Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blog post #2

did you know video

Technology in our daily lives is at an all time high. Because of our advances in technology we produce and consume more every day. In their video Did You Know 3.0 Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod use a slide show filled with statistics to demonstrate how advanced the human race is today compared to our less electronic past. Our progress is traveling at a rate no one could have ever imagined, and this video leaves you with a confused what is next feeling.

People are starving for information, and they are not willing to wait for it. The video asks what people did before Google was created. How did they learn anything? Well, they may have went to a library, and the theme of this presentation is accurate in stressing that people are not patient enough to walk to a library and browse for a book in order to entertain themselves or obtain information. I personally do not agree with the notion that one day a computer will computer will be smarter than me. While I understand that computers are useful, my existence as a human does not depend on my computer being operational; it needs me to turn the power switch on.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

Mr. Winkle Wakes, by Matthew Needleman, is an obvious reference to the famous book Rip VanWinkle. Matthew's narration in the short movie is mocks the Mr. Winkles of the world that are stuck in past. Mr. Winkle is confused by all the gadgets that were not in existence when he first went to sleep. This video is an exaggeration of how no one can function or sustain life in today's technological society. The maker of this movie even gives the impression that a teacher cannot effectively teach an interesting and knowledgeable lesson without the aid of a computer, and do not agree with him entirely on this matter.

However, computerized equipment in our world is quite useful. Advances in technology have given special needs students in today's classrooms opportunities a special needs child fifty years ago would have never dreamed of. And that alone makes being a technologically literate teacher a good thing. It is important that we make good use of the advantages we have today in order to benefit our children in every way possible.

But, it does seem little unfair to pick on people like Mr. Winkle. Sure, he needs to catch up with the times, but daily dependency on advanced technology can be equally ignorant. Fancy gadgets that make life easier should never become a crutch. A good teacher should be able to teach a lesson with or without the use of a smart board. We will not be helping our children or ourselves by sending the message of technological dependency.

The Importance of Creativity

The Importance of Creativity, by Sir Ken Robinson, is an awesome video about school killing the creativeness of our children. Robinson mentions that the arts are at the bottom of the list of importance for most school curricula. He emphasizes that kids today must focus on important subjects that will help them become successful in their adult life. Emphasis is constantly placed on math and science because a good background in either area usually leads to a more successful adult life. Meaning, these areas provide jobs that make the most money.

But not all kids are meant to live a life requiring higher math skills or a greater understanding of scientific data. These kids are sometimes, but not always, special needs children. Robinson gave an outstanding example of a little girl from the 1930s who could not seem to be still long enough to concentrate or learn much of anything. They noticed that she liked to dance to the radio and decided to allow her to focus on dancing. She attended a school for dance and has become a very successful and educated person. Robinson notes that today we would probably diagnose the child with a disorder and rely on some wonder drug to point her in the "right" direction toward a successful adult life. If this had been done to her, she would have never become the woman she was truly meant to be. As adults and teachers, we need to spend more time listening to our children, and we should focus on the the things they are good at instead of trying to "correct" them. Learning at school can be creative as well as productive and should be.

The Scholastic article is about the U.S. needing to "catch up" with the more advanced countries like Finland. We also need to develop a better "balance" in the curriculum, particularly in science and art. Ken Robinson believes it is a "myth" that some people are not creative. The interview with Ken Robinson done by Cecilia Gault discusses that everyone possesses some creativity.

In fact, I am not a math or computer genius, and I am sure anyone reading this blog will be shocked to that find out. However, like Robinson and Gault, I believe these things are important. My creativity does not lie with computers or mathematics, but it may for someone else. The guy who invented face book has a clear gift for the computer. And that is an example of Robinson's theory of intelligence being "diverse." Intelligence is just like shoes; it comes in different styles and sizes.

Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts follows highlights a classroom in rural Georgia in which teacher Vicki Davis has her students using computers to the maximum extent. Ms.Davis takes pride in her students ability to teach themselves and collaborate with each each other. They even teach her something new every day. She has achieved an environment in her classroom filled with learning. There seems to be no wasted time, and the students value the time as much or more than their teacher.

I was extremely impressed by the enthusiasm of her students. Kids being this excited about school is truly amazing. Her students are not forced to learn; they want to learn. I wish my high school computer room had looked like Ms. Davis's. Her computer lab would have been extremely beneficial to me. I encourage and applaud all teachers like Ms. Davis. Her classroom is creative as well as productive.

1 comment:

  1. Kevin,

    I am very impressed with your blog post! It is very detailed and you have told exactly what you believe without holding back. You have so many notable quotes that I love! Here are my favorites:

    "While I understand that computers are useful, my existence as a human does not depend on my computer being operational; it needs me to turn the power switch on."

    "Fancy gadgets that make life easier should never become a crutch."

    "Intelligence is just like shoes; it comes in different styles and sizes."

    These all show your opinion in a very effective way and I am glad you are thinking critically. My only criticism to your post is to be sure you proof read it a couple of times before posting because there were a few times where you repeated some words. Otherwise, GREAT JOB and I cannot wait to read your next post!