Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Post #2

"Mr. Dancealot"

“Mr.Dancealot” is an exemplary video concerning how many teachers in today’s society present facts and/or opinions while expecting the student to take notes, study, and regurgitate what the student “learned” in class. The problem with this form of education is that the students never actually retain what is taught. Even if the students are not necessarily kinesthetic learners, when the subject matter is an activity it follows that the subject must be, well, acted. This is applicable to any field of education. You cannot expect a student to learn math without making his or her own calculations, learn science without experimentation, or learn composition without writing. Just as a coach would never put a player up to pitch at a baseball game without first practicing to throw, a student in a classroom cannot learn without practice. The video was a great example of what not to do in a classroom. In order for students to succeed, practice is essential.

"Teaching in the 21st Century"

The reality of the matter is that since 1990 we have all been connected. From the glorious invention of the internet spiraled a sociological revolution unparalleled in history. Kevin Roberts provides a suggestive explanation for old-fashioned teachers in a high-tech, tumultuous world in his video “Teaching 21st Century Students”. By evaluating the positive uses of technology in education and confronting the fears that most educators hold, Roberts provides an optimistic and encouraging emphasis on the way that technology can and will change education in the near future.

It is impossible for technology to be eliminated from society. Considering this, Roberts highlights a very real and very pressing fear: since our students are utilizing technology that we have not taught, they are doing so at their own risk . The internet is a wonderful tool, if used wisely. Without being educated on the harmful ways of “pirating, plagiarism, slander, copyright, [and] crowdsourcing”, students are likely to cause harm to themselves and potentially others while attempting to operate with good intentions. Roberts makes it explicit that teachers have the ability to eradicate this harm from their students; I will go even further and says that we hold the responsibility to.

A further concern of educators today is the misuse of technology in the classroom as entertainment instead of a conduit of knowledge. Roberts easily defies this by arguing that “the tools provide temptation, but they are not the source of negative behavior”. He emphasizes that the purpose of education is to engage the students and not entertain them. I agree completely. Without an effort by the students, genuine learning is impossible. So how do we encourage students to make that effort? Easy—we engage them.

Roberts also emphasizes the more positive attributes of technology. The term “create” has been completely redefined through “blogging, podcasting, animating, planning, recording, designing, [and] programming”. Physical distance is insignificant since the creation of webcams, blogs, and even search engines—all of which vastly broaden the scope of what we are able to teach. Roberts advocates that we must “teach students how to…validate information, synthesize information, leverage information, communicate information, collaborate with information, [and] problem solve with information.” The wonderful part is that all the information is already out there for our students to explore.

"The Networked Student"

courtesy of Caitlin Hinton

In the video “The Networked Student,” we are given a glimpse of what education is evolving into. Education is increasingly becoming more of web based as opposed to lecture based. In the video we are introduced to the idea of connectivism. Connectivism promotes that learning occurs as part of a social network composed of many diverse connections and ties. The important aspect of connectivism is the connections that can be made possible through this type of learning.

There are endless possibilities, when it comes to connectivism. In this video I thought it was incredible that the student had access to lectures from some of the most renowned professors in the country. I feel that this video is a testament to all of the benefits of self-taught learning. Students these days have access to virtually anything they want to know and have the means to reach it right at their fingertips. I believe that this is where education is going. Education will become paperless and it will all be web based.

So what about the teacher? Does their job become obsolete? Absolutely not! The teacher will play a vital role in the connectivist classroom. While students have to ability to access all of this information, they still need someone to teach them how to gain access to this limitless information. The teacher becomes a helper when the student gets stuck. The teacher instructs the student to communicate properly, and discern between right and wrong information. The teacher becomes a resource and an aid for whatever the student may need. Although paper will become antiquated, the teacher will always have an important role to play in a student’s education.

"Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts"

courtesy of Ashley Railey

This video features Vicki Davis, a teacher in rural south Georgia, who is leading her students in a technology based class. She is expanding the students ability to learn through technology. One statement she makes that really stuck out is that she is focused on the students “learning how to learn.”She also speaks of the empowerment the students feel when they figure out something own their own, and that they often teach her new things as well. The students experience a hands-on type learning, giving them the ability to retain the knowledge they gain in the classroom. They work alongside students around the world by using Wiki Teen, which is described as a global collaborative project which allow the students to post their assignments and connect with other teachers and students through blogging.

This is an incredible advancement in the modern classroom. Much different than the pen and paper style teaching I experienced in high school 10 years ago. It gives a much broader approach to learning so that each student can work at his/her own pace. If this is the future of education, then I see a much brighter future for our culture as a whole.


  1. Hey Laura, I enjoyed reading your post. When I become a teacher, I hope to empower my students to be independent learners. I plan to act as their facilitator. Great Job!

  2. Laura,
    Great post this week, my evaluation is based solely on your individual part of this assignment.

    "It is impossible for technology to be eliminated from society." Wonderful! There are still students that come into EDM 310 thinking that they are going to educate their future students with pencil and paper!

    "He emphasizes that the purpose of education is to engage the students and not entertain them. I agree completely." I am glad you agree, you will learn about different tools and resources throughout the semester, how you use them as an educator is up to you. It is your responsibility to make sure your students are engaged in the learning process because they retain information more.

    Great post this week, keep up the great work and you will be on your way to a 21st Century Educator!

  3. Laura,
    Great post this week, my Project #5 is based solely on your individual part of this assignment. I really like your quote "By evaluating the positive uses of technology in education and confronting the fears that most educators hold..." The main part I like about it is the "fears that most educators hold". I can agree that many teachers are afraid of using new technology in today’s classroom. Not because of fear of technology, but the fear that they themselves do not know how to use the technology. But in today’s world everyone including educators should be open to learning new things. Also another point you pointed out is the fear of "the misuse of technology in the classroom as entertainment instead of a conduit of knowledge." This is a very valid point, but as Robert defies this by arguing that “the tools provide temptation, but they are not the source of negative behavior”. In my opinion this means that we can guide the students into using technology for the learning purposes. And like Robert said we can use tools with technology to enforce students to only use technology for the sole purpose of education. I really enjoyed your blog, even if it was assignment!

  4. Laura,
    I really enjoyed reading your post about "Teaching in the 21st Century." I think you have a very enthusiastic writing style and I appreciate that. I agree with you that it is our responsibility to teach our students how to use the internet correctly. The only correction I would make at this time would be in the last sentence in paragraph 2, you said "I would go even further and says that..." I believe that should be say. Your post was great and I look forward to reading more posts from you this semester.
    Caitlin Hinton

  5. This comment relates to the collaborative part of this post:

    Thoughtful. Interesting.

  6. Laura,
    Great job on your individual summary! You have a very novelistic style of writing that I enjoy. Your summary is very thorough and well written. Great use of quotations and details as well, and I didn't notice any major grammatical errors. Nice work!