The iSchool Initiative
I enjoyed watching Travis Allen's presentations,The iSchool Initiative (Mobile Learning) and Zeitgeist Young Mind's Entry, on his unique idea about the iSchool. The iSchool is an initiative for Mobile Learning using technology already available to students in today's technological age--the itouch.
In the video Mr. Allen outlines the ways that the iSchool would be beneficial. In regards to financials he stressed the money we would be saving by eliminating books, paper, copy machines, and number 2 pencils. His next point listed the many apps already available on the itouch--the device that the ischool initiative is centered around. These apps include, but are not limited to: email, chemical touch, a digital copy of our US constitution,world map, USA presidents, Formulae, recorder, and notes taker. The idea is to also use interactive teacher and student applications that store and track assignments, tests and grades. Currently there is a student lead group of corporations, business professionals, and Apple employees coming together to revolutionize education through this idea of Mobile learning and the iSchool.
I can't help but think that the idea of the iSchool is a bit much and can't help but feel a little skeptical about the idea coming to fruition. It's a neat idea in theory, but I still believe that technology should enhance a school not become the school itself. Something just seems off to me about that idea.
I enjoyed watching Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir found in Jennifer Chamber's blog post. I found it interesting that the internet was used in this manner--to create a choir that was virtual! It was not only creative, but very unique and artistic. It reminded me of watching a movie set in the distant future. Incredible!
Teaching in the 21st Century
I was really looking forward to viewing Kevin Roberts' presentation about the 21st century classroom. However, I have been on vacation for the past 5 days without the ability to get on the internet and have been unable to get the video presentation to work properly using the free wifi service available at the Welcome Center in Vicksburg, MS. So at the insistence of my exhausted husband, a cranky 6 month old, and challenging 3 year old I have chosen to just move on and attach an incredible photo taken here by me instead.
(The following was added this week after resting up from our vacation and being able to view the presentation with the internet at my house)
I was finally able to watch Mr. Kevin Roberts' Teaching in the 21st Century; a presentation that I found both entertaining and engaging. After viewing I am looking forward to creating a pretzi of my own. (Anyone else think pretzel?)
If I were to sum up the main idea of Mr. Robert's presentation I would say that the message he was trying to convey to the viewer is that in order to be an effective educator in the 21st century, we as educators will have to change the way we think students should be taught. In his presentation he expressed that the teacher is no longer the source of information. Students are able to receive information at the click of a button. Because of the internet, students are able to access information through social networking, google, and wikipedia, just to list a few examples found in the presentation. In order to be an effective 21st century teacher who is engaging (not necessarily entertaining) we must begin to think like a 21st century learner and teach the skills needed to participate in this technological world.
I think that I am still fighting this whole notion that because students have access to information through the use of technology, they no longer need to be receiving information from teachers. I don't think I will ever agree with this concept. Yes, teachers should not only be lecturing and passing on information; they should be teaching students the skills through modeling and hands-on application. However, there is something to be said about learning information from another person as opposed to learning in all through the use of technology. I don't know if its because I have a different learning style or because I am brain washed by my many years of what Dr. Strange would call "burp back education", but I learn best when I am learning it in the presence of another human being. I wonder if there is a learning style called, "relational learner," because that is me through and through. I'm sure there are students who learn better the way that this class is opening up my eyes to learning. Me, on the other hand? I can't pick up a manual and teach myself how to do something, and I definitely am having a hard time with only teaching students to learn using technology. Maybe I should just go back to hiding under a rock...after I make my cool pretzi presentation.
If this is how it is going to be teaching in the next ten years then of course I'll hop on board and do what I need to do. Hey, I might even enjoy it! It will definitely encourage me to be more of a life long learner because I will constantly be challenged to learn more so that I can use it effectively in my classroom. As Mr. Robert's said in his video: "It starts with you."
The Flipped Classroom
Katie Gimbar's presentation on Why I Flipped My Classroom portrayed the Flipped Classroom as a simple and easy to do change that can make a huge difference in meeting the needs of all students in a basic classroom.
According to Katie, the reason why she decided to flip her classroom is because she realized after 5 years of teaching middle school math that 90% of her time spent in the classroom was lecturing and only 10% of her classroom instructional time was application of what the students had learned through the lecture. She also realized that this lecturing technique was only meeting the needs of the middle level students in her class. The lower level students were being left behind because they needed more help and the higher level students were also being left behind because they were bored and ready to move on.
The Flipped Classroom, according to Dr. McCammon, is a way to combat an inefficient, non-engaging lecturing classroom by allowing the students to watch a series of presentations at home that were created by their teachers. This allows students to work at the pace that is right for their learning abilities. This way the actual class time is spent with the teacher being able to work with the students in applying the concept learned previously at home.
I think that the flipped classroom is a very original and interesting concept that I would be open to trying in the future if it met the needs of my students. I can see how watching and learning from a video could be an effective tool for late elementary school through high school students. However, in regards to being an effective tool for a K-3 student I would have to say that I do not think it would accomplish its purpose.
That took forever. Time to drive the four more hours to Mobile, AL!