Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blog Assignment #2

Harnessing Students Together

Vicki Davis and her video, "Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts," is very interesting.  Here, Ms. Davis tries to implement every form of technology into her curriculum.  This forces the young adults to learn how to learn in different and innovative ways.  Students work together to discover how to do new things and to do group projects.  They also get to connect with other students across the globe.

I have no problem with the use of computers in the classroom, as long as the curriculum is covered.  I just hope that students are reaching their full potential over the web if not on paper and through textbooks.  The thing I love the most about Ms. Davis's teaching technique  is that the students get the chance to work with kids their own age from all over the planet on something they have in common.  I think this could be an amazing experience for any student, and it is exciting to imagine how much more they could learn from each other.  This type of digital classroom has potential.

Making Room for Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson makes some really great points in his speech, "The Importance of Creativity."  He speaks of how important it is to incorporate the arts in education.  He also brings up the issue of being educated in a certain direction.  He says that kids are being educated in math, english, science, and history, but to what ends?  Are we educating our children to do what the world says they should do, or are we allowing them to use the gifts they are given to do what they want?  Who's to say they won't be successful?

I agree with Sir Robinson.  Children should be given equal opportunities in the classroom.  Some kids enjoy learning about history, while others can think best on the stage.  What makes one thing more important than the other?  Children should have more options as to what they pursue in their life.  You might say, "Well, don't they have those options?"  I raise the question.  Do they really?  If we are training and teaching our kids to be a certain type of person, than we are taking away those choices.  We aren't only taking away their creativity.  We are taking away their ability to be. 

Mr. Winkle's Nightmare

After watching the Youtube video Mr. Winkle Wakes, some interesting ideas were brought into my mind.  I think the video was raising the question of whether increasing technology is  a good thing or a bad thing.  It is especially pertinent in the field of education because we are dealing with children not job-seeking adults.  Is technology in schools beneficial or unnecessary in the classroom?  Here's what I think.

In my opinion, technology is very important for kids to know how to use, especially if they are pursuing a career that uses computers regularly.  In this day and age, it's hard to think of a career that doesn't.  However, I think that students should be required to take a class or classes specific to learning how to use a computer.  I don't think this class should overlap other subjects.  Computers can be distracting and ultimately irrelevant.  A computer cannot teach like a teacher can.  Call me old-fashioned, but computers can make the school experience cold and impersonal.  Every kid needs a knowledge of computer technology, but every kid also needs to know how to study and learn without relying on a computer.

Does Anyone Really Know?

In response to the Youtube video "Did You Know? 3.0," I have several things to say.  I found it extremely interesting and equally alarming at times.  It has a lot to say about humanity in general and the growth of technology all over the globe.  The video had a shocking effect on me, and I learned some statistics and facts that I had never heard before.  Overall, I liked it for several reasons, and I was discouraged for different reasons.

First of all, it does make the often disregarded point that our country, the United States, is not as "high and mighty" as it's reputation communicates.  The truth is that other countries are growing rapidly, and ours is falling deeper and deeper into debt.  Countries like Japan, China, and India are educating differently, and the intelligence of their children shows it.  They are incorporating the English language and creating new technologies.  On the other hand, one thing I disliked about the video was when it compared the human brain and race to increasing computer technology.  Believe me.  I am all about technology, but I find the idea of a computer being greater than the human race hard to grasp.  Honestly, I find it offensive.  Computers may be able to get you information, store records, and entertain you, but they are highly impersonal.  Do computers have emotion or feelings?  Do they have beliefs or original ideas?  Can you have a relationship with your computer?  Does it keep you warm at night?  

By saying all this, I am only making the point that you cannot create something that is beyond our understanding.  You can't replace a race with RAM.  You can't replace a human with a hard-drive.

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