Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Assignment #5

Travis Allen and his team of students promoting the iSchool Initiative
iSchool? Maybe.

The videos "The iSchool initiative (Mobile Learning)" and "Travis Allen's ZeitgeistYoungMinds entry (Mobile Learning) iSchool Initiative" by Travis Allen are very creative, interesting and thoughtful. When he made the video, he was a 17 year old high school student who had an idea in mind to help schools and students way of learning. He used YouTube to relay his ideas. When he was 18, he formed the iSchool Initiative. He is now a student of Kennesaw State University in Georgia, travelling the world with his team of 25 members to inspire schools into mobile learning and making a difference. In these videos, he talks about his ideas, what he hopes to change within schools and ways to help students learn better at a lower budget. Like the iTouch, which provides us many apps that help us interact and learn, he hoped to launch the iSchool. The iSchool Initiative is also to battle against the massive budget cuts all schools are facing. Ischool is a similar handheld device like the iTouch but for school use only. It will be built on Apple's iTouch platform. It will have applications to replace expensive graphing calculators, expensive college textbooks, printers, pencils, paper, and etc. There are also apps that allow students to travel the Universe with just a single tough. There is also an app that contains all the formulas a student would ever need. With all this in mind, for the sake of learning, the iSchool device is limited to school use only. This will prevent the worries of students browsing, texting or calling during class time. This is also helpful for teachers. They will get instant access to any class, set up due dates, assignments and etc. at anytime, anywhere. This is also a benefit for parents since they can monitor or look up their child's progress at the palm of their hands. It is really a creative and helpful idea to fight against budget cuts and the quality of student learning. This will also help our environment. Because it's paperless, we are going "green".

Even though it's creative and it seems helpful, there are just a few things that will take a negative impact. Because this is will remove the need of books, paper, printers, calculators and such, wouldn't it also remove jobs as well? Wouldn't this remove business such as Staples, Office Depot, printing companies, factories and etc.? Wouldn't this remove teachers from their jobs too? It sounds good for the schools part but wouldn't we have more people who will be unemployed? I don't think we can afford to "go green", fire people or shut down business at this time of the century. As a student, I would love iSchool but I really don't mind paying $100 for a textbook, $150 for a graphic calculator or doing things the traditional way. Yes, it is money out of my pocket but it is also money back into business. For businesses to run, people need to spend. Yes, textbooks are really high in price through our bookstore but have you asked why that is the case? Have you done research on it? Greed is not the answer. In a way, I feel like I am helping both me and the businesses associated. The production of iSchool may produce jobs but I don't think it'll be enough. The iSchool would also require everyone to learn the technology. The idea of iSchool would also kill the essence of many things such as physical interaction, face-to-face communication, motor skills and etc. Even now, what ever happened to penmanship? What ever happened to writing papers in proper English? We have students who are so reliant on technology to fix it. Let's give them those old manual typewriters. How many errors would they make? Sorry there is no backspace available or auto correct. We will become too reliant on this device to the point where we don't even know "how" to talk to one another or how we can live without it. Even today, there are people who believe it's the end of the world when they lose their smartphone. There are people who hang out but all they do is text each other instead of actually talking. Also, I would much rather an Engineer knows his formulas, chemicals, solutions and such with memory than by relying on a device that spits out answers. Yes, with iSchool it'll be much easier and quicker to access information but we will develop a reliance on it. What if the iSchool app fails or has an issue? Every electronic will have their issues. Is there a work around? What if teachers are then required to give a paper exam. Would students know how to solve a problem without the device? What if a student needs to do research, their device doesn't work and the library is shut down because of the awesome development of the device? What will they do then? Well, we would use another device or go on the internet but that is not the point. I am not saying that the iSchool is entirely a bad thing. I love technology and would prefer to spend less money but I think iSchool will have more of a negative impact than a positive one across the board. I personally prefer the traditional ways of learning. To counter school budget cuts and layoffs is not by producing a device to solve it but to stand against the one's making the cutting decisions. Even if we produce a device to counter the problems we have in schools, they can surely cut the amount of devices we can have in the school as well. They can also cut more teachers and staff. Let's say every school decides to go with the iSchool phenomenon, which means the government will have to borrow or print more money to get the parts or China to produce it. It's more national spending, less jobs for the U.S. because people who create books, pencils, calculators, run the labs, library and such will be laid off, less spending and consumption by our citizens and etc. The iSchool has the ability to counter the issues but would it really helpful in the long run on many accounts? That is the question. It may work, and I have to give Travis Allen credit for coming up with a brilliant idea. We need more people like him that wants to help solve the problems in schools one way or another.

