Chapter 1: ARC – OF – LIFE LEARNING
Quote: “What happens to learning when we move from the stale infrastructure of the twenty-first century, where technology is constantly creating and responding to change?” (Brown, Thomas, P. 17).
I chose this quote because I believe it can basically be used to describe what we are trying to accomplish in our ED 530 Tech class at CSUSM. I did not realize nearly how “programmed” I am to learn and teach using methods from our “stale infrastructure”. For example, I am so used to giving and receiving grades. The whole badge mastery system we use in our class really freaked me out at first but now I am all for it! It has pushed me to further realize that technology is constantly creating and responding to change and that I must as well.
Question: Why is it that so many people are so opposed to change within the educational arena? Everyone from students, parents, teachers, administrators and others seem to resist advancements in technology in many different ways.
Connection: People are often intimidated by what’s new or foreign. People today are very much creatures of habit. The do not for the most part always welcome change. I have personally experienced this with my technology class this semester at CSUSM. This class has asked us to establish a presence within social media and specifically Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more. For someone who has previously never really been involved with social media, this was very intimidating. There was somewhat of a steep learning curve for myself. I think my experience is similar to those who resist big changes in education such as we are currently seeing. We live in a digital world. Education is increasingly embracing many digital aspects to learning. Thus we must embrace a shift in thinking regarding education.
Epiphany: We do not need to “teach” every little aspect of a unit to students but rather, teachers should focus on creating the right environment for students to learn. Our digital world is perfect for this! “Far more important, however, the students referenced each other. For them, classroom time had become the least significant part of the overall experience. They had formed their own learning community and used course readings and material to make sense of what they were doing. And they had done it by themselves, for themselves” (Brown, Thomas, P. 25). This is essentially a prime example of the new culture of learning. The way in which we think about information, learning, and play are transforming. By no means should it be resisted. Many technological resources today offer advanced ways for students to play and explore their passions while taking learning to a further degree. Many of the programs students are being told they can't use in the classroom such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , Snapchat, etc.. have the ability to connect students to a larger learning community. As teachers we need to be creative and find ways to utilize what the students already use into our lesson plans. This will further connect a sense of play within lessons and allow more students to explore their passions. We need to foster learning communities for students that is truly theirs.
Chapter 2: A TALE OF TWO CULTURES
Quote: “For most of the twentieth century our educational system has been built on the assumption that teaching is necessary for learning to occur.” (Brown, Thomas, P. 34).
This quote resonates with me deeply. As mentioned in this chapter, we are steadily moving away from this model in education especially as Common Core is beginning to take shape. The chapter mentions that this model can not keep up with our rapidly changing society in the 21st century. Einstein once said that I do not teach my students but rather he provided the environment and circumstances for them to learn! This is where our new era in education is currently heading.
Question: How can we as educators get students to be more comfortable with the changes that are taking place in education?
Connection: So many students are used to being given an answer. Personally I know that I was trained to think this way as well. This mentality has followed me even into the credential program to some degree. I have been trying to break this habit myself with the help of our tech class and its unique format. I have been working with my students on this as well. They constantly ask me for answers and if something is right. Most of the time they will ask me these things without having read their readings or really trying to do their work. This is because they have been conditioned to think this way. I hope to help them break these habits, which will make them more prepared for the 21st century workplace and life after high school.
Epiphany: When students enter the workforce they will not always be able to ask someone how to do something. In fact, if they ask how to do something to frequently, they could be fired. Students need to be able to show initiative and figure out how to find answers and complete tasks on their own!
Chapter 3: EMBRACING CHANGE
Quote: The Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” (Brown, Thomas, P. 39).
I chose this quote because I believe it is a perfect metaphor for education today and what we are trying to get students to achieve. We want to see students accel, grow and to change. With every interaction students have in school they are changing and molding into a different version of themselves. If a teacher gives the same tired old lessons every day, students can quickly become disenfranchised and turned off. However, by using a variety of lessons and techniques while exposing students to different types of software, programs, and ways of completing their tasks and work, we can influence students to build a toolbox which they can carry throughout their schooling and life. This way, every time they step in the “river” (school), they will positively grow while embracing change.
Question: How can we as educators inspire our students to take ownership of their learning and to find answers for themselves and not rely on being told an answer?
Connection: “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime,” (Brown, Thomas, P. 40). This quote sums up the connection that I made with this chapter. We need to stop “feeding” our students answers and teach them to be able to find their own while coming to their own conclusion. I am constantly asked in my history classes, “Mr. H is this right?”. I tell students “I don’t know, what do you think?” Students usually then refer to a reading passage and then reiterate where they found certain information and then justify their answer to me. Usually they are spot on and then I ask them why did you ask me if your answer is right and they tell me something along the lines of they want to get full points. We need to break students of these habits and get them to trust themselves and their ability decipher information and justify it. We all know that the days of multiple choice tests are numbered. Students need to be able to justify not only in the classroom but in life. This starts with ourselves as educators. This will also help students to manage the constant changes in the world today with evolving things such as technology. Students need to rely on themselves. This will better prepare them to handle things such as the constant changes and evolution of technology.
Epiphany: Unfortunately, education does not change as rapidly as technology. As mentioned on page 48 of our reading, many believe that schools suffer from excess structure. I believe this is true. Another problem I see is an overabundance of political correctness. Schools and districts are often so caught up with standards and curriculum that focus on old and outdated ways of doing things. Many social media tools and new and emerging websites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat are quickly banned by districts thus limiting the power of teachers and students to adapt these programs to the classroom. Some of these things have the ability to get students engaged in their work however that is lost with administrators. Students are extremely innovative. However when we shun that which helps them to be innovative and to connect with others in an advanced 21st century way, students get disenfranchised and turned off by school.