Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog Post 5

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please?
According to his about me page, Dr. Scott McLeod is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also founded CASTLE or the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education. Dr. McLeod is also a co-creator of the series Did You Know? which we had the opportunity of watching for one of our first blog posts. Dr. McLeod is a strong proponent of technology in the classroom, as evidenced with his post Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please?
This post was a very interesting read and by reading the comments, I am shocked to see that some people just did not grasp his sarcasm. Why would we be told to read something that goes against everything that we are learning? Or did they even read his About Me? Dr. McLeod did have a very valid point, because some people do believe that nothing good can from the internet. However, it is not just for illegally downloading music, playing video games, and “hooking up with predators.” The Internet, when used correctly, can be a place where great learning takes place. You can connect with people in other countries. How many people really think when they wake up in the morning they could talk to someone in Australia? I think when put in the right hands, the Internet can be an excellent tool for use in the classroom. We can prepare our students for things greater than themselves.

The iSchool Initiative
This video was very interesting to watch. Travis Allen shows that even the youngest person can make a difference, just by believing in themselves. It is clear that he loves the idea of technology in the classroom. He said that having something like the iSchool Initiative in schools could cut costs from about $600 to just $150 per student. I think given our current economic situation this is something that should be considered and why isn’t it already happening? The hardest part is getting those teachers onboard, who still believe in writing on the dry erase board and using transparencies, overhead projectors, and other things in their classroom will get a student to learn. Nothing against these methods, but clearly Education isn’t keeping pace with the technology advances and students are suffering.
However, from what I could gather in the video, every student would have their own iPad or something akin to it. I think, especially with some younger students, this leaves the iPads open to any and all destruction. Also, I think this would take time. As mentioned above, Educators and Administrators are stuck in their ways. Then there are parents who would have to get on board, because some students do still have parents like the ones Dr. McLeod talks about in his blog post. These are simple fixes and it really only takes a change of attitude. The iSchool Initiative is a brilliant idea and I’d love to see it at work for myself.

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir
This was amazing! There are literally no other words for the creativity behind what he did. Watching this, you really want to just sit there and say that it’s impossible and cannot be done. How can 185 people who have never met all sing the same song and be put together by this guy? The answer: YouTube. This just goes to show any non-believers that the Internet can do amazing things, hands down, no questions asked.

Teaching in the 21st Century
One of the things that stuck out to me while watching this video is Roberts emphasis on engagement. Your goal as a teacher is not to entertain the students with “new toys” as he put it, but rather to engage them, because this is how they are being engaged nowadays. This is how they see things, with technology in their hands as opposed to pencil and paper. I believe that Roberts sees teaching changing in the same way that Travis Allen. Both of them understand that in order for students to continue be successful, something has got to give. Roberts pointed out that yes, students have access to everything they want to know on the web. They know how to find what they are looking for with a few keystrokes and the enter button. However, what they do not know is how to apply what they have learned, how to take this knowledge and build on it. This is something that teachers who are technologically literate know how to do and pass onto their students. I believe that Roberts made a very good point with this video, that teaching is changing and this is how we keep up.

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