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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Post #2 What Will Teaching Be Like in the 21st Century
Professor Dancealot by: Jo Davis, Secoria Burks, and Lindsay Stewart
Professor Dancealot is not your ideal teacher. Was he knowledgeable about his subject? Yes. Was he knowledgeable about being able to effectively teach his skills to others? No, if anything, the professor provides an example of what not to do in teaching. Professor Dancelot did utilize one form of technology (PowerPoint) in his classroom; however, the subject he was teaching could have benefited from a more “hands-on” style of instruction as a dance class by nature should be interactive. Even though the professor used a PowerPoint, it did not engage the students as it was only words with a few diagrams. With the technology available today, even adding a video in his lessons would have made his teaching slightly less depressing for his students. Professor Dancealot attempted to teach his students the different types of dances including form and movement; however, Professor Dancelot stayed behind a long desk the entire time. This prevented his students from seeing the necessary moves for each respective dance, and when the students attempted to participate, the professor advised them to remain seated and quiet. The students stated they felt as if they were not learning anything, and they showed no comprehension of the material taught. This is because they were not allowed to practice the skills being taught nor were they able to see the skills performed correctly. Professor Dancealot’s teaching style leaves much to be desired, and this style could be aligned with the “burp-back” education method that today’s students see far too often. Professor Dancealot could benefit from a semester in EDM310!

Teaching in the 21st Century
by Lindsay Stewart
In Kevin Roberts’ Prezi, he expresses his views for what it means to teach in the 21st century. Kevin views the changing landscape of education to be one that is evolving into an environment of technology, networking, and collaboration. Kevin describes how traditional education is becoming obsolete. He explains how students can now get the information they need on any topic at any moment via the internet (through various sources). Kevin suggests that teachers should become “filters,” because students can find the information they need; however, someone is needed to help the students break that information down and use it effectively with all the available technological tools. Kevin’s views on the future of education may in fact one day be the norm, and in some educational settings, it is being used on a smaller scale. While I agree with Kevin on many of his points, I also believe there is more work to be done in providing all students with the kind of technology that Kevin presents in his Prezi. There are still many locations/communities that do not have access to a high-speed internet service; in addition, how can we get more funding for our schools to stay on top of the ever-changing technologies? Today, many schools are working on outdated technology equipment (if they have access to any at all). These are issues that merit consideration, as our current education system has certain standards to be met for students at different grade levels. How can we measure a student’s progress if they do not have access to the same tools as a student from a school/community that has the latest technologies at their fingertips?
If Kevin is correct in his analysis, education as we know it will never be the same. Students (and adults) crave knowledge, and this desire cannot and should not be stifled. Kevin’s break down of teaching in the 21st century is certainly something we should contemplate, and when possible, we should utilize these concepts when teaching others.

The Networked Student
by Secoria V. Burks
Connective learning gives students the ability to teach themselves in a very real and interactive way. Through the use of social networks and the internet, the student becomes his own instructor, there are no books, and the teacher barely lectures. The idea behind this type of teaching is that learning is done with connections that can be acquired through technology.
Essentially the student would make their own virtual textbooks. They would use databases, message boards, forums, and expert sources to create a knowledge base on the subjects they are studying. Classmates would then share their findings on a blog that can be seen by the world.
The teacher might seem useless at this point but their role is to teach the student how to build and manage their newly acquired knowledge. The teacher would give guidance and teach how to effectively communicate with potential experts on subjects. Teachers would also help students navigate away from propaganda and stick to the facts, and they would advise how to start the search for information.
I can appreciate this way of teaching, it gives the student the real ability and responsibility to teach and learn for themselves. However, as a person who enjoys more of a human connection between student and teacher this would probably not be the best style of teaching for me. Students in the 20th century,like myself are more accustomed to learning with books and hand-to-mouth notes. Students in the 21st century who would have grown up with these new types technology would be better suited to connectivism. Thus I can see how students in the 21st century would benefit more with this form of teaching.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
By Jo Davis
Edutopia’s video on “Harnessing Your Students’ Digital Smarts” showcased Vicki Davis and her fantastic take on the teaching and application of technology in school. Technology classes such as Vicki Davis’s are the future of our education system. We absolutely need more examples like this class and teacher in schools all around the world. It was made a point to say that Davis did not let the fact that she lives and teaches from rural Georgia stop her from being technologically literate. She has a passion for teaching future generations to be well versed in using technology and getting them to have a desire to explore it themselves. The fact that her class was completely hands-on, and even had the students instruct at times, ensures that the students have an actual understanding and are developing their skills. The use of tools like blogs, online-parter based projects, and even a class wiki provides great opportunity to learn how to utilize technology in various ways. Another thing I found very interesting is at one point in the video the curriculum director speaks on how Vicki Davis has gotten them connected to the whole world. The curriculum director being the one to say this made me think about how due to the fact that this class is being connected to the whole world, it is very likely that the standard of their curriculum is being raised to match that of an international level, not restricted to that of a rural area. This technological interconnectivity results in more culturally aware thinkers! This is a very exciting indication of the future of education and how it will mold the minds of generations to come. Simply giving children access to this kind of technology and then providing the opportunity to learn tech skills is a wonderful thing. Davis even at one point states that she learned how to terraform in the class software from the students. Early introduction of technology into everyday life for these children is first step for education in the Informations and Post-Information Age and its limitless possibilities. Forward thinking pioneers like Vicki Davis, and even sites like Edutopia, are what get me excited for future of education.