Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blog Post 2

Did you know?
question marks

This video is a discussion on the ever quickening evolution of technology. It shows ways in which technology has redefined our world in recent years, and leads us to consider how this might affect us in the future. I think the most important issue presented by this video is that the world is becoming technologically advanced at an ever increasing rate. The world is destined to change quickly in ways that we cannot yet imagine.
At the end of the video the author poses the question, "What does it mean?" As teachers I think it means that we need to prepare our kids for the unknown. This means focusing on teaching them how to be creative. The video mentions that in 50 years anyone will be able to buy a computer that can out think even the smartest of our species. So how will our kids compete with these machines? We need to focus on teaching our kids how to use the resources they have in a productive and inventive way. We can't train them on technology that doesn't exist but, we can teach them how to learn so that when they are introduced to something new we have nurtured their curiosity and their critical thinking skills to the point that not only are they able to figure out how it works but they want to figure out how it works.

Mr. Winkle Wakes
a cartoon Mr.Winkle in an office setting

This video presents a dichotomy in the world as Mr. Winkle views it. After his 100 year sleep he wakes to find two worlds. One, the world of business and medicine and modern technology, is overwhelming and filled with things he cannot understand. The other, the schoolroom, a place where technology is ignored and things are still done in ways that old Mr. Winkle can understand.
I think the purpose of this video is to highlight that although schools should be the first to embrace new technology and be places always at the forefront of knowledge, they are usually left behind due to stagnant ideology about how and what kids should learn. I think another point made by the video is that these kids know what's out in the real world and they're bored by an education system that by and large ignores that the world is changing and the skills that were useful 50 years ago are obsolete today. Unlike Mr. Winkle, the kids in our classrooms aren't likely to be overwhelmed by technology, instead they're apt to be underwhelmed by the lack thereof. If we want our kids to be able to function in society we need to teach them how to use the technology that is so much a part of their culture to accomplish more than a facebook status.

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.
Ken Robinson

Ken Robinson brings up several interesting points in his video. First, he discusses the innate abilities of children that are so often overlooked or suppressed by our current system of education. I agree completely with him that our current system stifles children who do not conform to the math and language centered curriculum that is forced upon them as they sit quietly in their desks for seven hours a day. It is so easy to ignore those parts of a child that can't be shown to improve on a standardized test. I feel however, that if we can find a way to uncover each child's unique talent and show them how to use that genius that they already possess to understand the subjects they find less interesting, or less intuitive, that we really benefit the whole child.
Another point I found interesting in this talk is that we educate our children to function as factory workers. This is no longer a useful goal. It is no longer in the best interest of our
students or our country as a whole to educate students on how to quietly follow directions. We need to be teaching our students to innovate and explore the world around them. As teachers it is our responsibility to ensure that we find the talent in each of our students and encourage and nurture that natural ability so that they are able to succeed in all of their lessons.

Cecilia Gault Interviews Ken Robinson.
Cecilia Gault

What an excellent experience for Ms. Gault! I loved how serious and well spoken she was in the interview. I think it is also worthwhile to note that a student is discussing education. I think as teachers we should always look first to our students to know what we are doing right and wrong.
I think that as teachers we should look first to our students and make sure we acknowledge their learning styles as we prepare our lessons. Not every child will get the same thing out of every lesson so I think it's important to present valuable information in several different ways. We should also encourage them to ask questions and search for answers on their own.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
Vicki Davis

Wow! So many great things in this video. First, the kids are using all types of media to accomplish tasks instead of just being told what to think and then following instructions. Second, the kids are learning to collaborate with one another as well as students from other cultures. Finally, students are learning to teach one another and learn from their peers.
What an amazing experience for students to have! Learning at the high school level that people all over the world are our peers and not just the people who look and talk and think the way we do. I think the kids in the video collaborating with students from the middle east took much more important lessons than just how to use blogs.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A collage made from the words in my introductory post

Blog Post 1

Hi there! My name is Megan Simmons. I'm 25 and I live near campus with my little Scottish terrier named Nietzsche and my two roommates. I grew up in Laplace, Louisiana, a small New Orleans suburb in the middle of a swamp. I moved to Mobile when I was 16 and graduated from Robertsdale High School. My first two years of college I changed my major a few times and finally settled on philosophy. I loved being a philosophy major and exploring different schools of thought and playing with logic problems. I received my bachelor's degree in philosophy in May of 2008 and then, well, I tried to figure out what I was doing for a couple of years. I considered everything from joining the Peace Corps to going to law school. Finally, after working as a paralegal for a while I realized that I really wanted to be an Elementary school teacher in New Orleans.
Why do I want to be a teacher? I love kids. I love how weird and absurd they can be and how curious and excited about the world they are. I love seeing how they work things out and interpret their world. When I graduate I plan to move to New Orleans and teach in an inner-city school. I feel like I have a connection to the culture and the people there and I know that they have a need for good teachers. I'm particularly interested in the Critical Theory philosophy of education. I think kids growing up in the inner-city of New Orleans need to be empowered and taught the value of their own culture and learn to draw strength from what they already know and build on that knowledge.