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KidBlog.Org & My Blogs

Michael's Blogs

- - - from the KidBlog.Org Website

( Preserved here so as to retain the content I have submitted over the course of the semester. I learned a lot from writing these five short blogs, and had a lot of fun as well. Perhaps you will enjoy them here! )

Blog #5 – It’s not WHAT you know; It’s WHO you remember.

April 29, 2012 @ 8:31 PM

Assignment Question:
How has this class affected your view of technology use in the classroom?
What areas of technology would you like to explore further for use in your classroom?
List 4-5 new things you have learned in this class and give an example of how you might use them in your classroom.

For me to Say – - – that this class has totally REVOLUTIONIZED my “view of technology” in the classroom, would be an understatement, to say the least! As I confessed in an earlier blog session, I had totally miss-read the course description for this class when I was first signed up for it last fall. I somehow thought this class would be more about teaching elementary school students how to use computers and current technologies. And seeing that I am not actually an education major, I even had to obtain a waiver from the education department director just so I could take this course! I did not even realize at that time – not at all! – that this class would not be so much about teaching students how to use computers, but much the rather, it would be focused on teaching prospective teachers about all the many and varied technologies available for use in the classroom, and how to actually use and implement these technologies in their own teaching environments. Nevertheless, even with all my own misunderstandings, I must say that I have hardly been disappointed in this class. Quite the contrary, actually, as I have absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed taking this class and have greatly benefited from having learned all I have this semester!

For my own purposes, and to the degree that I find myself in various teaching environments, I would like to explore areas related to use of multi-media in the classroom, especially teacher-student interaction with and in and through all the varied technologies related to audio, video and tactile inter-action-ability! I am of the opinion that one of the very best ways to teach anyone most anything is to make their total learning experience both entertaining and personally inviting, with lots-and-lots of hands-on interaction! The more “senses” you can involve in the learning experience, the more attention and focus will be attended by the students, and the more memorable will be the actual concepts, skills, and learning objectives. I have known this to be true for myself as an adult student, and I know it has been the secret to my own children’s success in their own education experiences as well. Technology offers so many new and exciting ways to “involve” and integrate the whole of the classroom in these kinds of multi-sensory experience!

I have to chuckle as I read this final sentence in our assignment here today. “List 4-5 things,” etc., because, well – - – for one, I am definitely NOT so much of a “list” person. (( In stark contrast to myself, my wife is “totally” a “list” person, which certainly accounts for how very much she can and does accomplish in any given day, while I, ah – - – well, let’s just say, my accomplishments throughout the weeks and/or months are more of a “creative” nature! )) Anyway, so I just have to laugh a bit when I see the word “list” in most any context! And secondly, I also have to snicker just a bit – and under my breath, of course – because there have been so very many things I have learned in this class this semester that any “list” of a mere “4-5” things would hardly represent a fraction of all I have learned!

All the same, let me recall but a few of them:

The Voki was a real treat, and I have already been using this technology in my Management Information Systems class here at Texas Wesleyan! Using these kinds of “avatars” just fits the bill when we are speaking of an “entertaining” learning experience! I really have enjoyed learning how to use the Smartboards and again, I have already employed this technology in my other classes. I love the way we can use the large Smartboard as a medium for the whole class to access and view internet content together, and then being able to actually interact with the content, highlighting and emphasizing various elements along the way, well – - – all this makes for a super-involved and focused class experience! I am working on a Webquest for my own computer customers even as I write this last blog. Webquests are just a phenomenal way to learn both the subject matter and all the related technologies at the very same time, and maybe not even realize just how much you actually are learning in the process! Webquest-ing offers an added dimension to technology in that, with such a WWW, “Wide Web-ed World” we live in, using a tech-tool such as Webquest helps to focus and guide our browsing and research, so as NOT to get lost in the proverbial “web-forest” for all those many “web-trees!” And employing Rubrics before actually engaging in any given assignment, well – - – this really helps students to know before-hand just what the purpose of an activity might be, and then further, it helps them to zero-in on the specific tasks and skills we are hoping to learn and gain from them.

But really, all of the above only pales in comparison to what I have REALLY learned in and throughout the 16-some weeks of this course.

