Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blog Assignment #2

Mr. Dancealot:
     Professor Dancealot is a humorous video posted on youtube by Kari Johnson that shows how much can go wrong when a course's goals, assessments, and learning activities aren't aligned. Professor Dancealot, who is in charge of teaching a social dancing class, uses PowerPoints to teach his students how to dance. The students are expected to sit there quietly and take notes without participating. As you can imagine, it'd be pretty hard to learn a dance without any hands on practice or experience! When it's time to take the final exam, everyone is confused and doesn't even know where to begin, even though they tried to prepare with the notes they were given. This style of learning is incredibly similar to most classes I've taken in my lifetime!
     While note taking definitely has its time and place, some subjects are best learned when the material is presented in a way that actually engages students. Not all information needs to be taught in the typical lecture based style, especially dancing! Most of the times students are able to take more away from a class when they actually get involved, and have hands on experience in learning a subject! I think Professor Dancealot was created to encourage teachers to break away from this old way of teaching, and to inspire them not to turn into one of those kinds of teachers. In this day and age, we have so many more options to turn to that can inspire us to be able to present material in a new & fresh way to our students! 

Teaching in the 21st Century:
     Teaching in the 21st Century is a Prezi created by Kevin Roberts. This presentation breaks down how the world has changed, and why the way teachers need to approach education needs to change too! Roberts explains that since students have so much technology available at their fingertips to access any information they could ever want or need, the typical role of teachers is now no longer needed. We need to switch the focus from teaching facts and random bits of information to teaching skills that our students will be able to take with them, and use forever! I've created an outline that lays out some of the main points of Robert's argument. This video is powerful, and really makes you think about teaching from a whole new perspective! I highly recommend that any future educator watch it so they can understand Robert's point of view! 

- What does it mean to teach in the 21st century?
     - Teachers only provide facts, dates, theories, etc.
     - This means the role of teachers is now obsolete...
- Students can find information anywhere.
     - Blogs, Youtube, Google, Wikipedia, Cellphones, iPads, etc.
- Teachers are there to be the filter to teach students how to handle this information! 
     - Students need to learn how to:
          - validate, synthesize, leverage, communicate,                     collaborate & problem solve.
- Should we be teaching facts and content vs. skills?
     - Students need to learn how to:
          - remember, understand, apply, anaylze, evaluate,                   create!
- What does this mean for the classroom?
Entertainment vs. Engagement
- It starts with YOU! 
     - See what's out there, start small, collaborate, take a            risk. 
The Networked Student Processes and Tools
 The Networked Student:
     The Networked Student, a youtube video posted by Wendy Drexler, shows just what might be expected of the 21st century student someday! In the video, an important question is posed: "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" The video goes on to explain that a teacher is there to help their students learn how to build up their own PLN (personal learning network), to help them when they get stuck during their research, and to encourage them to keep striving to put their best effort forward. Not only is the teacher there to do that, but also to encourage students to become lifelong learners! That means taking advantage of their PLN, and everything that they have learned long after they have finished school! So yes, I agree that even though students are becoming more and more independent learners, and even though technology is available to allow them to do this on their own, teachers still need to be there to help guide them along the way as they go through this process.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts:
     Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts is a video post from Edutopia about all of the cool things that Vicki Davis is doing in her classroom. She brings up the point that she thinks every child is capable of learning, but when you only use paper and pencils in the classroom only certain types of learners are going to succeed. Mrs. Davis is able to teach the same curriculum in all of her classes, but customizes the specifics based on her students’ individual interests. Using this method, Mrs. Davis teaches her students how to use new software, how to blog, and how to collaborate with their own classmates as well as other students from around the world. 
     Mrs. Davis allows her students to share their projects and assignments through a website called DigiTeen, which encourages them to communicate and start discussions with other students about the material. One unique thing about Mrs. Davis is that when she introduces a term that her students are unfamiliar with, she expects them to google it and find out! It's important for students to be able to figure out some things for themselves in this day and age, especially when so much technology is right at our fingertips. Not only does she expect this from her students, but they are also responsible for teaching some of the lessons! When a student really understands and grasps a concept, they are allowed to get up in front of the class and teach their fellow classmates what they know. Mrs. Davis believes that this gives them the empowerment that they need to be confident in their skills, and to keep striving to be self learners.

Flipping the Classroom:
     Before I watched Ms. Munafo's video about Flipping the Classroom, I had heard about this idea before, but forgot what it was all about! I think this idea is pretty brilliant, especially when it comes to teaching math. To be able to use technology to introduce new lessons at home, this gives students more time in class to actually work at mastering those skills instead of spending so much valuable class time taking notes. Students can arrive to class already prepared with their questions, and with an idea of what they will be learning next so that way their teacher can begin to help them figure things out instead of wasting that time introducing the material. This idea also comes in handy because it gives students who need extra help some videos to look back on for review! Since I have my own Macbook, and I'm able to record videos pretty easily, I'd love to do this with my own math class someday! 


  1. This style of learning is incredibly similar to most classes I've taken in my lifetime!" How unfortunate!

    "...some subjects are best learned when the material is presented in a way that actually engages students." What "some"? Do we ever learn anything if we are not engaged?

    Thorough. Thoughtful. Well done!

  2. Hi Savannah. You gave great reviews on the videos. I also agree with the flipping of the classroom. This idea is very interesting and I will be implementing this is my classroom. Good Job!