Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Post #2

"Professor Dancealot"

As I began watching the Professor Dancealot, I couldn’t help but laugh.  We’ve all been there. In a classroom, with a teacher who thinks they are doing a fantastic job of relaying information to their students, but in fact are accomplishing just the opposite.  Reading power points verbatim is a huge pet peeve of mine.  Students learned to read years ago, and should not have to have the teacher read each bullet point for them.  Students should be engaged in the learning process.  
I have heard high school teachers say that they  refuse to become entertainment for their students.  However, just because a teacher uses techniques other than traditional lecturing to teach the class doesn’t mean that they are reduced to a classroom clown.  In band class, you can not learn to march by looking at powerpoint slides and listening to a teacher drone on about how you should hold your instrument and walk.  You only learn by getting out there in the 100 degree heat and just doing it.  The directors will then tell you what you are doing wrong, and show you how to do it correctly.  
Professor Dancealot tried to teach dancing by lecturing, a truly ridiculous idea.  But sometimes it takes an extreme example for people to wake up and realize that they are being just that...ridiculous.  Unfortunately, there are teachers out there who laugh at this video, never realizing that they too are teaching in such a non-hands-on way.  Perhaps school administrators should video teachers so that they could see for themselves how they are, and also how their students are reacting to their teaching methods.  As technology become even more prevalent in our society, I suspect that teachers like Professor Dancealot will feel even more uncomfortable with engaging their students in interactive learning.  I really want to take a ballroom dancing course before I graduate from college, but now I’m just a slight bit hesitant, fearing that I will encounter Professor Dancealot in person!

"The Networked Student" (Cody Tippins)

Connectivism theory, as shown in the video, “The Networked Student” by Wendy Drexler, says that “learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties.”  Connectivism enlists the use of technology as tools, but keeps the connections more important than those tools.  Students are empowered because the teacher does not simply expect students to memorize and then regurgitate information, rather the teacher guides the students to learn information in a different way by a personal learning network.  I agree that technology is changing the way students learn, but with all the incorrect information out there on the internet, I am not sure that this means that students will have an easier time with the learning process.
It is extremely important that the information gathered is validated.  Otherwise, incorrect information can infiltrate the learning process.  Various bits of information are gathered from many URLs and posted together, creating a new network.  These groups of URLs and then shared along with blogs, which often also contain opinions.  All of this information is then shared in a new blog that can be shared with the world.   Blogs can be shared through video sharing site, or wiki, or a voice thread.  Each blogger can share how they have organized information that they have personally gathered.  It obviously will be important that the students develop a sense of what is true versus what someone made up.  There will always be room in the learning environment for memorization of facts, but it seems as though this will become less and less of an issue in the future.  
Teachers will still be needed because they will guide the students in how to build their networks and how the information should be gathered.  Teachers also aid in proper communication of the information gathered and how students should go about asking for new or additional information.  There is also proper  etiquette on getting help from experts.  Teachers also are helpful in teaching discernment between good and bad information.   If students can learn to distinguish between information that is valid and that which is not, many who find rote memorization of facts, should find the  teacher who uses connectivism theory in their classroom, a breath of fresh air.

"Teaching in the 21st Century" (Kayla Christie)

To me, Roberts thinks in order to teach in the 21st century, we must venture away from standardized teaching and learn how to adapt with the technological changes happening around us. As an elementary student, I do not ever remember other kids having cellphones in school, but now, it seems as if every child has one! He sees teaching changing in a way like the world. The world does not stop moving and changing and neither can we as educators. He is saying we must change our forms of teaching according to the new changes in the availability and use of technology. Along with Roberts, I agree we must make our lessons engaging with the technology as well as challenging. Roberts’s point of view tells that we should change our teaching from “why is the sky blue?” to “why is the sky blue? Explain, justify, and evaluate your opinion and research.” We have to change our forms of teaching from objective to subjective, and get the children to think about the answers to the question instead of just finding the answers. I think Roberts’s point of view on 21st century learning and teaching is spot-on, and as an educator, I will have to think more critically about my lessons as much as my students will have to think critically about their answers because of this point of view. As educators, we are constantly learning, and I think acquiring this new skill set of teaching will improve the students’ abilities to learn. I think this, because they are so easily able to look up the answers to the questions that teachers commonly ask. With this new way of teaching, the students cannot just look up any answer. They have to think outside of the box and use their creativity. In conclusion, we must stray away from being just like the economics teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day off, and become teachers of engagement!

"Harness Your Students Digital Smarts" (Chelsea Hadley)

Vicki has her high school level students really getting involved, interacting and truly learning. If I would have had more teachers who would have taught through technology and student interaction when I was growing up, I might have paid a lot more attention and learned much more information because hands-on is the best way of learning to me. In the video Ms. Davis talks about all the ways the students are learning and mentions how awesome it is to the students when they figure things out together and alone. I agree because when I work really hard and figure stuff out on my own it makes me feel great about myself. It makes you feel like you have accomplished something on your own instead of someone helping you and that is how this EDM310 class makes me feel. Vicki Davis states that "Not all students can learn with just pencil and paper." I so agree with her because I am one of them students. Not only does it make you learn and makes you do it on your own but students are also able to become comfortable with technology. I think making students think it out on their own and solving it on their own is an awesome strategy and other teachers should really try it.

"Flipping the Classroom" (Chelsea Hadley)

Flipping the classroom is a wonderful idea that I wish we had when I was in school. It gives children the opportunity to start their day prepared and ready to learn. Students can watch lectures online before the class so that they can learn and know what they will be learning about before they actually learn and talk about it in class. This opens up many doors for one-on-one learning at school. I think it is a great idea and would save a lot of time in class learning about it unless some students don’t watch the videos before class which means to me that really don’t care. This whole idea seems motivating, exciting and effective and I would love to use this in my classroom one day!