“Did You Know?”
Did You Know? by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod
I found the “Did You Know” video very interesting, and somewhat overwhelming. The facts and statistical information given shows how far we have come in technology by showing how Facebook and even iPod reach a broader audience quicker than conventional television and radio and shows how we are preparing for our future to be rich in technology. For instance, it says we are preparing students for jobs which do not yet exist and using technology that has not yet been invented. We are growing technologically at an alarming rate. In 1984 (I was 4 years old), there were 1,000 internet devices. In 1992 (I was 12), there were 1,000,000 internet devices (and I was given my first typewriter for Christmas). By 2008 (at age 28), there were 1,000,000,000 devices. Something I found amusing was that, for a person obtaining a four-year technical degree, half of what they studied in their first year will be outdated by their third year because technical information is doubling every two years!
One interesting and overwhelming prediction stated was that, by the year 2049, there will be a super computer that will have the computational capabilities of the entire human species. This made me imagine a black and white “Twilight Zone” scene where computers take over the world! I jest, but it does make one wonder about all the possibilities. The video ends in a question, “What does it all mean?” I think this means that we are all in for a lifetime of learning and updating, expanding in the fields of technology, science, mathematics, medicine, space exploration, et cetera, et cetera. It seems as though perhaps technology is growing faster than the human population.
”Mr. Winkle Wakes” Mr. Winkle Wakes by Mathew Needleman
I put myself in the place of poor Mr. Winkle, awakened after 100 years to discover machines connecting people, allowing them to converse face-to-face from hundreds of miles away, machines doing things never imagined possible in the year 1911. In every business and hospital across America, you see these lights and sounds in fast-paced environments. We even taken them for granted in 2011. But they may be frightening to one who has not grown up with technology, being introduced to new devices all at once.
However, when he arrives at the school, he is put at ease because there are no lights and beeping sounds, no one running around in a hurry. He finds students sitting in rows, taking notes the same way they always have, with a dusty computer in the back of the classroom. It causes you to wonder how these students are going to keep up with the high-paced advanced workplace in the future if they are not introduced to the present technology we use right now. Another thing to ponder is, without being taught how to use computers and operate machines now, how will they ever keep up with future technology, and who will invent new devices and continue the progress?
”The Importance of Creativity” Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity | Video on TED.com
In this presentation, Mr. Ken Robinson discusses the importance of creativity in children. He starts with a very important point, how we all feel deeply about our educational background, be it a positive or a negative experience. The next great point is how children have a great capacity for learning. But he brings up a scenario we don’t give enough thought to, which is that there is no room for error in today’s world, so children are afraid to make mistakes, therefore their creativity is limited drastically because they are forced from a young age to “color inside the lines.”
He goes on to explain how there are academic hierarchies in every country, with science and arithmetic being at the top and arts and dance being at the bottom worldwide. He says that, before the 19th century, public education systems existed mainly for the purpose of meeting the demands of industrialism, so the most useful people for work are at the top. So, maybe subconsciously, parents and educators direct us away from music and art and towards what they believe are career-oriented fields. In doing this, children leave creativity behind. He defines creativity as “The process of having original ideas that have value.” I have to agree that it is important to let our children discover and develop their talents, yet I still believe our current public education system is doing the right thing in teaching children first the fundamentals, such as writing, reading, math and science.
Mr. Robinson’s story about Jenny, the child in the 1930’s with ADHD, was remarkable, but unfortunately placing a child in a school for arts is not always possible. Jenny was allowed to flourish in this new environment and went on to be a famous dancer and multi-millionaire. I think it is imperative that children today learn the curriculum provided in the classrooms and be allowed to enjoy sports and dance alongside it. Music, dance and art are not a substitution for math, science and language arts, however.
Can U.S. Students Compete? interview of Ken Robinson by Cecilia Gault on scholastic.com
Student Cecilia Gault interviews Mr. Ken Robinson on his three myths of creativity. Young Ms. Gault stays focused in her interview, and I had to wonder if this young lady came up with the interview questions on her own or if someone told her what to ask. Her first question was “How can education change to meet the needs of the 21st century?” Second, she asks him to list his three methods of creativity. Lastly, she asks him to define intelligence.
Mr. Robinson answers the first question by saying the curriculum in school has to change, that it needs to be more balanced between science and the arts and that we have to make better use of technology, and that schools and the communities they are in need to be better linked together. To answer his second question, he says the three myths are that only certain people are creative, that creativity is only about certain things, such as design or advertising, and lastly, that you are either born with creativity or you’re not. He explains these myths, saying that everyone has creative capabilities, that you can be creativity in a variety of fields and that you can teach people to be more creative. He goes on to define intelligence as a way to solve problems and make sense of the world around us.
I agree wholeheartedly that creativity is significant in a developing child, but he does not explain how to implement creativity into the classrooms, which are already crowded and strapped for cash. Technology must be put in our classrooms and taught to our children, no matter the cost. I guess the question is how do we convince parents and our governing bodies to become more involved?
Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts featuring Vicki Davis on edutopia.com
I have to say this video sparked my interest and grabbed my attention more than the others. Vicki Davis, a teacher and IT director at a school in southern Georgia, “empowers” her students by forcing them to be thinkers, using technology to connect her students to the world. She won an award for having the best teacher blog in the world, which is quite admirable in my opinion. A siren went off in my head when she said she accomplishes the curriculum, but customizes what happens in the classroom according to her students! Every child learns differently, yet we are only teaching one way, and therein lies many of the problems in our education system in America. Ms. Davis hit the head of the nail in her approach to teaching.
It reminded me of EDM310. She said she is teaching them how to learn. I have learned more about computers in the first week of Dr. Strange’s class than I have since starting college in 2009 (I am not trying to get brownie points here, I’m serious, and I bet my fellow classmates agree with me). I believe Dr. Strange is trying to make us “comfortable using any kind of technology,” as Ms. Davis states she is trying to do for her own students. She wants her students to be thinkers; Dr. Strange expects the same from us. One other thing Ms. Davis said stood out in her video that reminded me of EDM310. She said she does not need to know everything before she teaches it. Basically, she and her students can learn new technology together. All of this mirrors Dr. Strange’s class motto quotes, “I don’t know. Let’s find out,” “Bring your brain and turn it on,” and “Questions are more important than ‘answers’.” After reviewing these videos, I see things with a broader eye and understand better what Dr. Strange is trying to do for us (not to us).