Also posted here on Huffington Post
This video by Bill Genereux greatly illustrates the potential risks of leaving digital literacy up to chance by allowing our children to explore technology within a walled-garden. “I’m not techy,” is frequently heard among clusters of adults whose primary responsibilities include supervising children/students. Do parents have a responsibility to learn their way around technology as it relates to what their children are required to do? Does it really matter? After all, our kids can do a lot of things we can’t.
Although this video is aimed at parents, it could just as easily target today’s teachers. Are we educating ourselves in such a way so that we can guide our students in the safe and effective use of technology? Or are we leaving it up to the kids to learn on their own while we maintain the status-quo in our classrooms?
Thanks to Martha Thornburgh for bringing this to my attention.
The term “21st Century student” or “21st Century Classroom” sure gets thrown around a lot. We’re so used to hearing and supporting our pedagogy with it, but have you ever stopped to think about what it really means? There are many qualities that make up a 21st Century student. In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning.
The new taxonomy supports the idea that not all learning objectives and outcomes are, nor should be, have equal in value. Effective teachers frequently refer to this taxonomy to design their instruction to emphasize important learned capabilities (more useful for adults in the workforce) rather than, for example, to emphasize memorization of facts (which makes for easier testing).
With expectations of the future workforce and the proliferation of inexpensive and readily available technology, a new and revised taxonomy (2001) emerged. It plays down the consumer-emphasized, single-player-sport idea of “educational objectives” (in Bloom’s original title) and points to a more interactive idea of what an effective curriculum provides.
Notice that “remembering” although certainly a necessary component to learning, sits at the bottom of this pyramid to higher-level thought processes required for true learning to occur.
Even with today’s emphasis on testing, it’s more important than ever to push our students to achieve higher level thinking. What are some ways that can be done today?
So what does all of this mean for you, your classroom and your children? That’s what I’d like to hear from you.
I look forward to your comments.
Track Santa Online!
Even for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, this is an amazing experience for your child. http://www.noradsanta.org
Every year on Dec. 24, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) opens up their special site so people can track Santa in real time. It’s not just a “Oh, there he is on the map” sort of thing. Once you see where Santa is on the map, you can see the sparkle trails of where he’s been already, and click on the video icons to see videos and explore more. There are Wikipedia articles and beautiful photos at almost every location. According to Google, almost 8 million people used the site last year.
As of this writing, Santa is in Aparri, Philippines but in 3 minutes he will be in Zamboanga, Philippines.
Too bad this wasn’t available when my boys were young.
For more information, here is how the whole thing started. (Sometimes, mistakes lead to amazing ideas!)
Just so you know, they take the site down every year right after Christmas Day, so bookmarking it for later won’t do a thing. (I tried it.)
I hope you’ll share this with your children. No work for you… just give them the link and let them explore. Believe me, they will figure it out. http://www.noradsanta.org
Our class is beginning a new venture this week. My students will meet and interact with two college students, Jonie and Michael, from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. Although we’d love to pack our snowsuits, hats and gloves and travel , all of this will happen online, of course.
Facilitating this exciting project is Dean Shareski, a Digital Learning Consultant, and good friend of mine. He works for the Prairie South Schools in Moose Jaw, SK. As part of this college class he teaches, he has gathered together about 50 educators from around the world to work with and mentor his approximately 30 students. His goal is to give them a chance to experience a classroom where the teacher engages the students with technology. Additionally, these college students have the benefit of virtually traveling around the world to interact with children in truly diverse settings.
The benefit to my students is that they will get to know and learn from Jonie and Michael. It’s not everyday that such young students as mine get the opportunity to learn in a virtual environment. This experience should be something they will remember for a long time.
Our first order of business is to host a video conference with these folks so that my students can have an opportunity to see and speak with them. We will do that in class using video conferencing software provided by our school district. Some other activities “in the works” include having Jonie and Michael comment on our class blog (here), write posts for it (guest bloggers), participate in some lessons and otherwise engage my students based on future lessons and individual needs. Upon hearing that we were studying our constitution, Jonie created this “Glogster” that does a great job of showing some differences between the U.S. and Canadian government. Both Jonie and Michael mention in their videos their coordinates, so that my students can plot their locations on maps (another skill we’ve mastered).
I’m honored to be able to participate as one of these teachers with whom Dean’s students will work. Here are Jonie and Michael:
Ever wonder why some teachers feel strongly about using technology with their students? Ever wonder why what is so popular today is “so yesterday” tomorrow? There’s a huge shift going on in today’s world. It’s not the world our parents grew up in and it’s not even the world it was 5 years ago. Preparing our students to live in tomorrow’s world today is everyone’s responsibility. The video below is 4:46 long. I recommend that everyone who has children, teaches children or lives in today’s world watches it.