georgia. Her classroom has been converted to a paperless computer lab with no notebooks or pens in sight.  Her idea of education is teaching children to "learn how to learn" through blogging, computer software, and other cutting-edge technologies.  She says that this method allows her to personalize each child's education experience in her classroom.  The students in her room become the teacher in many cases which fosters team-building and camaraderie.  Her student's are involved with other all over the world, especially with the Flat Classroom Project.  This allows her students to keep up with technology trends and connect with people on the other side of the world.
When I saw this video, I could not help but relate it to what we are doing in EDM310.  As a post this blog even now, I am aware that this class (only in the third week) has taught how to do many different and new things with my computer which I can later use for my classroom.  I envy the student's in Ms. Davis' classroom their experiences.  I wish that a class like that could have been offered in my high school.  Of course, I was in high school eight years ago, which is a lifetime when considering the advancements in technology.  Her philosophy on personalizing the experience for each child and allowing the students to "teach" portions of the class resonated with me. I hope to implement the spirit of what she is doing in my own classroom someday. 


  1. Hey Jessica,

    I agree with what you say about the way our education has been headed. This what you said: "How we are going to integrate technology across a vast, debt-ridden nation is another issue entirely." Is it really that much different? I think the two walk hand in hand. We as teachers need to know our students and their status economically to be able to use the right technology for that particular student. From there, we know exactly what we need to do for these students. Technology is really great if students can carry it with them from school to home, but it isn't absolutely necessary. With that said, I do agree that the status of students in terms of access to technology is an amazing feat to overcome.

    Do you agree with Dr. Strange when he refers to many, not all lecture classes as "Burp-Back" education?

    You described Sir Ken Robinson's video very well, but I want to know what you think. Do you agree with what he was saying? Do you think that we spend to much time in schools asking students for the right answer and not letting them explore the answer themselves?

    I'm glad that Ms. Davis has shown you some ideas along with this class.

    Good post Jessica!

    Stephen Akins

    1. Stephen,
      Thank you for leaving feedback on my post. I have been feeling a little uncertain about it, and any comments are much appreciated.
      To answer some of your questions: First, I do agree that most education is "burp-back." However, I like it that way, because I am great at regurgitating. (That was a joke.)
      Secondly, you are right to point out that I didn't put my personal opinions on Sir Ken Robinson's video. I had to take some time to ponder what he said. I go back and forth on his statement regarding literacy and creativity. I want to agree and disagree all at the same time. It sounds good. However, let's face the facts. If you can't read or write your own name, who cares how creative you are? I know the point he was trying to make, and I agree that creativity is stifled by the traditional learning environment. I also agree that the wrong answer can sometimes be more educational than the right one. Programming the "right" answer into children does not help them to become independent and critical thinkers.
      Thanks again for the feedback!

  2. I see Jessica! Thanks for commenting back! It sounds like you are going to make a great teacher!

    Stephen Akins