Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blog Post 5

          Krissy Venosdale, author of the blog "Venspired", took a different approach to 'thinking outside of the box'. In her blog post, If I Built A School, Mrs. Venosdale has a dream that is one for the world to know. Mrs. Venosdale dreams of building a school in which everything is creative, colorful, imaginative, inspiring, but yet educational. The school Krissy speaks of would the most amazing school to ever attend and also to teach at. In her post she announced that the teachers would have their own special parking spots with a sign decorated by a student telling them what they mean to them. So it would be the first and last thing the teacher sees every day throughout the school year. That statement truly brought me to tears. Teachers do need to constantly be reminded how much they are needed. Its so easy for teachers to loose focus and forget the wonderful things about teaching. I see it happen way to often in school systems.
          As for me my "dream school" might be a lot like Mrs. Vendosdale's. Every classroom would have something unique about it. From different types of chairs to sit in to different paintings on the walls. We would have class outside on nice days. Field trips would be recommended. Teachers wouldn't be afraid to do things outside of the curriculum, in fact that would be a requirement for teachers upon the interview process. The halls would be decorated with colorful paintings and collages. The students work would be displayed for the whole school to acknowledge. Our science labs would ACTUALLY have science experiments. The grade levels would be non-existence. The students would advance depending on their knowledge and skills. We would have "exploratory classes" once a day and the students would pick any class they wanted to go to depending on their interests, i.e.. kayaking, french braiding, mountain climbing, swimming, etc. The school I imagine would be a place that students would actually want to come to. Not a school that students dread getting up every morning for. That also reminds me, school time would not be from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. School would be at a reasonable 10-3, and there would be a "before 10" program for the parents who need to go to work before the child goes to school that would offer a place for the students to relax and enjoy themselves before the school day starts. This is my dream school.. far fetched, but hey who says dreams can't come true?

Virtual Choir
           Eric Whitacre's Virtual choir is pretty inspiring. Who knew technology would ever advance so far as to having 100 plus people from around the world sing together through a computer. When I first began watching this video I was amazed the talent then as I watched more I realized everyone was singing to their computers and this conductor pieced it all together to become one amazing choir. It is astonishing the amount of technology that is consumed in this world. I feel like every assignment Dr. Strange has given us I learn something new about a piece of technology. In a way its really scary because I feel technology is taking over, yes in a bad way. But I do understand that technology has been good for our world and that for the ability of man kind to create such wonderful things as a virtual choir just blows my mind. It really gives people a chance to stay connected from across the world. 

Teaching In The 21st Century
            In this video that Dr. Strange revised from a blog post by Kevin Roberts, it talks about the tools of technology being used in the classroom for 21st century educators. Kevin Roberts talks about the students engaging in more online work than work from a book where you sit down with a pencil and piece of paper. I have to be honest. After first watching this video I had to go back and watch it a second time because I though I misunderstood what Mr. Roberts was trying to say and took his words out of context, but after reviewing the video again I was not wrong. I disagree with a lot of this video and a lot of what Kevin Roberts wants the 21st century educators to teach. Now don't get me wrong, technology can be a good source to teach from but in moderation in my opinion. As I have expressed in previous blog posts assignment I am not the biggest fan with fully integrating technology into the classroom. I think it will kill creativity by all means. True art such as painting with real paint and drawing with a real pencil and piece of paper will be out the door. Students will not know how to use handwriting let alone cursive. What would happen if for some reason the world lost all technology? Like a glitch in the system went wrong and we never had computers, cell phones, ipods, tablets, smart boards, cameras, etc. ever again. How do you think this new world would function? If these "21st century" teachers solely taught with computers and the internet and no student knew how to research using a real book from a real library then how would students learn? They couldn't. They would be to dependent on technology that they wouldn't even know how to write a letter. Like I said, I am not solely against technology but I am solely against the full use of it in the classroom which is what I got from the views of Kevin Roberts. If Kevin Roberts is right about technology in the classroom, I believe as an educator we will not be needed. I believe that the jobs of teachers will be nonexistent. The internet would be the new teacher and students would teach themselves. I also believe the social ability for students to interact with one another would be gone. Talking face to face would no longer be real and I don't mean talking face to computer to face (Skype). I mean a real one on one conversation with a human being. These are merely my opinions. Nobody can predict the future of what there is to come in the education world.

Flipped Classroom
              The idea of "flipping a classroom" is pretty interesting. A lot of questions were raised after I watched the first video but then reviewing the FAQS video helped answer many of my questions. I really do like the flipped classroom procedure because it is a necessary amount of new school technology converged with old school teaching. What I mean by this is that, the students watch the video assignments the night before on their computers and then the next day they come in and collaborate with their peers about what the material is on with the teacher there to answer and sort out any questions. It gives the students the knowledge of computers but also the face time with old school learning and figuring things out by talking it out, not by "googling" it. I would try and attempt this process in my classroom one day. I think it is a positive approach to differentiating the students according to their level of knowledge and learning ability. 


