Friday, February 4, 2011

Blog Post 3

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today
Michael Wesch
When I graduated from USA in 2008 I had never seen or heard of a smartboard. I never had an e-companion class or turned in a single assignment online. However, my class sizes were small ranging from fifteen to twenty people and since I was a Philosophy major with an English minor, most classes centered on discussion and writing papers. Coming to the College of Education was a total change. Every room has a smartboard and every class has e-companion. Every project or paper we complete is loaded to foliotek. We are expected in most classes to have a working knowledge of technology. Almost every class I have had as an Education major has been hands-on focusing on doing and then analyzing our experiences. The papers written are few and the use of text books is mixed with, or completely replaced by, online sources. The one class where I felt I was simply a number and I wasn't really getting hands-on experience was the on-line class I had last semester. The assignment, every week, was "Read the chapter, write a paragraph, complete a ten question quiz."
If I was to add something to the video it would be that sometimes the lack of technology is not as bad as the misuse of it. I would rather have a teacher who is passionate about their subject present interesting, challenging assignments on a chalkboard than have an on-line professor who offers no feed back, no thought provoking lectures and nothing even resembling a community of learners. How can we take classes seriously when they are the antithesis of the classrooms we are being told to create?

It's Not about the Technology.
Edurati website logo: A green apple made to look like a globe
Ms. Hines first point is that teachers must be learners. There are several reasons this is important. First, we need to keep up with how our students are using technology. If we lose track of how our students are communicating with one another and getting information outside of school we will lose our ability to reach out to them in their medium. Next, we need to constantly be perfecting our craft. We need to learn better ways to teach and new programs to give our students access to more information. Finally, we need fresh ideas to keep ourselves engaged; if we constantly teach the same lesson plans in the same ways we will lose our own excitement and our classes will suffer for it.
Her next point is that learning and teaching are not the same thing. Ms. Hines says "If an object does not move, no matter how much force has been applied, no work has been done. Therefore, if a student has not learned, not matter how much effort has been exerted, no teaching has been done." This is so well stated. Even if we have the best technology, if the kids are not learning from it we are wasting our time. As teachers we should constantly be assessing our lessons to ensure that they are effective.
The third point Ms. Hines makes is that technology is useless without good teaching. A bad, boring lesson plan presented on a smartboard is still a bad, boring lesson plan. Our students might be curious about new technology the first time they see it but if the teaching is not there the kids will soon lose interest. A good lesson plan can be enhanced by technology but does not rely upon it.
The fourth and final point Ms. Hines makes is that we can be good teachers without technology. As long as we are teaching our kids how to learn they will be able to teach themselves new technology as they come across it. If we nurture their curiosity they will seek out new challenges and new information. When we build on their critical thinking skills we are giving them the tools to overcome obstacles to learn new ideas. Of course it is preferable to incorporate technology to make learning exciting and expose our students to the world of technology but it is not, in itself, enough to make a good teacher. Computers, after all, are only tools.

Is it Okay to be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher?
Karl Fisch
In his article Karl Fisch expresses his frustration with a culture of technological illiteracy in schools. He describes teachers who are unwilling to learn. We cannot let ourselves fall behind and forget to be what we are trying to make our students. It is dishonest for us to stand in front of our classes and preach lifelong learning and then come up with excuses for not staying current in what may be the most pervasive piece of our culture. It's not impossible to teach well without technology but it is impossible to teach our kids to be technologically literate if we do not continue to educate ourselves on the subject. It is so easy to say that we do not have time, or we are just not good at something. It is much harder to get up the bravery to admit we do not know something and make a real effort to learn.

Gary's Social Media Count.
This table illustrates the point that the world of knowledge is expanding. Every second people are uploading new videos, and blog posts, and tweets. We, as educators, are responsible for figuring out what in this sea of information is important for our students. We are also responsible for teaching them to navigate the internet in a productive way. The table also shows how many ways people now have to communicate. Information now is more accessible than ever before. We can instantly know of new developments being made all over the world. This counter really shows that we have to embrace the ideas of being lifelong learners because the world is changing rapidly. The ideas of today will soon be replaced and we must teach our students to function in an ever evolving world.

1 comment:

  1. "...sometimes the lack of technology is not as bad as the misuse of it. " Good point. I think this is what Kelly Hines is also addressing!

    A key question: "How can we take classes seriously when they are the antithesis of the classrooms we are being told to create? "

    Yes, but we cannot take total responsibility for whether our students learn or not. I have 19 in EDM310 this semester that have not done a single assignment and a half-dozen more that have done only one or two assignments. We are completing Week 4 of 16 (that's 25%). I see my responsibility as creating an environment in which students can learn. If they choose not to, am I responsible?

    "Computers, after all, are only tools." So many people miss this central point!

    Well written, thoughtful, well reasoned. Excellent. Keep up the good work! Thanks!