Five years from now, when Father Guido’s predictions might come true, and I am thinking back to what I not only learned, but what-all I might actually have retained from taking “Computers in the Classroom” with one Jacqueline Gaffner in the Spring of 2012, well – - – you can be sure it will probably NOT be Voki’s or Smartboards or Webquests or Rubrics or any-of-the-such I will be recalling in that future sentimental journey of days-long-past. No, it will not be any of these “technologies” I will first-and-foremost be calling to remembrance. I, for one, am sure to be remembering – and with a very fond and whimsical longing, to be sure! – the character, personal demeanor and what can only be characterized as “cosmic” presence of one very attentive and very engaged ( yea and verily, married! ) instructor, who somehow managed to “engage” us all as students in a pursuit of excellence in our understanding and use of all these new and emerging educational technologies!

Ya know – - – it just occurs to me, that even after some 30-plus years since personal computers and all the related technologies were first introduced into our classrooms, and after several generations of all the such have long since been integrated into the whole of the educational-learning-curve processes, etc., well – - – it suddenly dawns on me that in-and-through all these many-and-varied technological innovations and implementations, it really has NOT been the technology itself that I have been impressed and enthralled with! No – - – what I have been lastingly and enduringly so-very impressed with, after these many many years, has actually been those individuals – few and far between, (and very rare commodities,) mind you! – WHO have had both the gift-ed-ness, and WHO have exercised the purpose-ed-ness of heart-and-mind to take the time, and to made the genuine effort, to make all these various innovations and technologies come real and alive and personally meaningful and useful and relevant to-and-for students such as myself!

Yes, it has been those special people – those real and tangible human instructors in my life – “WHO” are the true “TECHNOLOGICAL” wonders of this age, and in another five-or-so years from now, when I am glancing back a half-decade or so, and accounting for what all I might have really gained over that preceding hand-full of years, well – - – I am most-sure that I will be very fondly remembering one of those few-and-far-between instructors who have most certainly impacted my life, not only in what she has helped me to learn, but also so-much-the-more-so just by “who” I have known her to be, and who I have been challenged to be as a result of knowing her – a teacher who is real and present and involved with their students, and who genuinely and really cares, in all its many and vital meanings.

So – all-in-all – I guess I am writing all this simply to say, just now,
“Thank You, Jacqueline Gaffner,” and “Thank You, Again!”
well in advance of all those many up-and-coming
and fond reflections, recollections and
heart-felt appreciations sure to
be entertained many
years from
now!

Much Affection,
Mik ;~)}



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Blog #4 – Yah, but – - – “Where are the flying cars, huh?”

April 24, 2012 @ 10:14 PM


Assignment:
Watch this video: Microsoft Surface Technology -
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/news/4217348

OK, I did watch this one. GREAT video, btw! I am thinking I will even incorporate this video into my next “Fun Technology Friday” presentation over in my Management Information Systems here at TWU with Dr. Bell in the Business department!

You say, you don’t know what, “Fun Technology Friday” is??? Then it is obvious that you have not taken Dr. Thomas Bell’s now infamous class entitled “Management Information Systems – MIS 3305! “

Every Friday our MIS class gets to take a bit of a break from the grueling studies and class discussion of the preceding week, and we explore new technologies and consider the implications of what all is going on all around us in the ever-changing world of technology. Somehow – along the straight-and-narrow-way of this semester – well, somehow I was nominated, and duly elected, the “Fun Tech Friday” Tsar, and I have now been entrusted with the weekly task of coming up with and presenting our class with a new technology each and every week!

FYI – just this last week we explored a very similar and closely related video put out by Corning, it’s is entitled “A Day Made of Glass,” and you can find it at this following link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38
I really think that if you liked the popularmechanics.com video, you will REALLY LOVE this one by Corning Glass! And the week before in our MIS class for FTF we viewed the prospects of the new Google Glass-es in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4

Both of these are just SUPER examples of what all might very soon be to come in the world of technology as it is sure to impact not only our classrooms, but also the most intimate areas of our lives!

So, just what do you – or rather, I – think of this new technology?

