Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blog Assignment #5

The iSchool Initiative
The iSchool Initiative

After I watched the video, The iSchool Initiative, I was very impressed with Travis Allen's presentation arguing for mobile learning. Allen is striving to promote a digital world that he believes will solve our present educational problems. In his presentation, Allen gives viewers a demonstration on how students can use their iTouches, iPhones, or iPads in a classroom setting. He lists apps students can use for their everyday needs. Some of those apps include Email, Chemical Touch, WorldWiki, U.S.A Presidents, Star Walk, Formulae, Recorder, and the Scientific Calculator. These apps along with several others meet the basic needs of students for any subject. Using only technology in schools supports a "greener" classroom without paper, pencils, and textbooks.

Go Green
I rather like the idea of mobile learning. It kills me to think about how much paper is wasted in classrooms. I strongly support being green and will have a green classroom when I start teaching. Therefore, eliminating paper, pencils, textbooks, etc, sounds like a plan! Plus, students can learn so much more from the internet than they can reading from textbooks. The internet is limitless, textbooks eventually run out of pages. Supporting digital classrooms seems only right if we want our students to gain the skills and knowledge to succeed.

We learn about how Travis Allen started a digital learning revolution with a single YouTube video at the age of 17 in ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry. In this video, Allen promotes mobile learning in the classroom. When he was 18, Allen started the iSchool Initiative, which is a student based non-profit organization with the solid goal of revolutionizing education. He and his team travel the country bringing awareness to mobile learning.

Virtual Choir
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

I think I broke the replay button! The video Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir is amazing, and what makes it so special is that it was put together through the internet. None of the 185 people singing have performed together, or even met. They never practiced together before the performance was recorded. One question I have is, "How in the world did Eric Whitacre manage to align the screens so they look like a choir performing on a stage?" The performance is flawless, but I cannot understand how Whitacre had the patience to organize such an amazing virtual choir. I mean, he had to give detailed instructions to the singers then use editing magic to give viewers the performance of a lifetime. This video proves that the ways to use technology are endless. The possibilities are endless!

Teaching in the 21st Century

Kevin Roberts states some very interesting facts in Teaching in the 21st Century. He makes the statement that teachers are no longer the main source of knowledge. They are the filters between the information and students. Roberts makes a good point, and that is, teachers need to show students how to find information themselves. They shouldn't expect the answers to be given to them. Roberts lists blogs, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, Google, and YouTube as sources to find information. I mean, the internet provides limitless information that students can access in a minute! Roberts believes, and I do as well, that our curriculum should focus on teaching skills rather than just facts and content. After all, I could read about how to change a tire, but unless I practice doing it on my own, I could be stuck in a not-so-fun situation. We need to realize that times are changing and so is the way we teach. We, as educators, need to grasp all of these technological advances and incorporate as much as we can into our teaching methods. After all, who are we to deny students the 21st century education they want and deserve?

Flipping the Classroom
Flipping the Classroom

Again, we see how technology in the classroom benefits both teachers and students. In all three videos, Why I Flipped my Classroom by Katie Gimbar, Dr. Lodge McCammon's FIZZ-Flipping the Classroom, and Flipping the Classroom-4th Grade STEM by Ms. Munafo, we see how these teachers have successfully "flipped" their classrooms. What is flipping the classroom exactly? This simply means that, each week, students are required to watch videos made by their teachers on the lessons and assignments at home, instead of wasting precious class time. That way students can come to class with background knowledge on the material being studied that week and with questions and discussion topics to go over. This makes learning more creative and engaging for students, especially those who tend to fall behind in class. The traditional teaching style involves teachers lecturing for 90% of the class time, with the remaining time spent on application. This method is outdated, ineffective, and just plain boring. Raise your hand if you enjoy sitting in a class that is primarily a lecture based class. I bet you didn't. No one should have to endure that type of boredom. I found these videos to be very useful. Having the students listen to the lectures at home means more fun in the classroom. No more sleepers in the back! No more scratching of the noggins! Students can all be on the same level for once, and a higher level at that.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Elizabeth,

    Good job on your post. I'm glad that you have found some useful information form this assignment! These new ways of teaching and learning are only getting more diverse, so having a basic knowledge about these things is very important to the 21st Century teacher.

    Keep up the good work Elizabeth!

    Stephen Akins