Dr. Richard E. Miller's This is How We Dream Part 1 & 2 describes incremental and fundamental changes in tomorrow's classrooms. His examples are perfect for what I consider the best and worst of that possible future classroom. In Miller's view, using the Internet to research information and create dated versions of information to get it out there on the net is an incremental change. You just did it faster, easier, and got it out there in a more accessible form quicker. I agree. The fundamental change is when we actually use the web to design the material in a more digitally and visually appealing form. He admits we are not there yet in the "how to." He feels it is our duty to create the environment that will foster inspiring pedagogues, inspiring spaces, and inspiring teachers.
One of Miller's examples of the fundamental change is the work of artist Jonathan Harris. The specific work mentioned by Miller is The Whale Hunt. As I understand it, both men are in agreement on bringing an emotional or human touch to the Internet experience. This is commendable but frankly also fraught with serious pitfalls. This is a subjective piece of art and literature. It is designed to open your eyes, and provoke a desired response. In and of itself, this is not a "bad" thing. But I wonder what happened to objectivity? A just-the-facts-ma'am approach.
Are we in our desire to utilize all that is out there not falling into the same trap science has tumbled into so very often. There was once reason to believe the earth was flat. It looked flat which is all the information they had at hand. Take a look at the end of the horizon on Mobile's very own bayway and tell me why it is not flat. They also believed the oceans held monsters. (Hmmm, maybe they were right about that one.) For years, scientists believed gold could be made or that the sun revolved around the earth. We laugh at some of these notions now. My point is that we are in the same danger of sharing a sort of information arrogance. So for me the question becomes how as a 21st Century teacher do I guide my students through the best of the Internet without creating mind-numbed robots or cynical skeptics?
Carly Pugh's idea of Youtube playlist is priceless on many different levels. Hands down for me as a substitute teacher, An Average Day in the Classroom! nails what it feels like. Funny when I started EDM310, my biggest fear was learning the technology. Now my biggest fear is getting too caught up in the technology. By patterning her evolving teaching philosophy through her playlist, Pugh is becoming a Dr. Miller educator. Again, I find myself questioning the obvious. Am I alone in viewing Think Different and thinking, did "different" begin and end with the civil rights' movement? However, perhaps that is the point of Pugh's choices. We can allow our students to discover why are we different and where will diminishing that difference lead us.
I am still laughing over EDM310 for Dummies. Jamie Lynn Miller nailed my feelings over the class. And Poppy was hysterical as the typical spokesperson for an infomercial. Seriously, I would love to get my hands on a copy of the book. I experience the same ongoing frustration when I link to the class blog and see another change. And yet when I start to delve into the material, I like it. I want to go back and do things better. However, time catches up with me, and before I can master, say Prezi, I have to move on to the next big thing. The book might give me some shortcut tips. Anyone have a pirated copy out there they are willing to sell me under the table for cold hard cash? I watched The Chipper Series the first week of class. It resonated with me then because I think we all want to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow now only to discover it takes work and time.
I see a tremendous need for both instructional videos and a way to get them into the teachers' hands. It is my experience that too many teachers are unaware of the value of these programs or perhaps lack the general technical know how. The desire is there. The resources/materials are there. How do you connect the dots? Sending an instructional video on say Prezi and posting on Youtube will not get to the majority of teachers. Dr. Strange is dead on about this, we have got to get globally connected for educational purposes. Right now, we are only becoming socially globally connected, and sometimes that can make an education connection. It is too slow a process. Instructionally we have only made, as Dr. Miller called it, incremental changes. We can put a powerpoint presentation on Youtube with great graphics and powerful music. But we have yet to reach the stage where we are putting content in graphic design instantly available to every classroom. I am not a globally minded individual, so for me to say we have to go the next global level, is a strong statement of belief in sharing educational experiences and opening educational doors for every shall I say earthling? What will get us there is technical know how and connection. The creativity is and has always been there. That is where I would begin.
Well according to Learn to Change, Change to Learn, creating a global learning community is in the works. Odd, but when I hear people say the things I am thinking in my head, I get nervous instead of excited. Why? Because if I sat down with those same people with whom I share the same ultimate teaching goal, I know we would disagree vehemently on content validity. That is where I begin to draw back from the global educational community. The Internet and the computer only have what is put there. GIGO theory. So who is to say what is valid? Who is going to edit what we send our children out to find? Reaching across cultural lines sounds awesome until you realize some cultures think arming a young child with a mental disability and giving him the opportunity to shoot other children is acceptable and even commendable. That is admittedly a dramatic example, but there are others less dramatic and more controversial between educators themselves, i.e., intelligent design vs. evolution. Who is right? We do not actually know. If I sent a student out to research say, intelligent design, will he/she recognize it is just one theory in many? Or will that student be swayed by impassioned but perhaps incorrect information? Should we not deal with that before we go down this path?
Scavenger Hunt: The Game is Afoot!
Video Tool: Photo Peach is a free video tool to make fun and instructional video slideshows to include graphics and music. You can sign up using your Facebook account. In easy-to-understand instructions, you can create, share and embed your slideshow through most of the social networking sites. I found Project Polar Bear fun, maybe because I am a sucker for dogs and had a husky/lab mix who shared my life for a too short number of years.
Social Networking Tool: I signed up with Classroom 2.0. While free to join, there is a short vetting process. I will be gmailed when (if?) I am accepted. The site provides access to over 60,000 members in 181 countries. Some of the forum topics I scanned included: How to Keep Students Writing Out of School, Which is Better to Use in the Classroom Twitter or Facebook?, and instaGrok, a new interactive learning tool I am excited to delve into. I hope I get accepted!
Comic Tool: I choose this tool because frankly I tried the poll tool and could not embed it. So I gave up and moved on to Make Beliefs Comix! This was quite easy to do. Had canned figures and backgrounds. Not much to customize. Free! I did find that I could not easily embed. I ended up printing, scanning and uploading. Probably is an easier way, I just could not figure it out.