As a geek, I must say that I am totally infatuated with all this emerging technology! But upon reflection – and when you might consider all the implications of the above three videos – really? I just have to laugh! You see, I was raised on a steady diet of “Dick Tracy” and his two-way watch, and “The Jetsons,” with their cities suspended in the sky, and other such “far-out sci-fi” cartoon programs each and every Saturday morning! And, I’m really sorry, but I just can’t but help identify with one more modern cartoon personality, Calvin, of “Calvin and Hobbs” fame, when he himself considers – very thoughtfully, mind you ( as only Calvin might! ) – just what the promise of all this new up-and-coming technology might REALLY mean.

After a bit of digging around the internet, I was actually able to come up with the text of Calvin’s conversation with his imaginary best friend Hobbs, – you know, his favorite stuffed tiger! – and I think you will appreciate the give-and-take of both of their insightful observations here in the transcribed conversation just below. This was published on December 30, of 1989, by the way, and they – Calvin and Hobbs – were discussing all the promises of the up-and-coming decade of the 1990’s! It’s hard for an old-er man like myself to think that this was now over some TWO decades ago, but all the same, I think it is well worth the read and the reminisce, and fits nicely into this present discussion. I hope you will agree!

Calvin and Hobbs Cartoon – Dec. 30th, 1989

Hobbes: “A new decade is coming up.”

Calvin: “Yeah, big deal!
Hmph!!
Where are the flying cars?
Where are the moon colonies?
Where are the personal robots and the zero gravity boots,
huh?
You call this a new decade?!
You call this the future??
HA!
Where are the rocket packs?
Where are the disintegration rays?
Where are the floating cities?”

Hobbes: “Frankly, I’m not sure people have the brains
to manage the technology they’ve got.”

Calvin: “I mean, look at this!
We still have the weather?!
Give me a break!”

(( end of citation. ))

Once again, I can’t help but chuckle to myself, and really, I can’t help but actually laugh-right-out-loud when I, too, reflect on the implications of all this, well – - – as GrandPa Joe used to call it – - – all this “fancy-smanchy” and “new-fangled” technology, and what it just might actually mean for our culture, let alone our classrooms!

So, in light of Calvin and Hobb’s astute dialogue above, I think all this might very well serve to lead us right into our final question for discussion here this evening- – -


Make a prediction about how this product will affect education in the next 5-10 years.

Well, a HUGE part of what-all might actually materialize in the world of technology will LARGELY and most certainly impacted by one very deciding factor, and that is, the economy. Yes, somewhere in the future these smart tables and glass surfaces might very well be all over and around-and-about the town – we all might even have smart glasses right on our very noses! – and, they may be all good and fine and useful and commendable, but I think the REAL question will really be, “Will they be affordable?” If the current trends continue in our educational institutions, then unless the cost of these smart-tables – what? according to the video we just watched, now priced “somewhere” between 5 and 10 thousand dollars!?! – well, unless these estimated costs come WAY down, I don’t look to see these up-and-operational in any classroom any of us might attend, not in the near future anyway!

(( That is, not unless maybe Bill Gates with his foundation purposes to make all this a reality for all our schools, and I think he has just about enough money to actually make that happen! ))

But not to circumvent the question, IF these kinds of technologies should actually find their way into our nation’s classrooms, then just like all the other technologies that have ALREADY found their way into our schools, we as teachers – at the very least – had better be ready to;
one, acquire the training necessary to USE this technology proficiently and
two, then purpose to actually use it, and use it in meaningful ways, and
three, be able to use it in such a way as to actually realize our initial visions and missions
BETTER than we might have before,
when we did not have all this technology to lean on,
and natural innovation and our own ingenuity was the ruling technology in the classroom!

Now, having read what I have said above, please do not label me some kind of Luddite.
(( Best Google-It if you are not familiar with the term! ))
By stating the above, I only simply mean to suggest that
- – - the technology ITSELF, especially new and emerging technologies, well – - –
all these technologies do seem to have a way of “WOW-ing” us, don’t they?
But of what real and actual “good” is all this “WOW!” if,
in the end,
they only serve as some kind of fascinating entertainment?

This would only be a real and profound tragedy, of course.

But if – somehow – we as educators can and will find the way to get past all the newness and novelty of the technology,
and actually harness and employ it to really and genuinely SERVE us in our Vision and Mission, that is,
to more fully educate and equip our students for their imminent futures, well then – - –
I for one will only “tip my hat” to the technology, AND I for two,
will also “tip my hat” to the wise and visionary teacher
who has the wisdom, insight and discipline
to utilize all these emerging
technologies for the common,
and un-common,
good of us
all!

