Blog Response #5

URL: http://budtheteacher.typepad.com/bud_the_teacher/

Article Title: The Rest of my Whispering on Textbooks

My Response:I too am a student and agree that I only use text books in order to complete assignments that require me specifically to refer to them, such as on-line quizzes based off of reading and cramming for a test. Throughout my first few years of college have found that the elimination of text books as you are suggesting is definitely a growing phenomenon. This semester, I was required to purchase a text book for one of my six courses, and for the rest of my classes, readings have come from novels and gatherings of various articles.

The way I see it, the issues that hold us back from completely doing away with text books are:

1. Lack of quality teachers: If readings come merely from articles, then readings will typically be focused around more specific issues than general concepts. For this reason, it is imperative that teachers are able to provide students with adequate knowledge of each topic as well as clear cut organization to help guide students along through the course.

2. Transition of Technology: As with any switch from one type of technology/tool to the next, this sort of anti-textbook "fad" will take time to complete itself. This is comparable to the switch from cassettes to CDs and from VHS to DVD, however this change is even more drastic.

 

 

 

Blog Response #4

URL: http://www.speedofcreativity.org/

Title of Post: Podcast199: How to Create Bully Free Classrooms and Schools by Dr. Allan L. Beane

 "This podcast is a recording of a presentation by Dr. Allan L. Beane at the Safe and Healthy Schools conference in Oklahoma City on October 29, 2007. The official program description of this session was: This session includes a quick review of the nature of bullying and the rationale for preventing and stopping it. It also includes an examination of the components of an effective, antibullying program, practical and effective reearch-based strategies, activities, and curriculum. Participants will learn how to create classrooms and schools where all students feel safe and have a sense of belonging."

 [Responded to Podcast.]

My Response:

 I found this discussion interesting because the root of this extreme power that children have in a school shooting situation is often overlooked. While schools focus on installing state of the art security systems, zero tolerance policies, and issues of gun control are of utmost importance, the base of the problem, intra-student bullying, is breezed over.

At the college level I have even seen this take place, which is especially rare, in my opinion, for attending a large, public, state university in which people typically keep to themselves and their own friendship circles. Within certain forced friendship circles such as my own athletic team, I have seen hurtful Facebook "groups" made, targeted toward specific people that are often also the topic of direct bullying. And just as Dr. Beane pointed out, the creators of these groups are often good people, and in my opinion, some of the best, most caring people I know.

This is confusing to me. There must be a reason that one of the most charismatic people I have ever known in my life is, herself, a bully from time to time. Why is it that we are not taught the severity of our actions? Is this really a fault of education or one of human nature?

Here is another question I would like to propose. Why is it that today's schools are much more sensitive toward student behavior (in that there are many more efforts made today in terms of equality among students, speaking in a politically correct manner, etc. than in the past), yet the severity and frequency of violence seems to be increasing? Are people becoming more creative, and with this, crueler?

 

 

Blog Response #3

URL: http://armandod.typepad.com/the_growing_pains_of_a_ci/

Title of Post: Is the National Curriculum too busy?

...All sounds easy really, but try deconstructing the National Curriculum and then reconstructing it in a way that allows this to happen - it's a massive job; especially when we do it in a cross-curricular way.   

My Response:

In response to the title of this post: No, I do not think that our national curriculum is too busy, rather that it is too rigid.  Education boards today seem obsessed with getting students into the most advanced levels possible in every subject area as well as with things such as high placement scores on standardized tests in order to raise their schools' statistics.  Rather than trying to cram more (such as important information about technology) into a day of learning mathematics, science, English, etc. I would suggest reformatting the organization of the day.  Perhaps a lesson in technology could be combined with one in a history course by requiring students' presentations to use a power point system instead of poster boards.  Basically, I agree with the idea of constantly trying to improve students' abilities.  When I was young, the "average" math level upon entry to high school in my district was Pre-Calculus and the advanced level was Geometry.  The year after me, the average class was changed to Geometry.  When my parents were young, it was an even more basic math.  I believe it is important to push children into more challenging classes because that is how we will ultimately improve as a society.  However, that definitely does not require making their school day even busier.

