Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blog Assignment 5

This is a baby on a laptop computer.
Scott Mcleod
Scott Mcleod is a really interesting person.  I found out more about him at About Me: Scott Mcleod.  He is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky.  "He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, the National School Boards Association, and the Center for Digital Education. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously IrrelevantMind Dump, and Education Recoded and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He also just completed his first book, What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media."

Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please? was a really good article to get you thinking about technology.  In this poem, Dr. Mcleod basically describes all of parents' fears about their children using the internet.  He then tells these parents to not let the children use the internet because that will give his children an advantage.  This was really a smart and concise way to get his point across.  I liked the way he brought up all the issues people have with technology.  Yes, the internet is a great resource, but it should be used appropriately.  It can get you into trouble just like anything else can, but the fact is that people have to know how to use the computer if they want to survive in the world.

The comments by some students in EDM 310 in the spring 11 semester  were really interesting to me.  These students had some of the same views I have about the internet.  Most of the students agreed that knowing how to use the internet is a must, but they still wanted children's usage monitored.  Monitoring a child's use of the computer or anything else can have good and bad effects.  This monitoring may keep the child away from bad things, but it could also make the child want to view/do the bad things more.  I know that if someone tells me I can't do something, I just want to do it more.  It might be better to just let children explore the internet.  If we don't make a big deal about the bad things, they may not worry about them either.  Dr. Mcleod also brought up the point that most parents don't know as much about the internet as their children.  If the parents don't know the dangers of the internet, they can't talk to their children about the dangers.

The iSchool Initiative
The iSchool Initiative is a video by Travis Allen.  He was 17 when he first launched this video on Youtube.  In this video, Travis is basically arguing that schools would save more money if they stopped using old methods of teaching.  He calculated that it costs around $600 per student to teach in the traditional way.  Travis wanted to change this.  He said that if schools used the iTouch for instruction, they would save around $450 per student.  He showed in his powerpoint that everything school-related could be done on the iTouch.  After this video was released, it went viral.  A lot of important people were interested in Travis's ideas.  He talks about his success in ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry.

I was really impressed by Travis's ideas.  If everything worked out the way he said it would in the video, changing over to the iTouch would be a great idea; however, there are a few things about which I am concerned.  First of all, theft would have to be a concern.  If this program was used at some underprivileged high schools, a lot of the devices would go missing.  I remember when students were allowed to use school laptops during summer school where my Mom works.  Half of the laptops went missing and were never retrieved.  Another problem I have with using the iTouch is that it is so small.  It might hurt students' eyesight to look at that small screen for every activity.  The iPad might be a better alternative, but it would not save as much money.

Jennifer Chambers
I thought Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir was really cool.  It is amazing to think that 185 people who never met performed this.  I guess sometimes we take technology for granted.  If we could transport someone from the 19th century into 2012, they would be amazed.  They would probably think the internet was some sort of witchcraft.  They would not even be able to understand how advanced our technology is.  It would probably scare the crap out of them.  The only other thing I can say about this video is that it sounded so perfect that I automatically assumed it was seriously synthesized.  That is just me being critical though.

Teaching in the 21st Century
In Teaching in the 21st Century, Kevin Roberts has a different view on teaching.  He basically thinks that teachers should be guidance for children.  They should let the students figure things out on their own.  You can find out anything you want to know just by googling it.  Why do we even need teachers?  Without teachers, students would not have the knowledge to go search for knowledge.  They also would not know how to act properly when it comes to using things like the internet.

Roberts has a point.  Yes, students can find out anything they want just by googling it, but they don't learn anything.  You have to understand information to be able to remember it.  When you google something, you just want a quick answer.  Understanding information is beyond just technology.  I thought that the goal of teaching has always been to make students understand things so they can apply them in other situations.  I don't think this video changed my impression of teaching at all.  I already knew that you couldn't just let kids memorize things.  I know I will also have to be technology conscious, but that does not change my overall teaching goal.

Reading Rockets
After viewing Reading Rockets, I found a lot of tools I could use as a teacher.  This site was especially interesting to me since I am going to be an English teacher.  One thing that stood out to me was "Reading for Meaning."  This resource basically gives you tips on how to make sure a child understands what they are reading.  I think reading comprehension is one of the biggest problems in schools.  If you can't understand what you read, there is no point in reading at all.  This resource will prove helpful to me because I have never had problems with reading.  I am not sure how I would help a student with something I know nothing about.

Another resource I found interesting on the site was "ABCs of Teaching Reading."  Even though I plan on teaching high school, this resource will surely prove helpful.  A lot of students still do not know how to read properly when they get to high school. They have just been passed along in elementary school without knowing what they are reading.  When they get to high school, they are in serious trouble because the readings are much more difficult.  As said earlier, I never had trouble with reading, so it would be hard to know what a student with reading problems is going through.  I'm sure this resource will help.


