Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blog Post 5

keyboard, mouse and code

Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? by Scott McLeod

In my first blog post review, Dr. Scott McLeod sarcastically tells parents, teachers and administrators not to encourage students to use the web, make videos, write code, write blogs and use social networking sites, and especially no cell phones! Unfortunately, this is exactly what is going on in our schools today. He lists some excuses as to why technology is not taught, such as the possibility of cheating, online predators and cyberbullying. One line says, “we can’t trust them.” This makes you realize we have to get past our fears and allow our children to not only keep up with the fast-paced technological world we are living in today, but to create and invent new technology. We do this by educating our children about the things we fear for them and showing them the right thing to do. We must lead by example. As parents, teachers and students, we have a responsibility to use, learn and teach technology.

Dr. Scott McLeod is the Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He is the founding director of a program called CASTLE, Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, which, according to his website,, is “the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators.” He has been awarded several honors in education and technology. Also, I have to say that his Did You Know - Shift Happens video was inspirational. It really made me want more for Alabama students.

iSchool Initiative logo

The iSchool Initiative and ZeitgeistYoungMinds Entry by Travis Allen

In two YouTube videos, Travis Allen introduces us to a new method of learning with his iSchool Initiative. He expresses his concerns over budget cuts in his school system, teacher layoffs and overcrowded classrooms. He proposes that we use technology to cut back on our schools’ budgets by using Apple’s iTouch platform. By using the iTouch, classrooms could go green by not having to purchase textbooks and assignment worksheets because all books and lessons will be done on the iTouch. I believe that soon, textbooks will be replaced by programs such as Classic, but he states that no paper or pencils will be used. He doesn’t explain how tests would be conducted without paper and pencil or computer. Could this be done using iTouch? Some of the applications he shows, like the periodic table of elements, would save time and make learning the table easier. But I think students still need to see and touch globes and paper maps and learn how to make maps by hand. The formulae and calculators would definitely save students money. A few apps he mentioned brought up, in my mind, the question of cheating. If you can record lectures and send those, and notes, to other students, couldn’t students just as easily send test questions and answers? Also, the iHomework app would be very helpful to students, especially for long distance study groups, but it would be easier than ever to cheat off of someone else’s homework. Another positive thing he has thought of is limiting internet access on the device. This would cut down on the misuse of this valuable resource.

This was an incredible idea from such a young man. Overall, I think his proposal is great. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but at least he recognizes the problems our schools face and has come up with an alternative to the way schools teach now. Several schools across the country are implementing his idea. I think the iTouch would be an excellent tool to have, but still has a few questionable features.

girl singing

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir Shared by Jennifer Chambers

This was amazing! Former EDM310 student Jennifer Chambers shares a virtual choir of 185 people singing Lux Aurumque most harmoniously. I honestly didn’t know this could even be done, at least not done this well. This opens up a world of possibilities for using You Tube videos. One thing I thought of was, if you heard a great video lecture or lesson from a teacher in, say, New Zealand, you could present it to your own class as part of your lesson. Teachers oceans apart can help to educate each others' students.

Inspector Gadget with a coat full of technology for students

Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts discusses how teachers provide students with facts, formulas, dates, theories and other limited information. He says students have many means by which they can find out any information they want, such as the internet, cell phones, Facebook, et cetera. He makes a very profound statement: “Teachers are no longer the main source of information. We are the filter.” But we have to show them how to use this technology, how to filter the information for themselves and show them how to be problem solvers. In doing this, we are not only teaching them how to find the most accurate information they need in our class, but they can carry the problem-solving techniques and problem-solving mindset with them, not only to help them in school, but also through their lives.

I believe what he is stressing to us is that, as educators, it is our primary goal to make thinkers and solvers out of our students if we want them to survive in the technological world we live in. He asks “What does it mean to teach?” I believe Roberts is saying we have to show students how to teach themselves and show them how to use technology and skills responsibly.


  1. McLeod: You got the sarcasm. Many students didn't and interpreted McLeod's post literally.

    Well done!

    In addition, you cited your source for the information and put copied material in quotation marks. These are the two requirements to avoid plagiarizing.

    Many of your classmates just copied and pasted. We will have a lesson on plagiarizing later in the semester.

    Well done!


  2. Very nice post, as usual, Kelly. I thoroughly enjoy reading your responses because I feel like you understand that teaching is more than just dumping info into the students' heads. I understood the issues you found with the iSchool (cheating makes me upset), and I'm pleased you brought it to attention. "Teachers oceans apart can help to educate each others' students." This is one the best things to come from the Internet, I believe. There is so much that we can learn from each other, that it is a waste not to take advantage of the expertise and ideas of someone on the other side of the world, simply because they're not down the street from us. Great post.