Eric Whitacre and his amazing Virtual Choir consisting many people from around the world.
Virtual Choir

After reading Jennifer Chamber’s post and watched Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, it is truly amazing how creative a person can be and learn how powerful technology can be!! Basically it is a video consisting 185 different people around the world who does not know each other at all yet they created an outstanding choir through the power of technology and the creativity of Eric Whitacre. Eric Whitacre is a famous American Grammy award-winning composer and conductor. He created the "Virtual Choir" project to bring together the many people around the world together. What he is doing is a beautiful and remarkable thing. Technology can bring people together to create something beautiful like this. Things such as national problems, stereotypes, prejudice, skin color, cultural differences and etc. were set aside. You can also think of it as uniting hearts across the globe to make a movement. Technology allows us to be who we are without the fear of what society thinks and allows us to create something extraordinary. They did not need to meet, practice together or anything like that. Each individual simply stayed who they are, believed in their capabilities regardless of what others might say, and weren't shy about it. It doesn't matter if they we are not "perfect", are “off-key" or not a singer. Each individual has their own talent and that talent can be used in anything. I think that was the message he wanted to send us. It doesn't matter who you are or where you are from, you make a difference and can make or be of something remarkable. Everyone is beautiful and talented in their own ways. Technology is used to show all of this. Technology is too powerful in many ways. This is showing us how we can be united together in a single voice of peace and not war. In fact, technology or the use of internet is how me and my husband got together. We never regretted a single moment and I would like to thank the existence of the internet that changed our lives. I also thank technology for it allowed Eric Whitacre create this beautiful voice and song of the world.

Kevin Roberts says we are no longer the main source of information but a filter.
Teaching in the 21st Century?

The video, " Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts (Dr. John Strange version)", really makes you think especially if you a future educator. The way we teach is going to change as more and more technology is integrated into the classrooms. I think Kevin Roberts wants us to know that what we teach and the teaching strategies will change but that doesn't mean it's the end of the teaching career. We will no longer be the main source for information but a filter. That may sound absurd but in a way, it's still teaching. The student can use Google, Wikipedia and other websites out there to get the information but someone has to teach them how to do it, how to search and understand which information is actually useful. We need to be the ones teaching them how to use that information effectively. He believes we will be the ones teaching the necessary skills a student needs. Even though teaching in the 21st century may be a change out of the traditional norm, it's going to happen and we need to go with the "flow". Our careers won't end but it'll surely be different.

I honestly don't know what to think about this. I know I have to accept this reality and see it as a positive change. I guess it can be a good thing. I personally don't mind it but I can see many people who are not going to be happy about it. I dislike knowing the idea that I will just be a "filter". In the end, we can still "teach", just not the factual information but the skills. That is still an important thing to teach people. We may lose the part where we are the main source but at least we still have something we can make a difference in. In reality, teaching is not just about teaching factual information and the skills too. Students need to be thought how to analyze, apply, observe, and dissect the information they obtain. They also need to be taught the morals, the rules, and etc. We are here to do that.

A flipped classroom can also be understood as an
Flipping The Classroom

The videos, "Why I Flipped the Classroom" by Miss Katie, FAQ videos by Miss Katie and Dr. Lodge McCammon's FIZZ - Flipping the Classroom" by Dr. Lodge, teaches you the ways you can "flip" or "change" the classroom into a "better" one. They are both teachers that found problems in their classrooms. The problems are not just in their own classrooms but many. Most will ask the question, how can I fix it? These two teachers suggested "flipping the classroom". Instead of wasting time with problems students may have such as not understanding the material, being too behind, too ahead and etc., and students are provided with information before the class starts. What this means is students will have the materials available to them before the class. If they have any questions, they can ask before class. This can help students catch up and ask questions out of class time. Also these materials can be re-watched or reviewed. This allows students who are behind to catch up with the rest of the class. "Flipping the classroom" allows students to learn at their own pace without interfering with actual class time. Because these are out of class time, there are more room to apply materials during class.

