EDM 310 Class Blog

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blog Post #2

1.Did You Know? 3.0
This video is all about facts concerning technology and the rapid growth of the world around us. I could not help but question: Is America falling behind?? The fact that "India has more honors kids than America has kids" just astounded me. And the fact that China will soon become the Number One English speaking country in the world. And...did you know that the top ten jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004? Technology is where it's at right now. People who don't like change or who fail or refuse to realize this are only going to fall behind. It's easy to fall behind because everything is moving so fast; when you think about it, we use technology for everything, so newer and easier ways to do these things are constantly popping up. And we should be thankful for these things; a little wary, occasionally, but definitely thankful. These technologies we are coming across daily are expanding our world! In the video it was mentioned that The New York Times featured more information in one week than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century. These are rapidly growing times we live in, with so much more to gain access to, and we need to be preparing students for a world even more advanced than we can imagine.

2. Mr. Winkle Wakes by Matthew Needleman
I wasn't entirely sure I agreed with this video. In the video, Mr. Winkle wakes after sleeping for a hundred years and finds tall office buildings with busy people and strange machines making strange noises and business people talking to business people all over the world. All this change is too much for him, and he begins to feel sick so he goes to a hospital. Lasers and X-rays, oh my! He begins to feel even more disoriented. He decides to check out the school when he comes across it. It is instantly familiar to him with its neat rows and teachers lecturing, and its quietness. He even sees one of the "strange machines" like those from the tall office building and hospitals, but it is dusty and not being used.
I feel like this type of education is becoming antiquated, obsolete, and useless. Classrooms where students are organized in neat rows and teachers only lecture are not keeping up with the times. In an age of podcasts, iPods and iPads, blogs, Facebook,and YouTube, why would education not also make use of these like the businesses and hospitals do?? And how will the students one day fill the jobs in these places if they are not being educated to do so? How did the people Mr. Winkle saw make use of all that technology if they were not taught using it, or how to use it? I feel like the simple form of teaching that has been so predominant for so long is not a bad thing, but, as I stated, why not make the most of the resources all around us?

3. Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity
Sir Ken Robinson says that there is human creativity everywhere and that we have no clue what will come out of this creativity next. "We all have a vested interest in education because it will take us into a future we can't grasp," says Robinson. He also talks about how this innate creativity is squashed in so many students by the school systems of which they are a part. We stigmatize children as well as adults for their mistakes, for not arriving at what is deemed the "right answer" instead of allowing for students to embrace their creativity and individuality.

Sir Ken Robinson quotes Picasso who said that "all children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up." I whole-heartedly agree with Robinson that too much emphasis is placed on math and science. While these are worthwhile academic pursuits, not everyone's gift falls into these two categories. Students should know that they are all gifted, and what that gift is, and how to make the most of it. Robinson started a thought process for me in bringing up Shakespeare: what was he like as a child? What if someone had told him that writing was a waste of time or that he could never really be successful in making a career in "the arts"? Who would we be reading today? And to expand on that, if we are not creating creative minds now, nor encouraging them and molding them to embrace creativity instead of limiting it, who will create the masterpieces that people will be reading, listening to, and viewing in galleries in years to come?

4. Cecilia Gault (Young student from Finland) Interviews Sir Ken Robinson
Americans have this idea of ourselves as being the greatest nation on Earth, when, in reality, we are falling behind. The first video I watched for this blog, Did You Know? raised this question, and further and further into the assignment I am seeing this is true. In the video, Did You Know?, it mentions that India has more Honors kids than America has kids, and the blog post "Can U.S. Students Compete?" Finland's students are getting better grades in Reading, Science AND Math than all the other countries of the world. This difference in grades would possibly stem from the fact that Finland incorporates shorter school days (which reduces likelihood of boredom and burn-out in students), and do not fail students. To me, it seems like, ideally, if you had no failing schools and made students want to learn everything to the best of their ability because they are enjoying what they are learning, they will make better grades simply because they are making the most of what's being taught to them. And what if students could make use of technology to collaborate with students across the country or around the world on projects or ideas? In doing this they could see how other cultures do things differently, learning in particular.

