Monday, June 4, 2012

Blog Post #2

No, I didn't know that!

After viewing Dr. Strange's version of Did You Know? 3.0-A John Strange 2012 version, I am left with a dizzying feeling. Did I know that technology was advancing at such an exponential rate and that China and India are out to kick our tails? No, I would say that I have chosen to hide under a rock for the past 10 years taking my simple computer and my "dumb phone" with me. However, I do recognize that the advancing technology does have an effect on our society and my role as an educator. I can not continue to hide from this, nor do I plan to; I agree that as society continues to advance in a technological sense, I as an educator in order to "keep up with the Joneses" (Joneses for the sake of this blog post being India and China)must continue my studies in this area and challenge myself to learn and apply new technology in my lessons. I get that. I am a little bit excited, I admit. It is the reason why out of the few classes offered this summer I chose to take EDM310 again to renew my certification.

(Side note: Dr. Strange, I am very disappointed to find out that we will not be working with Excel to the extent that we did in 2006 as I am in desperate need of knocking out my student loan and setting up a variety of spreadsheets for my new job as CCD director. Tweeting, blogging,and You tube videos are just not going to cut it for help in those areas. Now, Google Docs? You may be on to something!)

On the other hand, I have a hard time embracing this new technological age completely even if it means that we aren't keeping up with the rest of the world. I tend to view things through a different pair of eyes then the secular thinking world at times. I tend to gravitate more towards the relational aspect of our lives as compared to how well we are advancing as a society in the realm of technology. Relationally, I believe we are falling behind.

I would agree to some extent that technology has connected people in a way that is beneficial and pretty awesome for a lack of a more educated response. We can "talk" to people who are hundreds of miles away not only via an e-mail, but through Skype--which allows us to see the person as if we were actually there. Also, I'll be the first to admit that the amount of information I can find in the short amount of time that I have through the use of Google is incredible. I just used it, actually, to find out how to correctly use the phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses." There is something missing from the "good old days" however. Talking. Having a conversation. That is, the ability of the human person to relate with another human person face to face communicating heart to heart without the use of a cellphone, computer, or other technological device. I even have an example! I was listening to 1410 AM today (I love Catholic radio!) and the host of the show and a caller were talking about how teenagers now prefer a text message over an actual conversation as the way to get a date for the prom. Really? A text message? Isabella is not going ANYWHERE with someone who doesn't have the communication skills to ask her to the prom in the "good old-fashioned way" even if the Chinese are doing it in a more technological way. I suppose those are the same teenagers I observe when my husband and I go out on a date at a restaurant who sit across from each other in silence exercising their fingers on their cellphones instead of engaging in a conversation with each other.
wordle using different terms mentioned in my post about the effect of technology on society

What are your thoughts on technology and its impact on our society? What kind of impact has technology had on your ability to relate face to face with another person?

Awakening Mr. Winkle

After viewing Mr. Winkle Wakes I realize that Mr. Winkle and I could probably relate with one another. If I wasn't married already I might begin to wonder if Mr. Winkle and I had a chance at a future together. After all, I feel like after hiding under that rock for ten years I am reacting in the same manner as he did. Seeing as I learned from Did you know? 3.0 that 1 out of 8 couples in 2007 met online, I think we have a pretty good chance.
All silliness aside, though, I think the point that the creator of Mr. Winkle Wakes, Mathew Neddleman,was trying to make was that if we refuse to use the technology in our classroom that society is using outside in the "real world" (represented in this presentation by a hospital), then how can we expect our students to succeed once they have graduated and are off to pursue bigger and better things? By not running a technological literate classroom, I would be setting up my students to fail. Bummer. I guess it is time for me to jump on the technology literacy band-wagon if I ever have the intentions to return to the classroom one day. Don't worry, I'm taking Mr. Winkle with me!

The Importance of Creativity
After watching The Importance of Creativity I realize the importance of creativity being allowed in the classroom. The statement that stood out to me the most (which happens to be in typed form on the site) was "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." I think Sir Ken Robinson is correct in stating this. As an educator I know that it is easy to fall into the trap of following a formula in creating your learning environment. The system in a sense seems to encourage a systematic approach to educating the next generation. If you do x, y, and z, then you will get the result of that child becoming an adult who can function in the working realm of society.

I have even experienced this effect personally in the past few days while trying to re-organize the CCD program at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. (I started my job as the director of CCD yesterday.) Every time I come up with an idea, I am overcome with this sense of fear that if I try to implement the idea, it might not go over well with the others involved in the program. I get a creative idea in my head and feel a pull away from it and a desire to stick with what has been done before because of the fear that I might be wrong.

I have come to the conclusion that although I may not be in a classroom setting anytime soon in which I can focus on the advice given in Sir Ken Robinson's presentation, it is time for me to not give into the fear of being wrong. Right now as director of the CCD program at St. Ignatius Church, I can use my creativity to review the old program, flush out the old ideas that haven't worked in the past, and move forward in a whole new direction.

Disruptive Classroom
After watching the video Classroom Disruption I am left with a mixture of feelings. Don't get me wrong, the video was comical and I did enjoy watching it. However, I would say that the video portrayed two extreme examples of a classroom environment. With this said, I would like to discuss my likes and dislikes from each of the classroom environments portrayed in the video. For the purpose of this discussion we will call the high-tech classroom Classroom A and the classroom that was lacking in the technology department classroom B.

I'll start with my likes and dislikes of Classroom A.