 

Blog Response # 2

URL: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=17745453&postID=7126055675971277842

Title of Post: Being Creative


Serendipidously I was reading a blog entry from Cherie Toledo this evening and she commented on a video presentation by Tony Buzan on creativity. He says "creativity is the engine of all curricular" That it's not about what we learn but HOW we learn. and that is the challenge for us as teachers. Not to teach facts and knowledge (although he says we have to do that) but to teach HOW to learn. By teaching and allowing for creativity we are unleashing the potential of every student, every brain.
check it out here:

My Response:

I found the final part of this post, when Anne says "It is not what we learn, but HOW we learn" to be very interesting.  Currently in my child development class we are talking about the importance of understanding issues of development for teachers.  One of the aspects that I found most interesting was about a child's development of perception.  A student will take in information differently depending on the way in which a teacher interacts with him and the way in which the information is presented to him.  For instance, the use of color and a lively voice can help capture most anyone's attention better than plain-looking visuals and a monotone lecture.

I believe that a child's perception preferences not only change with their age but also with the generations.  When my parents were in grammar school during the 1950's, what types of presentations were considered attention-grasping in the classroom was much different than today, since they didn't have so many technological resources.  Since the vast majority of today's students are involved with technology on computers, on the internet, with videogames, televisions, cell phones, iPods, presently on a daily basis, going to school would naturally be boring for them if their classes consisted of old-fashioned teaching techniques composed of lectures given only by the teacher and chalkboard work as the most advanced form of interaction. 

I think it is great that you are finding innovative ways to incorporate fun technology into actually benefitting today's students.  It sounds like your classroom is one in which students will be excited to learn.

 

Blog Response # 1

URL: http://www.thethinkingstick.com/?p=563#comments

Title of Post:  What we do when we put them in a bubble

August 24th, 2007 by Jeff Utecht

An e-mail from a student I had last year and has moved (Posted with permission).

He's in 9th Grade:

We have alot more academic freedom here, and there are
several computer cliubs that I can choose from, but the school has put some
pretty unreasonable restrictions on computer usage. I'm starting to feel a
bit tech-deprived. Here are the rules on the library computers (which are
about the only ones that work right now)
1. You cannot download software
2. You cannot modify the computers
3. No games
4. No inappropriate content
    The second two rules are fine, but the first two, I think, are stifling
student creativity on the computers. For one, none of the computers have
Firefox, and they're extremely slow. The first rule prevents you from
downloading Firefox, or any other cool programs, and the second rule
disallows us from messing with the configurations in IE to make it faster.
I'm hoping they'll let us protect our S: Drive folders with Novell options.

What happens when we put them in a bubble, when we do not allow them to experiment (see post below)?

 

My Response:

With the level of advanced technology that we have in today's schools, I feel that there is no excuse for such strict rules in a school's computer lab.  Limits can be placed on students through codes on computers, so that they are unable to download games, instant messengers, or other things that teachers are opposed to.  However, restricting downloads of programs such as Firefox, which I have found from my own personal experience to work better than other browsers, seems way overdone. 

In my high school, if we needed to access a program for download or a certain website, we could simply call our librarian over and get them to override it, if appropriate.  If a school's lab is unable to perfectly modify student usage to an appropriate amount, this system seems like the next best option.

All in all, the fear that people presently have involved with exploration in technology is nonsensical.  In the most general terms, if we do not explore, then we do not discover, and we do not learn as much as we are capable of learning.  It is students like this one who spoke up to a past teacher in an email who need to take the step forward in their overly restricting school systems and break down the boundaries between their curiosity (or necessity in many cases) and strict limitations.

 
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