  1. In your dream school, what about the massive use of technologies including computers, iPads, SMARTboards, video equipment for learning, not entertainment?

    "In a way its really scary because I feel technology is taking over, yes in a bad way." Be specific. What exactly do you mean "in a bad way"?

    "I think it will kill creativity by all means." Technology will kill creativity? I would make the argument that the new tools we have at our disposal give us the ability to be even more creative than before. I know all of the tools than can be used to enhance, duplicate and change photographs increase the creativity of a photographer. That does not mean we have to totally abandon the old. But when the new helps, use it. For two or three years I said I'll stick with film, thank you. Now I wonder why I ever delayed using digital cameras. You can do so much more with them.

    Continued in next comment. I have run out of space.

  2. Pafrt 2 of comment above

    "If these '21st century' teachers solely taught with computers and the internet and no student knew how to research using a real book from a real library then how would students learn?" So does that mean that if you cannot get to a "real library" with "real books" you cannot do "real research"? Absolutely not. In fact, research today is primarily done through the use of technology, not fixed buildings with paper books! I know an historian who used to have to travel to some far away library at great cost of money and time to do research on Civil War participants. Now he does all of his research from his office using digital copies of original source material. He is more productive. His histories are more complete and benefit from far more sources than before. And he has more time to work on them. He is an absolute traditionalist, much like you. But now he is an enthusiastic supporter of using technology to enhance the work he has done before with "pencil and paper."

    A library in Texas recently sold their entire collection of books. They now have over 100,000 times the collection they did before. All digital. It is always available. Nobody has the only copy and has not returned it. All material is accessible by all patrons of the library at all times. Much can be listened to, a boon for those who have difficulty reading. Much can be instantly translated to or from different languages. Are these differences positive? Absolutely I would argue.

    Many people cannot afford to go to Paris and visit the wonderful art museums there. But they can get to see all of the artwork online, and often with better success. No people in the way. You can zoom in. You can listen to an art critic while looking at the art. And it does not cost a thing. A better world? Absolutely!

    "They would be to dependent on technology that they wouldn't even know how to write a letter." You must mean a letter written on paper? I certainly can write a letter using my computer. And it can be delivered instantly. In fact, I can write it on paper and with a pencil and still have it delivered instantly. Scan and send. Maybe the smell of the paper will be lost, and the envelope and stamp. But what else?

    " If Kevin Roberts is right about technology in the classroom, I believe as an educator we will not be needed. I believe that the jobs of teachers will be nonexistent." That is certainly not what Roberts argues. He contends that educators will still be needed but they will have to teach different things and perform different tasks. being an "answering machine" will no longer do. I agree with him. I think you are absolutely wrong! But if teachers do not change, if they insist on teaching like they were taught, they will become extinct.

    "I also believe the social ability for students to interact with one another would be gone." Really? Some argue that technology creates too many "social" opportunities for people today. The "social" has become all consuming.

    "Talking face to face would no longer be real..." Your exaggeration is amusing. No face to face interactions? Well, we certainly would have to worry about the birth rate I guess.

    "Nobody can predict the future of what there is to come in the education world." I agree. But I am certain it will be very different!

    Thoughtful. Interesting.

  3. Whitney,

    I am one of the lab assistants for EDM 310 and trust me when I say I know where you are coming from. You should go take a look at my blog from EDM 310 and read some of heated comments Dr. Strange and I shared with one another while I took the class. I have always felt I was supposed to be born in a different century, but at the same time I do not think I could live without technology because of the world it has opened up to me. I guess this is why I am a history major and education major. I too felt that technology was overused and students needed to show respect for the teacher and put away their cellphones, laptops, and other devices while being taught. However, the generations are changing. We can no longer reach them by traditional means. We need to start capturing their attention through things that interest them, i.e. technology. I cherish the traditional way of doing things as well--paper and pencil writing, book reading, even painting (which I actually do as a hobby). Technology does not mean we have to completely eliminate those traditional techniques. Instead, technology has enhanced them. We can write, read, and paint virtually on a computer or iPad and share our work with others more easily. All I can say is just try to be open minded about this class and what is trying to be taught. You do not have to agree with everything, in fact it makes your blog more interesting when you do not! Nevertheless, you must have facts to back up these opinions. As with any type of essay writing, you should be able to have a basis for your opinions. Keep working hard and do not be afraid to express your opinion! Debating is a good thing. It teaches us how respect other's opinions and feel confident in expressing our own.

    1. Yea I didn't realize I was in a "debate" class. Thanks for the input.

  4. Whitney,
    I just wanted to say that I agree with you. I also believe that technology should be allowed in the classroom but in complete moderation. My point was always that the students would become completely reliant on the technology and not know how to use paper and pencil. They would be lost if one day their iPad or computer crashed, they would walk around like zombie, lost and confused. People in this generation are already like that now. You hardly never see a young person without their phone in their hand, and if they don't have it they would be completely lost throughout their day. I don't even want to imagine how addicted the future generations will be to their technology.

    Brelyn Searcy