In Cecilia Gault's interview with Sir Ken Robinson, she asks what changes education would need to make to meet the needs of the twenty-first century. Robinson answers that we would need to change our curriculum to be more balanced between studying both sciences and the arts, to make better use of technology, and to create a stronger link between students and the community surrounding their school. He also argues that we need to embrace intelligence as undefinable. I agree that intelligence is not something to which you can give set parameters to define who is intelligent and who is not. Intelligence can take many forms, can be situational, and mean different things to different people. We also need to get creative! To accomplish the needs Robinson lists for education, we will need to creatively brainstorm ways to accomplish this. The simple cookie-cutter routine of educating our youth will not do. Thinking out of the box has now become imperative to the livelihood of education.

5. Vicki Davis: Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts
Educator Vicki Davis, of rural, south Georgia, is teaching her students to make the most of technology around them. She is not an expert in technology, but stays up to date and works collaboratively with her students to find out how to do projects together. She is the author of the coolcatteacher blog that has one several awards, founder of the Digi Teen project that allows students to create blogs on "digital citizenship", and has recently taken her students across the world to the Middle East to the Flat Classroom conference to collaborate and share learning styles and techniques with students there.

She makes the most of her classroom environment by encouraging creativity. She encourages them to get creative in ways to teach the class, finding ideas to share with others, learning to use wiki, and being comfortable with technology. Curriculum Director Betty Shiver of Mrs. Davis's school, compliments her on the ways in which she has taken students out of their rural setting and shared the world with them, connecting them to new ideas and possibilities.


  1. I strongly agree with your point about not everyone being talented with math and science. I'm horrible at math regardless of how many times I see it solved, doesn't matter how many different ways someone teaches it to me, I just can never grasp that concept. As for science, I personally love some aspects of it, but a lot of it requires you to use math, so again, I'm completely lost. So that leaves me literature, English, and the arts. I'm great with literature and English, but when it comes to art of any kind, I'm not so great because all the emphasis is on math and science, like you pointed out. And that, is part of the reason creativity is squashed, I think.

  2. Exactly. It makes me think of Sir Ken Robinson's video where he tells the story about the little girl in art class. Her teacher asks what she is drawing and she answers that she is drawing God. The teacher tells her that that is impossible because no one knows what God looks like. The little girl answers: "They will in a minute". I feel like all students should be given these creative opportunities to form their own opinions of the world around them. Also, math and science, in my opinion, require a lot of thought, time, and attention. The arts should be an escape from that. Math and science really do not allow room for creativity; and art, writing, music, dance, poetry, etc., should be the place to let that out. I remember when I was much younger my teachers thought that I was slow because I could not focus on or understand math, but I actually tested gifted in Language. My teacher had not noticed that because she had not given me enough appropriate opportunities to show that. I think one thing I will always keep in mind as a teacher is that not everyone has the same gifts.

  3. Hi, Carly!

    Great job on your Post #2, but instead of commenting on each of your responses, I think I will join the conversation between you and Chelsea!

    You both seem to share the opinion that math and science involve no creativity, but I disagree with this on every single level. I recently heard someone make the statement, "The greatest scientists of today are in hand the greatest artists." What is a scientists job? To create. To find new ways of doing things that will, in hope, make the world a better place. Engineers must come up with new, innovative ways to build buildings, bridges, etc.

    In recent years, we have become to obsessed with standardization, and the "killing of creativity" that Sir Ken Robinson stresses in his video is the exact reason that America is falling so far behind.

    - Allie

  4. You make a great point Allie! We have become obsessed with standardization,which is why I have never really thought of science or math as being creative. What I was saying, is that, in today's schools, not the fields of science and math in general, math and science are the subjects that seem to be taught only as a process. When I was in school, no one really ever pointed out the possibilities that you could accomplish with Math or Science; it was always demonstrated as a way to solve a problem or explain our environment. There needs to be more teachers with your perspective who can show students that it's not all about these things and to help us think outside of the box. My teachers seemed to "box" people in categories, like this person is a math whiz, and this person is an artist. I think I would have understood Math or Science if someone had linked it to creativity, or explained how to use science to find new ways of doing things, not just as a way to explain things that were already there.