Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blog Post # 5

Do you know any teachers who are terrified of getting out of the traditional teaching method taught in schools like this one? Don't let their paranoia get you down! Rise above and let's progress!

This is the inside of a classroom from the 1900s.

Don't teach your kids this stuff, please?
Dr. McLeod is a man very involved and expressively interested in the integration of technology in the classroom. The center he created, CASTLE (Center for the Advanced Study of Technological Leadership in Education)is the only center in the nation dedicated to meeting the technological needs of school system administrators. Because like Mr. McLeod says on his home page, "If the leaders don't get it, it's not going to happen." His views on incorporating technology into the classroom in as many ways as possible are intent and he believes there is no excuse for educators to still be in the dark in regards to online learning. In Mr. McLeod's hilarious, sarcastic post "Don't teach your kids this stuff, please" he fervently begs future educators not to be so naive as to neglect integrating technology into the classroom. One reason I really enjoy the way he approaches this issue is how he lists all of the innovative, fun, enlightening ways that children learn through online resources and sarcastically implies they are dangerous and silly. For example, he insists that students don't need to be taught how to make a movie or write online because an audience is not important. All teachers, board members, parents, and administrators know that is simply untrue. Why would students participate in piano or dance recitals or soccer games? I also enjoy that he introduces the fears that give some old school teachers reservations about using the internet with children. Mr. McLeod believes that educators, and all those involved in our young minds' lives should be familiar enough with their technology to know what is safe and what is not. I must agree and I believe this post is a hilarious wake up call to all those parents, teachers, administrators, and board members to investigate all the ever changing, creative, and inventive ways our children can virtually learn.
The iSchool Initiative
Immediately after watching Travis Allen's video, I told my husband, "I have to work in a school with technology like this!" While I still would love to work in a school like St. Elmo that just received iPads from Ms. Lucy Buffet, I am also aware that I can be the one to bring technology such as that to my school. Mr. Allen is such an inspiration to jumping on the mobile learning train. His young enthusiasm is so contagious! It is really amazing to me what a 17 year old who is passionate enough about a cause can come up with. I was truly fascinated hearing the amount of money the iSchool initiative could save per student. In his first video created when he was 17 in 2009, Mr. Allen quotes that the iSchool initiative could save up to $600 per student per school year, not to mention the indescribable good we would do for our ecostystem. Some of the apps that caught my eye that Travis mentioned were the StarWalk app for astronomy and the formula app for math and science classes. My weaknesses just happen to be math and science so having a more intriguing way to explore those subjects is very appealing to me. I also like the fact that the students can record what a teacher is saying and have the benefit of repeating the lecture or instructions while away from the classroom. This feature would also come in handy for students who were absent from class, or needed further guidance.
I can honestly say the more I read from more educators and aspiring educators, the more excited I become! I believe this mobile learning experience is an absolute necessity. We are all born into an age that is moving only more toward technology integration. There is no better time than the present to become familiar, and what better tools for implementing these ideas than our brilliant minds of the future. Once teachers can get the ideas across to their students that technology is fun, easy, and exciting they will become immediately interested when they receive positive feedback and intellectual freedom.
Now, this video is a little slow moving, (not the actual speed of the download)however; it is a great way of showing that students of all ages are capable of mobile learning given the right tools and a positive attitude! Some teachers and critics say that kindergarten students are too young to use iPads in the classroom. Since when did it become too young to learn with different tools, or to share your budding creative ideas with the rest of the world? Maybe this new, huge sense of responsibility for the iPads will also instill a sense of responsibility and the want to care for their property. Also, watch how well behaved they are around these engaging learning tools.

Teaching Kindergarten with iPads :) from HiTech Princess on Vimeo.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
Amazing!! I must admit that I cannot listen to a lot of this particular type of music but the idea behind it is really wonderful. In fact, I put my son to sleep tonight by playing him "Sleep," another virtual choir song put together by Mr. Whitacre. I also read that he is putting together a piece called "Good Night Moon," which is a children's book that every child I have ever babysat or had, has been fully in love with. I like the fact that Eric Whitacre is using music and technology to educate, connect, and inspire millions across the world.
Teaching in the 21st century
I truly enjoyed the ideas and enthusiasm presented in this video. I was hooked when I saw the perspective on students being able to readily access information on data, statistics, theories, and stories without the need of the teacher anymore. I really enjoyed the idea that teachers are merely the filters and counselors for students to set forth on their academic journey and find the information for themselves. I really liked the ideas of interactive projects, questions, and homework to be given to encourage technology integration inside and outside the classroom. One issue I saw with this was the fact that not all students have access to computers or an internet connection. This could possibly be solved by the teacher allowing the students to come in early or stay later. Another option could be to space the engaging activities out over a few days or a week and incorporate them into classroom activities as well. I truly agree with the perspectives and the ideas meant to challenge the way we view educating today's students- but more importantly, today's future. I could understand how this video could come off as an abrupt and radical to teachers still in the old school form of teaching. For example, there are some teachers who still hold so highly their ability to cram information into students and brag on their standardized testing scores. These new, innovative, and ENGAGING ideas do not focus enough on test scores for some teachers. It is time to realize the generation we are educating!
I don't believe that the idea that the teacher's role is obsolete is entirely true. It is the teacher's position to challenge his/herself to stay up to date with the technology that the students of this era need to be properly exposed to. This video stresses the importance of making all technological use in the classroom relevant to the age and subject matter being used. However, this should not be a hard assignment if the teacher is willing to get creative with his/her activities.
I like the fact that this video gives ideas on how to adapt mobile learning for every possible level of learner. I believe internet resources could be a great tool to use to encourage disinterested students, struggling, ADHD, and many other types of children who need an extra boost to realize learning is fun!
In all, I can definitely say that once again these video assignments have inspired to me learn more, research more, think more, investigate more, blog more, create more, teach more, impact more, and engage more! I feel very fortunate that I will be able to look back on this blog to see how my views have changed as well as this class blog once the semester is over. I feel like these videos are opening my eyes to new perspectives through all sorts of resources with every assignment I take on.


  1. Frances - what a great post. You are very through and it appears that you put a lot of thought into your posts.

    I am also very inspired the more I learn about technology. I have been concerned that I will not be able to interact with my teenage students. I have learned through this class that I will be able to use technology that the students already are familiar with to teach them. I am excited!

  2. Your commentary on McLeod was excellent.