Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thoughts about 3 steps

In 3 steps there is a quote from Alvin Toffler which says, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn." I just love that quote. I find it hopeful that being literate could mean being able to learn, unlearn and relearn. I mean just thinking about life in general, isn't that what we do everyday, we learn things, and then especially because of technology we have to unlearn and relearn things. I mean every day I get update notifications for one program or another. Recently I just updated firefox to the latest edition, and it took me a little while to get used to the new layout, I kept looking for buttons where they used to be so I had to unlearn what I knew about where everything was and relearn it because it had changed. I think being able to do that is an incredible skill to have. However I feel that so often in school, we are taught what we need to know, but not really how to learn for ourselves. I think by integrating technology into the classroom we can find ways to help our students learn how to learn. Technology involves a different kind of thinking and problem solving that doesn't always happen sitting at a desk in a classroom listening to a teacher lecture.

Another part of the video that I found interesting was the idea of competition. That one day our students would be competing against their peers from around the world, so it would serve them to know the people who they would one day be competing against. I found that interesting because competition was immediately followed by cooperation and collaboration. It seems to me that those two words, didn’t fit perfectly with competition. If you are cooperating and collaborating with someone, why would you want to compete with them? Not that I am against competition, not at all, I think competition can be good at times to help motivate people and propel them forward. However I think that for our students I would like to focus on cooperation and collaboration, because I think working together is a great way to really get things done. I like the idea of having students get to know and learn about other students from around the world, but instead of saying you they are learning about their competition so that they can win, I think it could be presented in a more positive way that knowing things about the world can help everyone be successful. Why not present our students with positive reasons for doing things rather than focusing on winning, focus on the journey first.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Do kids know who they are posting to?

From the readings for this week, one that really stuck out to me was the video Everyone Knows Your Name. The short video really tells so much about the way people, young teens in particular use social networking sites and other websites to post things. You don’t even realize that the people knowing Sara’s name came because of something she posted online until the end. But I think what is key here is that, at first she liked the attention then as it snowballed she got more uncomfortable with it and it’s obvious looking at her facial expressions that she had no idea any of this could or would happen from posting things online. I think that is something that people don’t think about when posting things online. Although really, it is so easy to forget that whatever pictures, videos, or writing that you post online can be seen by countless numbers of people, that is the nature of the internet. I think if people had to stand in front of an audience and do all the things they post online they wouldn’t. But because people can sit behind their computer screens, they may be inclined to do or write things that they would never do in public and yet the internet is a public place. It can provide a false sense of privacy and security for people.

I think for classroom purposes that can sometimes be beneficial if I am trying to hear what all of my students have to say and some of them are really shy about speaking in front of the whole class. Using the internet can be a great way to give voice to students who are usually too shy. But it is obvious that a conversation needs to be had, about the issue of privacy in online interactions if teachers really want to use this technology in the classroom. Even if teachers don’t want to use this kind of web based technology I think this is still an important conversation because kids really need to understand the consequences of using online technology. Since technology is something that pretty much all students are going to come into contact with at some point during their lifetime they need to be educated on how to be safe on the internet, that includes watching what gets posted. Kids don’t realize or think about the fact that future employers may go and look at their facebook page and see things they posted in college or high school that could affect their jobs. As an English major this seems to me to be a great lesson about audience and how a whole new kind of audience is emerging through the use of the internet.