EDM 310 Class Blog

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blog Post #3

1. Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today
This video chronicles the day-to-day encounters of today's college students. It asks the question: "What is it like being a student today?"
200 students were surveyed in an effort to answer this question.  The environment I am used to involves students sitting  more than partially distracted, having turned off their brains minutes before, switching between actually taking notes and doodling silly pictures in the margins in an effort to stay awake (or sane, as the case may be), and texting friends in other classes about how miserable they are.
What causes this?
The typical classroom that I just described, which is also well mirrored in Wesch's video,  could be due to class sizes that are too large, making students feel disconnected. Most students are more willing to participate and speak out with less of their peers in the room to potentially make snarky comments about what they have to say. It could also be contributed to readings that are ineffective and hard to relate to, lack of sleep, heavy course loads, feeling overwhelmed, and possibly being far too involved with our social lives. Yes, I do count myself in this demographic. We all do these things even though we probably say that we do not.
Students are also disconnected from reading out of a book; which is, it seems, becoming an outdated practice.  So many college students and even adults and high schoolers are reading online posts, emails, Google documents, books on Kindle, Nook, etc.  The act of getting out a thick, clunky, over-priced text book is becoming harder and harder for some students to deal with.  After a few years in college, I am sure most can agree that a person gets all too tired of writing papers about things we only hardly understand or relate to, just listening to lectures, and also filling out scan tron sheets.
 And do any of these things prepare us for the work force?? I am not sure that anyone can correctly answer that, but my guess, and this is just a guess, would be a big fat negative. This video did a good job of pointing that out.  I was getting a little bugged by the spastic, scatterbrained panning of the camera across the classroom. It could have been a little more organized or in a more logical order that did not give me a bit of occasional whiplash, but its main points were nonetheless effective and truthful.
I feel like those of us who have decided to become teachers in order to make a difference will not and cannot accomplish this with these methods.  How do essay tests and endless reading prepare us for this? How does toting around a textbook that I rarely even open and weighs as much as a couple of bowling balls prepare me for the problems I will be forced to face?  Some things you simply cannot learn from a textbook.  I feel like this class, EDM310, is a great alternative.  We are finding newer, smarter, more innovative, and more creative ways to educate our future students so that hopefully they will not be miserable, easily distracted, and uninterested.  The methods of this class are fresh and exciting and I think a lot of teachers would do well to implement them.  For example, how convenient is it to keep up with a syllabus on a piece of paper anymore when you can now easily access it with any computer with access to the internet?

2.Gary Hayes' Social Media Count
This webpage incorporates a graph that displays the exponential amount of communicating, social networking,  and interacting happening worldwide.  I was amazed at the number of comments made on Facebook, hours of video uploaded on YouTube, tweets sent on Twitter, iPhone apps downloaded, minutes of calls on Skype, SMS's sent worldwide, among other things, in only 60 seconds. I wondered just how many of these were being used in conjunction with an educational exercise.  I also wondered what would happen if they were. The options are endless with this amount of data.
If you would like to keep up with this count, you can embed it on your blog to see when you read comments or even have it there to share with others. Keep in mind, it may make your head hurt a little. Hayes created this in September of 2009 and has installed multiple updates. He has a review of the statistics by month dating back to the beginning of his program.  He also lists his sources if you would like to view individual facts straight from the source.  This was useful for me because I am always skeptical towards graphs and statistics.  I always want to know: "Just where did they even get these numbers from, anyway?"
What do these quickly occurring changes to the world of technology and the world in general mean to my career as a teacher?
Well, the most basic thing I could say about it is that it means that there is no possible way, in this day and age, not to teach without technology in some form or another.  This being said, it is never  a good practice to rely upon it, to use it as a crutch because it simplifies day-to-day activities, but it has its uses.
 The next conclusion I can come to about this expanding technology and its uses is that, as a teacher, I am destined to see many, many changes to it throughout my career.  I will be constantly finding new uses for it if I am paying close enough attention. Even now, as a student, every time I become familiar with something new and tech-y, something even better comes out.
Another thing this will mean for me as a teacher is the way it is now affecting the students I will be teaching in the future.  I used to think that the world I grew up in was so advanced, but the world my younger cousins and niece are growing up in makes it look so far behind.  The students I will be teaching are now becoming heavily reliant (possibly too reliant) on texting and iPods and spell-check.  In order to reach them on their level, I would need to accept this and embrace it.  However, I will always draw upon my past experiences, the things I have always enjoyed most about English and literature (that no amount of technology can change), and remember that I must also be learning with my students.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more with the fact that we need more new, fresh, and exciting teaching method besides the boring lecture, and essay tests. To become successful teachers we must implement these new and fresh ideas like the ones we see in our EDM 310 class. As we grow up in a world of technology, most classrooms seem to be years behind the rest of the world. If we can find a way to take all the technology of today and embrace it in our teachings now, we will be much more successful at teaching students in the future.

  2. I am so glad you understood what I was trying to say! My main concern in writing these blog posts is that my main point will not be clear enough to those reading it. You are right; most classrooms do seem to be years behind the rest of the world. Some people think the methods of teaching we have used for years are perfectly fine the way they are, but do we want to teach in ways that simply get the job done? This is probably one of the main reasons that schools like those of Finland are performing more adequately than we are. I am presently journaling things that we are doing in this class that I would like to use in my classroom someday to make it more exciting, new, and to make the most of available technology.