First, I really like the enthusiasm shown by the teacher, Joe. I could tell from his body language--especially his smile--that he was excited to be there teaching and interacting with his students. I think that enthusiasm is a major factor in setting the tone for a classroom environment. Secondly, I like the resources that were available to the students not only in the classroom, but also to a certain degree, the various ways the students could access information when they returned home. Also,I liked how the teacher was involved with the students as they worked through the lesson. Finally, I liked how the teacher used technology to provide the students with examples of what he was teaching.

There are also things I didn't like about classroom A. Granted, it wasn't a video that portrayed an entire instructional day, so I'm left with my assumptions. First, I did not like how the teacher introduced himself by his first name. Just because we are introducing more technology into our classrooms doesn't mean we have to become more of the friend to the students as opposed to their teacher. I feel that by introducing himself as Joe, (Even Mr. Joe would have been better!)he put himself on the same level as his students. Secondly, I did not like how everything was computer-based. If the entire instructional day is done on the computer then when do the students learn the social skills needed for interacting face to face with one another without the use of technology? Again, I think that that is the primary downfall of our society entering more deeply into the technological age. Also, I had a concern with the way Joe used things like video chat, YouTube, Twitter, etc. to relate so freely with his students. In my opinion, the environment he was creating was too casual. Finally, although I believe creating an environment where students are encouraged to think for themselves, first and foremost I believe an elementary and middle school teacher is there to teach not to coach a child through teaching themselves. Content should be taught by a teacher as the foundation for skills to be built upon.

Now on to feelings of Classroom B.

There really wasn't much I liked about Classroom B because it was such an extreme opposite of Classroom A. The teacher in this classroom contrast to the other teacher was boring, disengaging, and rude. He lacked a connection with his students that the teacher from Classroom A possessed. His environment seemed slow, and if I were one of his students I think that I would have fallen asleep as well. I did like how the students weren't staring at a computer screen all day long, but the use of a PowerPoint presentation, Smart Board, or another interactive presentation would have gone a long way in engaging the students in learning the material. I liked how his environment was more structured then Classroom A, but again, the environments are almost too extreme to begin to compare.

My ideal classroom would have been somewhere in the middle. Why not create a classroom environment that has both the instructional time along with the technology. Human beings aren't robots. We are relational creatures that thrive in an environment where human interaction is taking place. Yes, technology is great but let's not center our entire instructional day on it. In order to create this ideal classroom environment I will need to continue learning about the new forms of technology I can incorporate into my classroom instruction where needed to spice things up a bit.

Am I just living in the stone-age here or does anyone else at least understand where I am coming from?

Goodnight! I think Nicholas has the right idea...


  1. If you want to work on Excel (or Google spreadsheet), I'll be glad to help.

    Some positives: Facebook and texting do increase interactions with people that we rarely see anyway. But for a date? Not for me!

    Oh my goodness, an affair with Mr. Winkle! I finally realized that mat hew Needleman spells his first name with one t. Correct that and you might get a comment from him personally. His search engine probably searches only for Mathew Needleman and Mr. Winkle. He often comments on EDM310 student blogs.

    "...because of the fear that I might be wrong." Listen to Sir Ken Robinson!

    What kind of classes did you have: A, B or "somewhere in the middle"?

    thoughtful, well written, interesting, humorous .

    1. Thanks Dr. Strange for your comments! I fixed the mistake. Didn't even notice the one "t." How unique!
      I had a lot of B type classes because technology wasn't really well developed, but we interacted in groups with each other. In high school I definitely had more of the B type classes the exception being the few that were "somewhere in the middle." My favorite were the kind where the teacher was the main player but used technology to enhance the lesson.

  2. Brittany,
    I want to say that I am an avid fan of being who you are and living life the way you want to live it. I loved your use of the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” but, I don’t feel like you should abandon your “good ole days” values. Don’t get me wrong, I am a technological person. In fact, that’s probably me and my fiancé’ sitting at the table beside you and your husband texting away! LOL Well, I won’t be too exaggerative, we do talk and converse a lot but, there’s a lot of texting with friends mixed in. I, personally, prefer a text vs. a phone call. I HATE talking on the phone but, that’s me. If one day you do find yourself back in a classroom and you want to run it 80% “good ole days” and 20% “keeping up with the Kardash…I mean Joneses” then that is exactly what I hope for you 
    To touch base on one thing in your post about Mr. Winkle….I met my fiancé’ online so I was tickled to see you put that fact in there. Oh and I think Mr. Winkle is a stud muffin too!
    The presentation from Sir Ken Robinson inspired me. I loved his enthusiasm for creativity because I so desperately try to be creative in many ways. I don’t always succeed but, it’s fun trying. I would like to give you some encouraging advice if you don’t mind? You say “you get overcome with fear” when you have some ideas on how to reorganize things at your new job correct? I’d like to remind you that someone there saw great leadership potentials within you because they hired you to be the new director of the CCD program. You should embrace that and be proud of your ideas!!!
    The Classroom Disruption video was an entertaining way to end the evening of a bunch of videos and presentations. I agreed with your thoughts on the teacher introducing himself as just Joe and not even Mr. Joe. Goodness, I still call my best friend’s father Mr. Jimmy and I’ve known him for almost 20 years. I don’t agree with him letting a student do a test at home, when all of the other children had to take the test in class. What’s up with that? I mean, I try to be the most honest I can but, hey! You send me home with a test and I’m going to use my resources…you dig?!? I did enjoy Joe’s use of technology. I like that he uses twitter, face book, and blogs to engage the students but, I wouldn’t rely on it 100%. Last but not least, your thoughts about classroom B were spot on. There’s really nothing else to say about that.

    P.S. if you were not happily married and Mr. Winkle wasn’t available either…I bet Mr. Christmas Sweater teacher from class B would be available! HA HA HA