Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blog Assignment 3

A mathematics lecture, apparently about linear algebraImage via Wikipedia

A Vision of Students Today

I have mixed ideas after watching this video. I believe the creators’ intentions were to show how inadequate most college lectures are at retaining the attention of the average college student. After more hours than I care to recall sitting in a classroom desk, I agree. Although the majority of my professors have gone to projected power points instead of chalkboards (I had a few who still preferred this method!), few lectures were really spent integrating technology into the classroom. I would say that the majority of the statistics used in the video were spot on. I know I am guilty of using my laptop for things other classwork during lecture. However, I am not certain that prohibiting laptops (not that this is the solution given by the video) would keep students from checking out Facebook during class. Even if professors increased the amount of technology they included in the lecture, most would still become distracted.
I think the answer lies in more discussion and less lecture. I believe a statistic they touched on, but did not address directly is that most American college students do not do the assigned readings before class. If teachers held discussions of the material instead of lectures on the material, perhaps more students would be inclined to do their outside reading, and would be more engaged during the expensive class session. Now, with an average class size of 115, I understand how difficult and futile this would be. The immediate response it to hire more college professors or have more class times allowing for smaller classes, but I am sure this would raise only the cost of tuition and not the quality of the education at most universities. One last thought, I think most college textbooks would get more use if they were on-line with helps such as those at, which introductory biology students are using this semester.

It's Not about the Technology

I enjoyed Mrs. Hines' post primarily for two reasons: one she points out that technology is a tool and not the answer, and two she rightly stated that teachers must lead by example when she said teachers must be learners. I know a lot of teachers I have met felt like once they had their diploma and landed their tenures then they were set. No need to pursue anything further. One teacher I worked with flat refused to do anything our directors requested even if it made things easier for us simply because she did not want to learn a new way of doing anything. Professional development was seen as “cruel and unusual punishment” by nearly everyone. Almost all of the teachers I worked with were computer illiterate, and did not mind staying that way despite the fact that our entire program was computer based. Granted, most of the teachers were 20+ year veterans working for beginning teacher’s salaries, so, there was not a lot of incentive.
John Smith, one of my podcast members, mentioned that with the increase of technology in the classrooms that perhaps competition for teaching jobs will increase. He also said this would hopefully lead to better teachers, teachers who are capable of learning new techniques, who are creative and innovative. I think this is a good thing. I am not saying it will be good loosing veteran teachers because their experience can be invaluable for new teachers like me. However, teachers who are unwilling or unable to change will be left behind and perhaps would hinder not help their students. This will not always be the case because some of the best teachers are “old school.” However, the veterans who are most valuable are the ones who know how to teach because they are learners, even if the learning does not involve much technology. Having teachers who are capable of inspiring creativity and innovation will be as important as the tech geeks. I read on the 2030 initiative’s site that the hope is teachers of the future will come from many paths and not straight from a teacher’s education program for this very reason. Ultimately, I think that will lead to the best schools. Technology is great when properly used by multiple people who see the world from different views.

Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

I had never heard of the native verses immigrant to technology theory. Perhaps this is because I was a teen during the 1990’s, so I would probably fall into the native category. Regardless, I think the author of the list had several valid points. Despite anyone’s view of the good vs. evil of technology in schools, the fact remains it is a part of billions of people’s everyday life. As technology continues to expand due to lower costs, this is only going to increase. Therefore, it is vital that educators know at least the basics of daily technological devices. I believe number 7 summed up why teachers must know this best; “[W]e don't have the moral right to sit placidly on the sidelines whilst some educators are potentially jeopardising the chances of our youngsters.” As teachers it is our job to be the best we can so that our students can reach their full potential.
To answer Mr. Fisch’s question of is a computer illiterate teacher the equivalent of a teacher who could not read and write 30 years ago, I have to say YES! I know this is extreme, but without a doubt the teacher is not only hindering themselves, but their students. This isn’t to say that computer illiterate teachers don’t have something to offer, but they are without question limiting their effectiveness. No matter what advances are made in any discipline, a person who is not willing to be a life-long learner in that discipline is going to become a relic and therefore unable to compete. Teachers should be no exception, but instead should be the trend-setters when it comes to learning. I just want to clarify I don’t think a teacher has to know everything about anything, but it is ESSENTIAL they be willing to learn, modify and adapt their pedagogy their entire careers just as doctors have to continuously learn new techniques as medicine advances.

Garys Social Media Count

This counter really was cool. It is amazing how quickly the numbers change. One question I have though, are these numbers just for America or globally? Globally makes more sense, and if you consider there are about 7 billion people in the world, the numbers aren’t quite as impressive. The point of the counter though is to show how exponentially technology is expanding, which it does. Perhaps it would be more impressive if showed side by side with counters from 10, 20, and even 30 years ago. I know most of the data for today such as iPhone apps or Facebook comments would not be available even 10 years ago, but that might make the information show the growth even more. I am sure there is something that Mr. Hayes could find that spans all three decades, such as the one about e-mail.
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  1. Lisianna,

    I agree that we can learn a lot from Kelly Hines, and I love how she uses technology as a tool. We definitely cannot completely rely on technology, but we must include it in our classrooms. I whole heartedly agree with Karl Fisch's belief that teachers who are not technologically literate are like teachers who could not read. It is extremely important for future educators to be able to use technology in the classroom to better prepare the students.

  2. Great post Lisianna! After reading this (who am I kidding, I thought this before), I know you are going to be an amazing teacher!!! I agree with a lot of your points. I've come to realize that you and I seem to think similarly on a lot of the topics we have covered in this class. I especially agree that a discussion based class would be more beneficial to the students than a lecture based class. My proof is that I have compared my lecture classes to ones that are more hands on or have discussions.

  3. Awe! Thanks Alexa. I've enjoyed reading your posts as well and feel the same about your teaching future! I can't wait to have my own classroom again. There really is a feeling of completion, satisfaction and joy that comes with finally achieving what you know you were meant to do. I believe I will be adding you to my PLN! :)