Mik ;~)}

1 Comment

jmgaffner
I think I have Dr. Bell this summer for an Ed. D. course. I can’t wait!

You hit the nail on the head with training. It is one area that gets overlooked sometimes and is so necessary, especially with the cost of something like this.

Great insight!


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Blog #3 – Return of the Jedi Educators!!!

April 10, 2012 @ 12:26 PM 


In preparation for this, our third blog assignment, I did as I was instructed and performed a search with the keywords, “new technologies in education.” As I scrolled through the resultant returns on this search, I couldn’t help but notice a very familiar name , one George Lucas, pop up in the “edutopia.org” web listing. George Lucas, of Star Wars fame, has an education website? This was news to me, but really not all that surprising, considering that his name alone has “long ago and far away,” – and ever since then for that matter! – been keenly associated with innovation and a host of cutting-edge technologies. Furthermore, his very success has often been credited to his harnessing of young techie minds and their quite often very vivid imaginations. So now he is continuing to use his deep assets to resource educators across the globe! This revelation definitely invited my attention for further discovery.

A great placed to start in investigating and reviewing a site such as “Edutopia.org” would be the “Mission and Vision” statement. Just the name itself – Eductopia – elicits a flash-back to the word, “Utopia,” to which it eludes: an “Educational Utopia!”
Well, before we get too awful lost in other worlds and realities, we had best “click” on this icon – “Mission and Vision,” –
and it will be here that we will find the following statement:

Our Mission

“The George Lucas Educational Foundation is dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process by documenting, disseminating, and advocating for innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their future education, careers, and adult lives.”

Wow! That is certainly a mouthful of ambition if I ever encountered one! “Documenting, disseminating, and advocating for innovative, replicable and evidence-based strategies” all designed to help “prepare students to thrive in their future education, careers, and adult lives!” “Wow!” again! Half of those words, though I might know their standard meanings, seem to be energized with a host of new and potential meanings and realizations when framed in a mission statement such as we find here! Again, such language only invites further exploration.

The next step in examining what this site and organization might have to offer would be to examine what they have to say about their vision. Here we read:

Our Vision

“Our vision is of a new world of learning, a place where students and parents, teachers and administrators, policy makers and the people they serve are all empowered to change education for the better; a place where schools provide rigorous project-based learning, social-emotional learning, and access to new technology; a place where innovation is the rule, not the exception; a place where students become lifelong learners and develop 21st-century skills, especially three fundamental skills:

• how to find information
• how to assess the quality of information
• how to creatively and effectively use information to accomplish a goal”

I cannot help but liking several components of this statement, especially the part, “a place where innovation is the rule, not the exception; a place where students become lifelong learners and develop 21st-century skills.” And then I really like how both this mission and vision is broken down into three specific areas of focus.

It is one thing to simply find information; it is quite another thing to actually access “the quality of information;” and then it is an entirely new and quantum leap to “creatively and effectively use information to accomplish a goal.” Thinking about this, it occurs to me that most folks barely know how to perform even the very first of these “fundamental skills,” and even if they might, few will ever go on to critically examine the actual “quality” of the information, or develop the skills and abilities to dig deep and deeper to lay ahold of any semblance of what could be recognized as “quality” information. And then to actually go on to be creative and effectively “use” this quality information to accomplish a real and tangible goal, well – - – it’s easy enough to see why all this has been stated and framed under a title as illustrious as “Our Vision!”

So, with all these noble missions and visions of grandeur, just how might The George Lucas Educational Foundation actually go about realizing these goals and aspirations? Reading on just a bit further we find the following statements:

What We Do

We know that K-12 education can be better, but many people don’t know what better looks like. We recognize that for innovations to spread, educators and parents, as well as business and community leaders, must first see and understand the changes and opportunities. We pursue our mission through three primary sets of activities:

• producing Edutopia.org and related social media to inspire, inform and accelerate positive change in schools and districts by shining a spotlight on evidence-based strategies that improve learning and engagement for students

• growing a movement of change agents who share best practices and professional development to bring innovation to education and improve student achievement

• collaborating with researchers, teacher leaders and curriculum experts to provide more evidence to transform learning

Now, for some, I know my posting of these segments directly from the website might be found a bit tedious – and for this I can only apologize, but not with much in the way of genuine sincerity – for I only do so because I realize that many of my readers may not initially have the time or the inclination to actually go to this website for themselves and attempt to navigate through all the masses of material they might find there. So, by my posting some of these introductory statements right here in my blog, I only hope to “whet your appetite,” so to speak, and give you all the more reason to find the time and to make the personal effort to come on over to “Edutopia.Org” and explore some of this for yourself.

