Did You Know? 3.0
by John Strange
The mind-boggling information in this video made me want to time travel to the future just to see how all this shakes out. Lines of statistical data like 1,393,519 Google searches a minutes; 1,097,220 Youtube videos watched in one minute; and 11,453,577 SMS messages sent worldwide in that same minute, race across the screen with Sabate's Confusion playing in the background. It kinda made me feel like I was already there in the future. The population data regarding India and China was a bit skewed in my opinion. No one can argue with the fact that India and China have more people than the US or that that fact will continue to be true. I do question the stats comparing the IQ of US students to Indian students only for this reason: India's data is not inclusive. Many children in India never learn to read or go to school which means they are not tested. Meanwhile, US testing data would include most all students, and, yes, that means our special education students as well.
However, the Internet-based communication device usage data was phenomenal, especially considering some of it is already "old" information. A generation ago (about 20 years) words like Google searching, text messaging, emailing, and social cyber networking would have been found only in sci-fi movies. Now it is part of our social lexicon. The idea that technical students in their third year of instruction will already have to dismiss their first year of instruction gives us an idea of how fast this technology is growing. And it is not surprising to learn the Japanese are leading the way in providing these technologies faster. As educators, we have an awesome and exciting responsibility to prepare our students for jobs that do not exist yet and working with technology that has not been invented yet. I hope I am up to the challenge.
Mr. Winkle Wakes
by Mathew Needleman
The whole I-woke-up-100-years-later theme has always intrigued me. I read about people who live into their 90s or 100s and think how much the world has changed since they were born. Watching Mr. Wakes scratch his proverbial head at the workplace and hospital's advanced technical equipment made me laugh. I feel like I have fallen into a rabbit hole myself by taking Mr. Strange's EDM 310 class. I almost dropped the course but was encouraged by a former student "to hang in there." I will check back in with my "final reflections" on that subject at a later date.
Oddly, I had a much different experience than Mr. Wakes when I returned to the classroom after only a 20-year absence. Desks are not in rigid straight lines, teachers rarely lecture, computers are an integral part of the learning process, and even Kindergartners know more than I do about posting a Youtube video. Technology is in the 21st classroom, but how effective is it? Will it take another 100 years to find out?
Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity
by Ted Robinson
I have fallen victim to the "old fogey's" disease, the one where you lecture young people about getting math and science degrees and pursue art and dancing as a hobby. I did not start out that way. In college, I bought into the idea that if I learned what I loved, the magic would happen. My innocent belief hit hard cold reality in the 1970s economic turndown. Sometimes I thought my education was a hindrance more than a help in any job market, even and maybe especially, this one. So when Ted Robinson began his humorous and thoughtprovoking talk, I tried to dampen those old feelings of wanting to stand up, pump my fist in the air and say yes, yes, yes. Power to the people and all that!
I nodded when he told Gillian Lynne's story. An eight year old out of sync in an academic oriented classroom in the 1930s whose mother and doctor discovered that the real source of her "problem" in school was she did not fit in, she was a dancer. She needed to be in dancing school. For her, the fairy tale came true. She was the choreographer for the Broadway play Cats, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera.
But I just keep thinking is she the exception rather than the rule?
A Vision for 21st Century Learning
Suggested by Kenesha Brown Fall 2011
Harnessing available technology to give students room to grow and stretch their imagination with the teacher as a guiding mentor is not really a new concept. It just was never available on as massive a scale as it is now. It was once only for the privileged few like Leonardo de Vinci, Sir Issac Newton, Socrates or the Biblical Abraham. For centuries, the tutoring model was the favored form of education with its caveat being the best money can buy. While the "mass standardized response to the industrial revolution" of today's classroom may now in the 21st century seem woefully inadequate, it has educated generations that would never have had the opportunity like a Booker T. Washington, a Thomas Edison or a Maya Angelou.
That said, as the video points out, we have a rare opportunity to meld the best of the past with the technology of the present to create a future once only dreamed up in a science fiction novel. I say let's go for it. Who would not want to walk the streets of Rome in 3D?
Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
by Vicki Davis
A rural Georgia class takes a trip to the Middle East to participate in a flat-world conference? Thanks to teacher Vicki Davis and a very supportive school administrator, a "real" world order is quietly taking shape in her classroom. She has created an environment where children are sometimes her tutor, like learning the concept of terraforming, a true high for any educator. We all long for that opportunity to teach someone smarter than we are. Keeps us on our toes.
I see technology in the classroom as just another step in the educational evolution. We are teaching reading, writing and arithmetic in useful, real world application. A child in Bangladesh can reach out to a child in Mexico via technology provided by the United States, now that's a "real" world order.