Sunday, February 26, 2012

Blog Post #5

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? 
     When I read Dr. Scott McLeod's post, I didn't know who he was; I have now found and read a biography of him on his website. He is a an associate professor at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches Educational Leadership. He is also the founder of a center dedicated to the leadership needs of school administrators. The center is the only one of its kind in the United States and is called the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education(Castle). 

     I really enjoyed reading Dr. McLeod's post, he makes some very valid points. His post seemed to be formed out of a frustration with the general lack of knowledge of technology that is found in much of the population. I think that because I've encountered so many people, in my own life, who have said such things to me, as "I'm worried that if I put any of my information online, then someone could come find me." This sentiment often spills over into the realm of parenting and thus, these parents are scared to let their children do much, if anything on the internet. Dr. McLeod's post brought many conversations back to my mind and really made me rethink some of the things that I was still a little apprehensive about, such as cyberbullying and online predators. However, with that said, I'm not completely flippant about these issues, but I have realized that with proper education and guidance- children will learn how to deal with each of these issues.
logo     When Travis Allen was a senior at a high school in Georgia, he realized that the education system was broken and decided to find a solution. He found it and created a video to inform the public. Mr. Allen uses his video to answer the question, "Does technology belong in our classroom?" He provides an answer by suggesting the use of the iSchool, which would be formed on Apple's iPod touch platform. He gives examples of many applications that currently exist on the iPod touch, including Email, WorldWiki, Recorder, Notes, and Scientific Calculator. Each of these apps could be used in the classroom, without any adjustment needed. He goes to suggest the possibility of customizable applications in which, each school could post their lunch menu or each students grades. Mr. Allen says that by using the iPod touch platform students would no longer need textbooks, pencils, paper, etc. He also explains that using the iPod instead of tradition tools for teaching, schools could save up to 600 dollars per student. Mr. Allen evens notes the possibility of limited internet access on the iPod's to only educational websites. Thus, he decided to form the iSchool Initiative, which is a 
group of corporations, Apple programmers, and businesses. 

     In the video ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry, Mr. Allen provides an update on the iSchool Initiative. It has gotten publicity worldwide. He is now a 20 year-old student at Kennesaw State University. His iSchool Initiative has developed into a group of 25 students who travel the United States informing others of the possibilities of mobile education. Mr. Allen even says that school around the world have decided to switch to mobile learning  via the iSchool initiative.

     Before I watched Mr. Allen's videos, I was unaware of many of the powerful educational applications that are available on the Apple iPod touch for usage by students. I knew about many of the applications that can be used by children with special needs, but I didn't realize how many applications were also available for classroom usage. They seem like such great resources. I think it would be very beneficial to have iPod's in the classroom and to use them as additional tools, but that they shouldn't be used as the only teaching tools. Children should have the ability to participate in many forms of learning. For example, in elementary school; the students should be able to learn through games, songs, playing, and technology. If iPod's are the solution to the need for technology, then I have no issue, but I think it's important to remember that children need time to play and learn without screens, as well. 

     I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir perform his piece 'Lux Aurumque', which means Light and Gold in Latin. I have been singing in various choirs since I was in 3rd grade and I think that it's a huge step for technology for choral singing to be able to be performed via the internet. I was very surprised, as a professional singer, at how "together" the choir remained during the performance, so I went to Mr. Whitacre's website and found out just how the performance was recorded. According to the website, each part is recorded while watching a video of Mr. Whitacre conducting the piece, then the part is uploaded to the Virtual Choir website. Mr. Whitacre uses all of the videos submitted in the final performance. I do think that an online performance loses some of the beautiful resonance that can be heard in a live performance, but this was still a wonderful performance.

Teaching in the 21st Century
     Kevin Robert's Prezi made some very good points. He seems to say that What it means to teach in the 21st Century is that educators must be prepared to fully engage students. Educators need to be able to allow students to creatively solve problems and come up with their own solutions. This means guided learning, but not hand-held learning. We need to have less hand-holding by teachers and more freedom to use technology.

     Teachers are going to need to really be educators. They need to educate for life skills. I think that the education system will change drastically because of this, but I don't think that I will have a problem changing with the system as I feel all educators should be fully-involved in actively engaging every child.

     I went to the website Reading Rockets and I found a wealth of information on how to help children learn how to read and for helping those who can read, but have difficulty. I found some great resources including, research articles, which covered nearly all aspects of reading from "Early literacy and preschool" to "Summer Learning and Out-Of-School Programs." These articles can be used for teacher education purposes and I'm sure there is much that I could learn from them.

     I also found a link some booklists based on a child's interest. If a child wants to read about the Olympics, animals, or even detectives, then there is a booklist available on Reading Rockets. The website even had podcasts and links to educational PBS television shows. I look forward to using this great resource in my future classrooms.


  1. Great post, Eleanor! You did a great job summarizing, as well as reading between the lines, relating it to the context, as well as your own personal feelings about teaching. Keep it up!

  2. Hey Eleanor!! You did a really great job summarizing everything. You really went into great detail explaining many points in your post. I thought it was great. I also enjoyed Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir. It was amazing how he could get all those people to come together and sing like that. Great job on the post and keep up the good work!!