Travis Allen- The iSchool Initiative
In this video, Travis Allen, a then 17 year old, talks about his idea called the iSchool Initiative. The iSchool Initiative embraces the notion of a "paperless" classroom. If a school were to use Travis's idea then every child would need an iTouch to hold textbooks, homework assignments, etc. Travis argues that, with the iSchool, less money would be spent because, basically, everything that a student would need could be purchased as an app. Take, for instance, scientific calculators. Most high school students are required to have a scientific or graphing calculator and if a student was enrolled in a school participating in the iSchool Initiative, then they would have their calculator on their iTouch. Other useful apps that are mentioned in the video include Chemical Touch, an informative periodic table, U.S. Constitution, a digital copy, WorldWiki, where they could access maps and globes, and various other helpful and resourceful apps. Also, the iTouch's basic apps would come in handy. The email application would allow teachers, students and parents to send and receive homework assignments, schedules, grades, etc. while the Notes app would work for student to use in class as opposed to a pencil and paper.
Call me old school but for elementary age students I don't believe that the iSchool Initiative would work. However, if I were a high school or even middle school teacher, I would seriously consider talking to my principal about participating in a trial of the iSchool Initiative. I think it's a great idea that would keep students engaged and even organized. I know, personally, it was hard as a high schooler to keep all of my papers, tests, assignments, books, and everything else that could possibly fit in a book-bag, together. With the use of the iTouch, everything that students need would be in the palm of their hand. I also love the fact that their iTouch would be limited to only educational sites and that students and teachers would be totally accountable for assignments and grades. This would promise that students wouldn't be able to access sites that were distracting and did not pertain to their studies.
In the other video, I learned that Travis and a group of 25 college students travel to schools educating principals and teachers about the iSchool Initiative. Some schools have already adopted Travis's plan. Overall, I think the iSchool Initiative would be a great way to integrate more technology into a 21st century classroom to promote more flexible learning styles that adhere to every student's individual needs.
Eric Whitaker's Virtual Choir
While watching this video, I sat with dropped jaw, staring at the computer. I'll go ahead and say that I'm not a person that just "gets" technology; I wasn't born with that gift. So when I watched this video, I couldn't quite wrap my head around the fact that this 2052 member choir, performing Lux Aurumque, was all recorded over the internet. And the fact that they had never even met and rehearsed in person? That blew my mind! I thought this was a really cool way to use the internet. It's obvious that it took a lot of thought, time, and effort.
Teaching in the 21st Century
In the video, Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts, John Strange version, Roberts' ideas are expressed throughout the whole video. He believes that, in a 21st century classroom, teachers should be teaching skills to go along with the facts that they are given to teach. In this day and age, students can find information anywhere and Roberts believes that it is the classroom teacher's job to be the "filter". Roberts believes that teachers need to teach students how to handle information that they find outside of class. These concepts include validating information, communicating with others through the internet, and analyzing information that they find. He believes that teachers should teach skills instead of only facts so that students will know how to make life decisions and will be able to use their knowledge outside of the classroom. Another point that Roberts makes concerns technology in schools. He believes that teachers should teach technology because it makes up most of the world today. Roberts says, in essence, that teachers should teach students to be knowledgable not only of facts, but also of skills, and that it is the responsibility of the 21st century teacher to do this.
I believe that Roberts' ideas are correct. I think it is so important, especially now, for a teacher to be relevant. We must not only drill children with facts but be able to equip students with outside knowledge that they need for life skills. The point that I liked the most that Roberts made was when he posed the question, "How do you manage technology?" He said that you manage technology in the classroom the same way that you manage a pencil and paper. Any tool will provide temptation to students but with proper discipline, any tool, especially technology, can be effective. I agree with Roberts on the fact that classroom materials must be engaging for students. Even in my small Sunday School class, I've realized that children are simply not interested in learning if it doesn't involve some kind of technology. They are around it all the time and school should not be any different. Teachers must teach meaningfully in the 21st century and that means being relevant and engaging.
I loved watching the videos by Katie Gimbar, Dr. Lodge McCammon, and Ms. Munafo, regarding the Flipped Classroom. I had never heard of the Flipped Classroom but I think it is a great idea especially for higher grade levels, and individualized subject classrooms. I think it would be most beneficial for older students because there may be a little too much responsibility involved for younger children. However, for middle and high school grades, maybe even 4th or 5th, I think the Flipped Classroom is how every classroom should be! It teaches students, not only facts and information, but also responsibility and communication. If I were a middle or high school teacher I would definitely use the Flipped Classroom. It would involve lots of work, but I think the outcomes would be rewarding.