“Escaping Education’s Death Valley”

Ken Robinson (Escaping Education’s Death Valley) and David Christian (World in 18 Minutes): Reflection

Ken Robinson begins by discussing the No Child Left Behind legislation and its ineffectiveness and goes on to explain how schools and education can be changed to better fit the students in America. There are three aspects of humans that Robinson mentions and then explains how the current system of education does not exist to help these flourish. Students in our school have curiosity, creativity, and diversity and the current standard-driven focus of our curriculum does not emphasize or use these characteristics. It is instead focused on conformity and compliance with a narrow window of required standards which results in the students being given “low grade clerical work.” Robinson asserts that  kids work best with a wide curriculum that celebrates and highlights their talents and strengths, which needs to allow for a diversity of teaching methods and assignments.

He also discusses the role of teachers as not simply being there to throw information at students, but should have a more involved and creative role as a mentor, a guide, a nurturer, and a resource for students to use as they explore the world around them. Teachers need to facilitate learning instead of the current method of teachers facilitating testing. Successful schools have been found to have more individualized learning for the students, to hold teachers in high regard and support and invest in their professional development, and allow schools to get education done rather than having federal committees and board members make rules and give instructions on how to teach. The responsibility needs to be given to the teacher.

I think Robinson has very good ideas on high the education system should be changed. There needs to be a shift of focus away from standards and away from removed federal politicians making the curriculum and instead allowing the teachers to teach. I also agreed with his point about countries with successful education programs supporting their teachers. Teaching is one of the most thankless jobs in America which I believe needs to be changed. By being given more freedom and support, teachers can create a creative and engaging environment for their students and allow them to explore and learn. Ken Robinson finished his talk with a quote about Death Valley which I related not only to the education system, but also something I will consider with my students: “Death Valley isn’t dead, it’s dormant. Right beneath the surface there are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about.” Even in elementary school, there will be students who may already feel discouraged or disengaged about learning and school. I feel it will be my job to nurture and grow those seeds of possibility in my students to help prepare for the world beyond standardized tests.

Technology as Student Empowerment

In a Des Moines TED talk, Scott McLeod discusses different ways children and teens are using the internet and technology in creative and new ways to reach out and interact with the world. Though the news always talks about the negative ways teens are using the internet, McLeod shows many examples where students are using technology for positive projects and change. The main example he uses throughout the talk are of a school girl named Martha who began a blog on her school lunch and eventually encouraged the school to change the lunches to more nutritious options as well as raising money to build kitchens in communities in Africa.

Technology has been shown to increase student engagement and participation as well as being a useful home learning tool but schools continue to lock down usage and restrict the students’ access. I believe this is mostly caused by fear of the students misusing the technology and possibly even liability issues. This attitude in schools is not beneficial and will only hinder schools that do not change their outlook. Teachers should be introducing their students to technology when they are young and then guiding them in their growth as they become digital citizens. The students need to be taught how to productively use the internet and technology resources just as they are taught to use any other tools they are introduced to in schools. Rather than control and fear, students need empowerment in their technology development. In keeping students away from technology, we are taking away an invaluable tool that surround the students in their worlds.

McLeod says that if we give the students something meaningful to work on and give them access to the tools, all educators need to do is get out of their way for them to learn and create. I hope to incorporate technology into my classroom to help responsibly prepare my students for the growing digital world.

What’s Kahoot all about?

Here’s a quick presentation about the social gaming site Kahoot. Teachers can use the site to create quizzes and games for the students to play to review and learn new material. It’s mostly a tool to be used in the classroom as it does require two devices, the screen for the questions and answer choices, and the player’s “controller”. the question and quiz creation tool was very user friendly and I think the kids would definitely enjoy the game aspect of it. The students get to compete and get points depending on how fast they can answer the question. While this might not be ideal for all students, such as those who may feel anxiety over time crunches, it’s still a tool I suggest teachers can try out and use to engage their students.

We’re in Kahootssss

Animal Adaptations Flipped Classroom

Here’s my video lesson on animal adaptations. This ended up being a harder assignment than I thought it would be because recording the video felt like lecturing and it took a little while to stop asking comprehension questions when there was no one to answer them. I think with practice this could definitely be a useful tool for my classroom. Not only for students to learn new material, but I think the flipped classroom videos can also help parents stay engaged in their students learning. If they can also access the content, they could be more able to ask deeper questions and give better homework help with their student at home. I also created a short quiz in Edmodo for the students to take to check for comprehension and make sure they viewed the video.

 

And here’s the edmodo code: awtr2d

https://www.edmodo.com/home

Digital Storytelling: The day the crayons quit!

My group and I recreated the story “The Day the Crayons Quit.” After deciding the story, we recreated the letters and the pictures to fit the dialogue. One of our group members rewrote the script to personalize the story for the rest of the group. For my part, I photographed and edited the pictures together, adding the heads of our group members to the various crayons. We all recorded our voices and another group member edited the recordings together with the images. See the finished product below!

Reading OpenEductation.net

I found this blog interesting and informative. The posts discussed and reported on studies and research on technology and it’s effects in schools. One of the posts I read explained the terms digital immigrants and digital natives and how the two groups differ in behavior and learning styles. All of the students I will encounter in my classroom will be digital natives and I will need to consider this when planning lessons and activities and deciding how best to reach my students. As my generation is also considered digital natives, I feel like this will not be the most challenging aspect of my classroom.

Another interesting post discussed the types of digital technology that the researchers predict will become commonplace in the classroom and how they can be used. Some of them, such as electronic books are already becoming widespread and their use will only increase. I would be interested to see if the blog has any posts about SES and the use of technology because as important and useful as technology can be, funding is required to come from either the family or the school to provide this and that may be an issue in some areas. These students may be disadvantaged as they enter higher education and the workplace.