In Dr. Lodge's video, he started a "FIZZ" project. He says that there is too much lecture in the classroom, which is not engaging. He also says that telling the students to independently learn is also not engaging. Therefore he started the FIZZ project to help train educators to "flip" the classroom. Students are learning outside of the classroom through videos provided by their teachers whenever and however they want. This allows for students who are behind to catch up to. It is very similar to Miss Katie's "flipping the classroom". Instead of lecturing during class time, the teacher should act as a facilitator and have students apply their knowledge.

All of these are good ideas and ways change teaching and the classroom. Providing students videos, interactive ways of learning, information and such before the class starts is a positive thing. I really like the idea. There will be problems like students not watching the videos but that can be fixed. As a student, there are many classes that I've been in where 80% of the semester is the professor trying to cater to those who are behind. I feel like my time was wasted. It is fine to try to get students to catch up but please do not use the entire lecture time. I would like to learn something new, ways to apply the information and such. To fix this, I think we should have been giving the information and a forum where we can post our problems. Our problems can be answered by the professor or other students. This allows interaction between students. Even during this semester, there are some classes where I just sit there and practically do nothing because the professor focuses on getting the students behind to catch up. I only attend class because I'm required to. I think "flipping" the classroom is what we need to do.


  1. Hi Anna,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post is was very detailed. Your grammar and punctuation was all correct. It was very well written. Good job!!

  2. "Because this is will remove the need of books, paper, printers, calculators and such, wouldn't it also remove jobs as well? Wouldn't this remove business such as Staples, Office Depot, printing companies, factories and etc.? Wouldn't this remove teachers from their jobs too?" Have you had a good cry on behalf of newspaper employees lately? It is coming soon to all of us - including university and college teachers and educators in general.

    "There are also apps that allow students to travel the Universe with just a single tough." the entire Univers? oh my. And all that time with a "tough."

    I thought I wrote long paragraphs. You set a new record here.

    "...that will take a negative impact. " I think you mean have rather than take.

    I have a bridge for sale. I really need the money. It appears that you are willing to help. Just give me a check the next time you see me. Thanks!

    "I would much rather an Engineer knows his formulas, chemicals, solutions and such with memory..." teach before an; who before knows; in memory, not with memory (but that is still awkward .... maybe who has memorized rather than knows).

    "liWe need more people like him that wants to help solve the problems..." who, not that; want not wants

    Mr. Winkle would really like to meet you! He thinks you and he would be sympatico. I would, however, warn you both to stay out of Baldwin County. Every student will be furnished a MacBook or an iPad by the start of the 2014 - 2015 school year.

    "... especially if you a future educator." Use intend to be instead of a.

    In a flipped classroom you are unclear what will be done during class time. Some of the things you mention as being done before the class (asking questions for example) I would expect to be done in class if the classroom had been flipped.

    Thoughtful. Energetically presented. Fearful of change and job loss. Yet cautiously thinking about embracing change, or at least some change.

    1. Hi Dr. Strange,

      Thank you for your corrections. I guess doing proof-reading twice didn't help me enough.

      I am aware of the situation at Baldwin County. I am not too fond of the idea that every student will be furnished a MacBook or Ipad but if that is how it is, then that is how it is. It is a good thing that students are given and will be taught about our current technology but I think the money could've been used for something else. Putting Macbooks and Ipads in a classroom sounds better to me than giving each student their own but that is just my opinion. I may not be seeing something behind this situation.

      As for change, change will always happen. We just have to learn to embrace it. I love and am all for technology. It is amazing on how it helps the present time and it makes you wonder what it'll do for the future. I am just worried for other people, not so much myself.

      Thank you again. I will be extra, extra careful with my spelling, grammar and sentence structures.