"With just a computer and access to the Internet, one can view or consume an almost unimaginably diverse array of information and points of view" (pg. 52).
Technology has opened so many doors for us, yet education has not really caught onto just how much technology can advance one's education.
The difference between innovation of the past and the present is that it is driven more by people’s creativity than by high level scientific research. With advances of the internet and technology the impossible is made possible. How do we translate that impossible to possible into the classroom?
One huge push that helps spur creativity is the internet! We now have authentic audiences looking at our posts online either through our website, twitter, etc...and commenting on it. I believe one way to translate this into the Internet is get every student a computer or iPad and let them explore and discover--just like you and I do. That is a start. Then we start slowly integrating those computers into our daily lessons. What amazes me is how slow we are in education to transition with the times! I feel that we can use this technology as a resource. Give our students access to all of the information and have them sift through the information they find to figure out what is important and useful for the task at hand. We as educators are effectively competing with technology as enablers for students’ education. I think we will have more success if we learn to work side by side and accept the technology instead of resist it. Many teachers focus too much on the negative! Our students are constantly checking their phones to see what friend sent them a text, commented back on a post/picture somewhere, so why are so many classroom still lacking computers? Our students need computers. They need to discover and not just be told to memorize facts.
Here’s a great blog that discusses how technology makes the impossible, possible. It specifically discusses children from the slums of Kenya who are able to learn from others around the world when they cannot afford books, education or even food. Technology is allowing everyone access to an education and a wealth of knowledge, especially those who could not access an education without technology. Sometimes I think we focus on the negatives of technology in our reality (students are on SnapChat or Instagram while in class or constantly texting) and I think we don’t see how positively technology is affecting those outside of our bubble.
Chapter 5: "The Personal with the Collective"
“One of the greatest concerns about digital media today is that it may be rendering our lives too transparent. Almost every new media application provides some way to share personal information with friends, coworkers, or an audience" (pg. 55).
Our kids are constantly snapping, tweeting and gramming in the classroom, but solely for personal reasons. Social media doesn't mean you have to put all of your information out there. We as educators, can teach our students how to use social media properly.
The possibilities are endless for using social media in the classroom, but how do we inform our students and parents how to use social media in an educational setting and use it properly?
Social media users share among themselves day in and day out, giving and receiving information at rapid speeds. This information is more than funny cat videos; they share views and opinions; tips, tricks, and even DIY projects (i.e. 20% project); and, among students, helpful information for classes. Their ability to assess, analyze, retain and share information is skyrocketing and they often don’t even realize they’re developing these skills. Only people born before the Internet was invented are likely to understand the magnitude of this new style of communication.
Social media networks are designed for the purpose of communal connections. Today’s students are accessing Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram to connect and share with those around them. One of the most interesting things about social media is that users can interact and engage with each other solely through a Web presence, perhaps never even meeting in person.
Chapter 6: "We Know More than We Can Say"
“Different people, when presented with exactly the same information in exactly the same way, will learn different things" (pg. 79).
Students enter classrooms with different abilities, learning styles, and personalities. Educators are mandated to see that all students meet the standards but often we see teachers teaching one way to all of their students, regardless of their obvious differences in learning styles and preferences.
Options are a great way to help students find what works for them and make a project or assignment more exciting for them. If we can make decisions every day on our different options (i.e. what to eat for breakfast, what color shirt to wear, etc.), why can’t we be doing the same in school?
Providing our students with choice is one of the most powerful things we can do for them. It empowers, engages, and inspires them. It teaches them how to make decisions, be independent, and solve problems. When we give them choice in how to learn, show, and share their knowledge we are sending some very clear messages. We are letting them know that we care about them and that we value their decisions. What better way to help build positive self esteem in our learners? We are also creating a supportive classroom environment where risk taking is encouraged and celebrated, and mistakes are not frowned upon but a reason to keep trying. Choice helps develop life long learners. Students are a lot more curious when they are in control of what or how they learn. Choice puts the student at the center of their learning. When I started to provide more choice for my students there were several changes I noticed with my students. These include increased engagement, problem solving, ownership of learning, authenticity of learning, collaboration, cooperation, peer assessment, and pride with accomplishments. These are all good reasons to give your students more choice.
Traditionally being in control is most natural for teachers. It is very easy to see why teachers struggle or are fearful with offering their students choice. As an educator myself, I totally understand that. For many, letting go of classroom control is a very scary and unimaginable task. It’s filled with a lot of “but what if...”.