  1. Hello Susie!
    I also used the "About Me" website to learn more about Dr. Scott McLeod. He sounds like an extremely smart man. I think that it is interesting that he founded CASTLE. I wonder how long it will take the world to make more of these “center[s] dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators”. I agree that the “Don’t teach your kids this stuff. Please?” article was very interesting. I am not a parent yet, but I already have fears about my children using the Internet. But, like you said, in our society today, we cannot live without the Internet. I think that it is a great resource, but students and children must learn how to use it effectively and in moderation. I do not think that children should be “plugged in” to a computer all the time. I have never thought about the negative effects of monitoring a child’s use of the Internet, but you bring up a good point in “The comments by some students in EDM310 in the spring 11 semester”. I am exactly like you, in that, if my parents told me not to do something, I was going to find a way to do just because they told me not to. I have matured since then, but sometimes I still catch myself doing things in spite of someone’s word.
    You bring up some negative points about “The iSchool Initiative”. Honestly, I do not support the idea at all. I do not like the idea of having everything, including textbooks, on a small hand held computer. I like holding a book in my hand while I read. I have tried to read on a Kindle and on computer screens and it makes my head hurt. I have to take breaks; I cannot look at the screen too long. I like to have a hard copy of the book sitting next me so I can reference it at any point in time. I know some people will argue with me on this, but I just feel more comfortable with the book in my hands rather than on a computer. I think that technology in schools is good, like the iPads for special education students and laptops for the general classroom, but I think the iSchool Initiative it pushing technology a little to far. I guess I will have to accept it one day if the idea becomes real.
    I thought “Eric Whitacre’s Vitual Choir” was amazing. I definitely agree that we take technology for granted because without advanced technology, this choir would not have been possible. I could not imagine trying to put this together; he is a talented man.
    I was indifferent about the “Teaching in the 21st Century” video. Roberts makes a good point saying that students can look anything up these days, but what about actually learning the material? Like you said, googling an answer is just a quick fix, not something that will stick with you forever. If teachers were only guides and no longer taught, how would students learn to write a paper or learn new vocabulary? I know I would not just sit at a computer reading documents on how to write a good paper. His video really did not change my mind either. I feel like teachers will always be needed to teach the basics. My teaching goal is to help students achieve their full potential, whether they need help on life challenges or just to pass my class, the Internet cannot offer that.
    I believe that “Reading Rockets” is a good resource. It will definitely be a better tool for you than me because you are going into English and I am going in Science. Reading and reading comprehension has never been a problem for me either. I cannot imagine the struggles a student faces when they cannot read or do not understand what they are reading. I am sure that it is difficult!
    This was a great blog post. All of your links worked and I did not see any grammar or spelling errors! Good luck in EDM310!

  2. I liked what you said about being able to get into trouble on the internet the same you can with anything else. It's completely true, but not something I've ever really thought about before. I also completely agree with you about monitoring children on the internet. If you're just constantly hanging over them, of course they're just going to get curious about what you don't want them to see, and get better at hiding what they're doing.

    I know it seems weird to say this, but I liked your concerns over the problems with the iSchool. It makes sense that some (or a lot, more likely) would be stolen. The same happened at my high school--we got to use computers for certain classes, and when the semester ended half of them were either missing or broken. It might be better if, instead of giving everyone an iSchool, just let everyone use their own computers if they have them, or use school computers.

    I never saw that "Reading for Meaning" resource on the Reading Rockets website--I'm going to be an English teacher, too, and that sounds like an excellent resource to use. I'm the same; I've never had problems with reading, so it's hard for me to understand the kinds of problems other people have with reading.

    Overall, I don't think I found a single error in your blog post, spelling or grammar wise, so good job! I'm always pleased when I see a blog post like yours.

  3. Hi Susie!
    You have a well thought out and well written blog post. I enjoyed reading about it. There were many videos for this blog assignment, and I thought your post about them would make someone who has not watched the videos be interested in going and visiting. Also, the non-video ones were well written to where someone would go visit the website to find out exactly what it is all about. You have done a great job with your blog, and I enjoyed this post and getting to look at everything else you have already done.
    Jessica Scarpa

  4. Susanelle,

    Scott McLeod was not trying to tell everyone about the dangers of the internet. He was trying to point out (in a sarcastic manner) that everything has risks, but if we use these risks to prevent us from enriching our lives with the benefits, we will miss out. I am glad that you understand the importance of technology, but it is so much more than just teaching children how to use the internet. This class does not just want everyone to "learn the internet," we want to foster a love of learning in these children that will drive them to really become involved in their educational career. Please add ALT and TITLE modifiers to your images.



    1. Rebekah,

      I understood what Scott McLeod was saying. I just didn't spell it out as directly as you did. I also understand what this class is supposed to be. I wasn't giving an overview of the class in my post; I was just writing about the videos/blogs we were assigned to view/read. Also, I have ALT and TITLE modifiers on my images.