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.
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.