Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blog Post 5

Don't teach your kids this stuff please by Scott McLeod, co-author of a popular video series Did You Know? (Shift Happens), is a finely tuned piece of sardonic humor about not teaching students how to utilize the Internet so "his" kids will have a leg up in 10 years. It is clever, in that gotcha kind of way. There are dangers on the web, and I would be worried about any instructor that does not acknowledge that. Are those dangers of enough concern to dismiss any technical instruction? Absolutely not. Are the dangers real enough to consider proceeding with caution? Absolutely! A better debate among educators would be to what extent and how do we protect our children as they learn about the web. I want "my" children to be web ready and web cautious.

Travis Allen's iSchool Initative is a fun glimpse into a future that is already here as he points out. Taking EDM 310 is an exercise in that brave new world. I am impressed that Allen followed up with his original idea by forming a nonprofit organization. Being digitally connected to every aspect of your school including what's for lunch has its advantages. I like the idea that parents can be brought into the mobile connection to help a student having difficulty with a particular project. This could be especially helpful for at-risk students who can fall further behind.

While I can appreciate the cost effectiveness of trading in pen and paper for electronic devices, I keep coming back to one serious issue. What if the electronic device fails? Suppose an EMI actually happens. What then? You are going to need to know how to use that pen, make that calculation on paper, or retrieve that information from your head. Electricity does go offline in natural disasters. So if we decide as educators to embrace that brave new world for a cost savings of only about $450 per student, how do we ensure continued, uninterrupted availability? Perhaps Allen and his nonprofit organization can address this issue as well.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir singing Lux Aurumque was an amazing blend of technology and music. I wonder what it felt like to practice without having the others around for pitch and tone. While I do not think it can compete with the experience of listening to a choir perform in real time, it shows you what can be done to unite music lovers in a way never before imagined.

Now here is a very thoughtprovoking video from Kevin Roberts, addressing the purpose of teaching in our technology drenched society. In Teaching 21st Century Students, Roberts suggests that content learning is no longer applicable; skill teaching is the new paradigm. He makes an excellent case that content is already out there; what we as educators need to concentrate on is teaching our students how to negotiate the influx of content. What is reliable? What is useful? I am going to post this on FB, and see what other teachers and friends think. Hey, is Washington listening?

I love it when my classes overlap. RED 330 is teaching instruction. I am struggling to understand phonological and phomemic awareness because, frankly, I was not taught to read that way. What a treasure trove Reading Rockets is. Thank you Anthony Capps! Topics like classroom strategies, helping struggling students, free downloads, and learning resources are only a few of the pages to discover. The Phonics & Decoding videos are going to be very handy for me. I need verbal instruction to learn about phonemes.

I found the two blogs particularly enticing. I really like seeing real life application of what our instructors teach us and how (and if) it relates to actual classroom teaching. Check out both Sound It Out and Page by Page.

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