Tuesday, October 26, 2010

21st-Century Skills: Evidence, Relevance, and Effectiveness

For this blog, I would like to focus on the quote that begins the article.  It states, “The 21st century isn’t coming; it’s already here…. Public schools must prepare our young people to understand and address global issues, and educators must re-examine their teaching strategies and curriculum so that all students can thrive in this global and interdependent society.”  Times have changed.  The teaching strategies that were used a few years ago may not work for the present classroom.  As an educator, we must be responsible and re-examine our teaching strategies so that we can better them for our students.  Teachers need to connect with their students and they achieve this by their teaching strategies—the way they present a topic or lesson.  As we are in the 21st century, we can see that   technology has become a great resource in today’s schools.  We as teachers need to learn how to use the technology so that our kids can be successful.  Technology has so much to offer, but it is up to us to allow the kids to explore.  As we learned last week by the Flat Classroom Project, we must prepare our students to understand and address global issues.  Learning the material is not enough.  Students must understand what it is that they are learning and how it relates to the outside world.  In math, the question should be: How can I apply the method(s) just learned?  If we can get the young children to explore with technology and to understand global issues, then I believe we are a successful teacher.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Flat Classroom Project

Learning about the Flat Classroom Project was nothing new for me.  In fact, I actually had to read Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is Flat for my Globalization class during my freshman year of college.  These articles provided a nice review of a topic that we had thoroughly discussed.  What exactly is the Flat Classroom Project?  We learned that it is a multi-modal learning environment that is student-centered and a level playing field for teacher to student and student to teacher interaction.  The objective is to work collaboratively with others around the world in order to create students who are competitive and globally minded.  I believe it is a great way for students to think “outside the box.”  In other words, we need to learn about things beyond our local neighborhood, beyond the state in which we live, beyond our nation, and learn about issues/ideas that we face globally.  When reading the article called Learning & Leading, I really liked the statement that read, “Technology is essential to school transformation and future opportunities for the 21st century learners around the globe.”  Without the technology, this would be impossible.  Think about it:  Don’t you find it amazing that you can sign on to Skype and talk to someone across the world in China?!  I certainly do!  My generation grew up with technology and I sometimes feel we take it for granted.  Technology allows us to do many things and we must use it to our benefit.  Until reading these articles, I have never heard about Digital Citizenship.  I learned that Digital Citizenship is about transforming yourself into a professional who can effectively research technology trends, monitor the uses of technology in your school or district, avoid the fear factor that can easily paralyze you, and empower student-centered learning to create vibrant, exciting learning projects.  This is a powerful statement that we as individuals should strive for and, more so, in becoming an educator.  I also like the idea that was made about learning.  Learning takes place in many different ways, times, and places.  My learning style might be different than yours, but the success is that we both understood/can apply the information.  When I am sleeping, somewhere across the world students are at school.  Learning is everywhere and it is a great opportunity for us to expand our knowledge.  One day, I will be teaching the students about math and how it applies to our everyday lives.  Who knows, I may “flatten” the walls of my classroom by joining with another across the world to virtually become one.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ted video

This TED video presented a couple statements that I believe are so true and that I would like to reflect on.  First, I would like to start with the statement that started off the video: “There are places on Earth, in every country, where, for various reasons, good schools cannot be built and good teachers cannot or don’t want to go...” From personal experience, as I’m getting ready to student teach and soon enter the real world, I keep stating that I want to land myself a job in a good school district.  I would like to be as far away from trouble as possible.   Ideally, I want to end up in a district where I would have no problems.  In reality, however, we know that is impossible.    What is really sad are the places on Earth where there is trouble and the good teachers are needed most, but no one tends to go.  The presenter also made a statement that said:  If children have interest, then education happens.  As a teacher, I feel that it is important to structure your lessons based on the interests of your students.  The students will want to learn the material if they can relate to it.  If it has nothing to do with what they like or what they care about, then it is not going to be worth them learning.  If, however, you can gear your lessons to their interests, then you will be more successful!