Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blog Post #3

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today (4:45)

                After watching this video, I had several thoughts racing through my mind. It is scary that I spend (aside from EDM310, which is the only “useful” class I have where I actually come out knowing more and actually learning something new every class session) so many days and hours  every week sitting in lectures taking notes, and listening to the Professors just reading word-from-word off the power point presentations. I am just being taught the same information I learned back in Elementary and Middle School. Here I am, spending thousands of dollars on tuition, books, and miscellaneous items for an “education” that I already learned back when I was a kid. Out of all of my classes this semester, only one is teaching me actual facts and stuff I will use in real-life. EDM310. My other classes just drill “facts” and stuff that I won’t ever use, and will forget within a month’s time after the semester is over with.
                 I am not saying that University is a waste of time, no. I am saying that “pre-requisites” are both a waste of time, and money. I honestly believe that pre-requisites should be done away with, and Colleges/Universities should focus more on educating and teaching you skills and valuable things you will need for the major you are going into. It isn’t until one enters into their actual “major” in a College/University is when he/she actually begins to learn something they will take with them after leaving campus.
                This video portrays students holding up notes, some saying they spend hundreds of dollars every semester on books they never will open. Some claiming they spend more time “facebooking” than they do listening to what their Professor is lecturing about in class. Technology is a very powerful thing in this world. It can both “break” and “make” you. I am not saying that technology is a bad thing (it is actually a very wonderful thing as it can take you far in life,) I am saying that it can seriously hurt a student in College/University. So many students are focusing more on who they are chatting with during lecture on their phones/computers, than they are on their Professors. When it comes time to take the test, these students are lost on their exams and they don’t do well. The use of chat rooms has destroyed a lot of students from Middle School to University, as they spend hours addicted to chatting online and instead they should focus on their schoolwork and to studying, and getting the grades. I used to be highly addicted to chat rooms when I was in Middle School, and my grades suffered because of it.  Facebook is becoming the social point of bullying kids, as more and more stories are coming from the news of where you hear students posting rumors, and nasty things/videos about other students. People have even committed suicide over online bullying. It’s sad.
                Technology, on the other hand, can be a fantastic thing. The use of twitter, and facebook, and many various other programs and sites can bring together people from all around the world to talk with one another on different topics and video chat with each other. One can learn almost anything, go anywhere, see anything and learn about it, with just the click of a button. There is a world of facts on the internet that is fascinating to learn about. Technology is the future of the world, every job out there basically is going to require the use of some type of technology, so it is best to learn all the basics you can learn about it.

 “It’s Not About The Technology” by Kelly Hines

         In the article “It’s Not About The Technology,” Mrs. Hines addresses 4 things that every teacher must recognize in order to effectively and positively impact students in a new generation of learning.

1.)    Teachers must be learners.
                Mrs. Hines is addressing that teachers today, though many come from different teaching backgrounds, must all know current, up-to-date ways of teaching and technology. Teachers must all be up-to-date on the latest news, and latest things going on around in the world. Students today are facing more challenging problems and situations from that of other generations in the past, and teachers must know how to handle such problems and be up-to-date on current issues facing students today.

2.)    Learning and Teaching are not the same thing.
                This is definitely true. If a student has say, a learning disability, that student is going to require a different way of teaching than say the child sitting next to him in class. There are so many teachers who get frustrated so easily because they teach in front of the classroom, in the same “learning style” and then expect the students to all understand fully the material that was being taught. Every child in the classroom is going to learn a different way, whether it be by visual –aides (pictures, charts, graphs, power-points, etc..,)  to reading books, auditory learners, visual learners. Every child has his/her own way of learning and for one to teach the “same” way to the entire class, well you will have a few students in the classroom who are going to struggle. I can relate as I was diagnosed with a “learning disability” in the area of math. No matter how many times the teacher showed me, I never could understand how to do a problem. I had to set up my own way of doing math problems to get the correct answer, and on top of that many hours of tutoring. So everyone has their own learning style, and every teacher should at least try to teach in different styles to better suite their students learning styles.

3.)    Technology is useless without good teaching.
                I agree. So many schools are given wonderful teaching devices such as “smartboards,” but they just sit in boxes in closets and never used, thus the school wasting thousands of dollars for nothing. A lot of older teachers tend to stick to old ways of teaching, which consists of teaching all day long on chalkboards and never wanting to learn new ideas of teaching. There is nothing wrong with old ways of teaching, I mean our parents did not have “computers” or “smartboards” in their classrooms growing up. Today is different though for our generation, and the next generation entering into Elementary School, as technology is becoming the center-focus for education now as everything is evolving around it. I believe if more teachers, ecpesially the older ones, would be willing to learn more about current technology and it’s impacts in classrooms with students, then they would see huge, dramatic changes in their students ways of learning and grades would significantly improve. Technology, if used correctly, can be a wonderful tool in classrooms.

4.)    Be a 21st Century Teacher without the technology.
Piece of chalk and blackboardTechnology might not be everything in a classroom. The old ways of teaching have their advantages over the newer ways of teaching today. Such as growing up, we had “computers” in classrooms but it wasn’t like it was today. We were taught how to do stuff such as the use of a telephone book, newspapers, looking up books in catalogs in libraries, and general things that today, students are all taught how to on computers. Though I believe technology is very important in society today, I also believe that the old methods of teaching should never leave a classroom, for they can teach valuable life skills that “technology” can never truly be able to teach.

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  1. Tracy, I agree with you 100% on that EDM 310 is the only class I am taking this semester (or have ever taken in my college career) that I am actually learning something that I will use and apply to my life everyday. Pre-requisites, such as P.E., are a waste of time and my money. I agree with you that colleges should look into this and give students more options in their field of study versus something that is irrelevant to their major. Thank you for your honesty in this blog.

    I am also so glad to find someone else that struggles in math like me. I can't even begin to tell you how much tutoring I have had in the past. My niece's boyfriend who is 19 years old has been tutoring me this semester in math 100. Have you taken all your required math courses? Maybe we can take them together and help each other. I know I need all the help I can get.

    Reading this blog, I feel like we share the same thoughts and feelings on these blogs. Thank you for sharing and I am really enjoying your thoughts. Maybe one day we will be teaching together, if not I know I will have a strong former EDM 310 student to to turn to for help!

  2. Hi Olivia,
    No, I am currently taking Finite Mathematics and I must say, it is a HUGE headache. I recently learned that Pre-Cal was taken off the curriculum so I am thankful that Finite Mathematics is the only math class I need other than what is listed in the COE curriculum. I told my Professor that I just want a C so I can pass. A C in math is like an A to me. I find myself spending so many hours a night just trying to comprehend math, and by the time I finish my homework it's like 2:00 am in the morning and I am too tired for my other classwork. Thank God for the few hours in between my other classes or else I would not do well this semester. MTH100 Involves all that complicated algebra correct? What I found helpful when I took it at Bishop (I dropped the course though when I found out I wasn't going to pass it, but at the same time I did not need it to begin with because they decided to change the math on us) was using a TI-84 graphing calculator.

  3. Tracy,

    I am glad you feel so strongly about holding on to old teaching methods, but you have to remember that children learn quite differently today. Students are constantly growing and learning more and more each day. While it is important to reach all students, I think finding new ways to do something is never bad. I know you think it is important to be technologically literate, so I hope you can find a way to merge the old and new in a way that benefits your students. I wish you luck! What did you think about Karl Fisch's post?