Friday, June 4, 2010
In the video "Did you know 3.0" (available on www.youtube.com) Mr Karl Fisch points out many interesting facts about the world and the fast way it is evolving. I was not only unaware of many of the facts but was in fact quite shocked to learn of them.
However it was not only the little facts that were enlightening. This video really made me stop and think of just how important technology is to the world we live in, and how that importance and need increases with every passing day. During the first class for EDM310 Dr. Strange asked the entire class whether we thought that teachers should be technologically literate? I didn't really spend a lot of time pondering this question at first, I just knew that I thought yes they should, but I didn't think about why. Watching this video made me realize why. How can we as teachers (or future teachers in my case) be teaching children without first familiarizing ourselves with the tools available that obviously the children are already very aware of? I think teachers have to work harder to stay up to pace with their students in the technology world and still be able to teach them something new as well. How can students have respect for and want to learn from a teacher who doesn't even know the basics of internet, email, online teaching tools, etc? This brings me to the next video I watched.
"Mr Winkle Wakes" by Mathew Needleman is a short cartoon about an old man who wakes from a 100 year sleep to find the world very different from the world he knew upon going into that long slumber. He is immediately overwhelmed by skyscrapers, computers, printers, and basically technology in general. However he enters a school and immediately feels very comfortable in familiar surroundings because nothing has seemed to change. All the desks are in a straight line, children are sitting and listening to a teacher lecture, and taking notes traditionally just as he remembers.
My question is this, should schools still be this traditional? Please don't misunderstand me, I am not criticizing teaching in it's most tradition sense. However I am saying this, if there are more tools available to create a more involved, interactive, and hands on learning shouldn't we be using them? I just think that sometimes we are scared to try new things when teaching people, but one of the first things I learned about people is that everyone has a different learning style. Some people learn from simple hearing while others need to actually see something and experience it to learn about it. Today's technology makes tools easily available to us that should help us reach a larger amount of students.
"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." This was my favorite quote from Sir Ken Robinson from his talk on "The Importance of Creativity". Throughout out his speech he talks about how traditional teaching focuses on of course mathematics, science, history, and grammar. Progressively as we get older we are taught that the arts and creativity are not important because ultimately we think that most of us cannot get a job knowing and doing things like dancing, drama, etc.
I agree with Sir Robinson but my thought is this, what if we were taught things like math and science just like now but we were taught equally in the arts? Students were allowed to be as creative as they like but still mastered all the skills of math and science and had a vast knowledge of history? Imagine the next generations level of intelligence and the things they could accomplish. I was listening to a discussion last night and someone said that ingenuity was someone's ability to think outside the box when faced with a problem and being able to solve it without knowing the "proper" way to begin the problem. I agree very much with this statement and I think the way to empower people to do this is to encourage creativity as well as traditional knowledge.
After watching Vicki Davis in the video on www.edutopia.org called "Harnessing Your Students' Digital Smarts" I have an immediate respect for her and will be frequenting her blog. In this video she shows the importance of technology to students, the opportunities it creates, and also the importance of helping them really learn how to do things for themselves rather than being taught a list of instructions.
I was homeschool student my entire life from K - 12. I remember getting so frustrated with my mom because every time I asked what a word meant her response was simple, "go look it up". I always complained that it would be much easier and time efficient if she just would tell me the meaning since obviously she already knew it. She never would just tell me though, she said I would be more likely to remember after I looked it up than if she just told me. She was right. There are not many words that I looked up that I do not still know the meaning and all it's uses.
I said all that to get to the point that Vicki Davis reminds me of my mom in that area. She makes gives the students the tools they need but make them find things and learn for themselves. This is probably one of best teaching practices that I can think of just because I know from experience that it works and I feel much more prepared for the world because of it.
For anyone who would like to check out Vicki Davis here is a link to her blog.