But if nothing else, I would direct your attention to the actual “nuts and bolts” of this program; the real “blood and guts” of what George Lucas and friends are wanting to see realized in and through their very ambitions intentions here. Consider just the following phrases I have scraped from the above, “What we do” statements:

1.) “…to inspire, inform and accelerate positive change in schools and districts…”
2.) “…growing a movement of change agents who share best practices and professional development…”
3.) “…collaborating with researchers, teacher leaders and curriculum experts…”

I don’t know – - – but then again, really I DO know, and about all I can say is, if you call or consider yourself any kind of an educator or teacher, and these kinds of statements and goals do not just excite you down to your ingrown toenails, well then – - – I, for one, think that maybe you ought to rethink the whole of your chosen vocation and career path!

But then again, if this kind of talk DOES excite you – maybe even more than the prospect of watching The Titanic 3-D, or maybe even The Hunger Games for the third time – well then ( and again,) you are my kind of teacher and educator, and I’d very much welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation over a cup of java, a couple of notebook computers, and a high-speed Wi-Fi connection at our disposal! Any takers??? Mik ;~)}

1 Comment

jmgaffner
I have been to that site and had NO idea it was formed by the George Lucas Educational Foundation.
Your research is very thorough! I need to take a closer look. I love how the words inspire you.
It is great to see that passion!


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February 28, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

Assignment:
Watch this video – Back to the Future – Brian Crosby (17 min. 43 sec.).
What are your reactions to this video?

“Back to the Future” and “FAR Beyond” My Expectations!

I have to admit that I did not quite know just what to expect when I finally carved out the time to view this video clip. As usual – and totally consistent with my usual approach to assignments such as these – I had put it off till the last few minutes. But in all fairness to myself, I did allow at least three or four hours of hopefully uninterrupted time to both view the video and compose my response, as I understood from comments made in our last class that the video was rather lengthy.
- – - ( I can only guess that someone in our class was attempting to be sarcastic? ) – - –
So anyway – and being the gullible kind of guy I am – I was prepared to watch what might have been an hour-plus long presentation, and then have to take maybe another couple of hours to formulate my response, tweak on it a bit, and hopefully have it posted by the time I had to leave for today’s class. Now I know – I know – the assignment is really not officially due until 11:59 P.M. this evening, but I still try to get these various assignments in before the time we actually meet for the next class. And besides, I have at least three or four other tasks and assignments I have been putting off until the last minute as well, and at least some of those I am hoping to get done after class today!

So here I am, after having actually viewed the 18 minute video and now I am actually ready to reflect on it a bit – an hour ahead of schedule! – and share some of my thoughts on what I both viewed and heard in this clip. so you ask, what might my actual reactions be to this video? First, I thought the video was presented very well. Brian Cosby was obviously well prepared and came off as very comfortable with his material and the format. This alone demonstrated for me that he was competent with the subject matter and that he was someone worth listening to. Some teachers, most especially those who have been working with younger children day-in and day-out for years-on-end, have a rather irritating habit of speaking to other adults just as they might speak to their, say, elementary age students. In one sense, you really cannot fault them for this, and it only stands to reason why they might. But in another sense, I DO fault them for speaking to me, or treating me like a child. Part of what it means to be a mature and competent person is to be mindful of your surroundings, your audience, and the particular context “into which” one might be speaking. Brian spoke to his audience as fellow teachers, not as children, and even employed humor in a way that would be appreciated by other educators with like constraints and concerns. I was very much impressed by this alone, and this alone made me want to continue to listen to all he had to share in this presentation.

And yes, and of course I was very impressed with his mastery and usage of modern technology in his classroom, and I was even envious of the creative ways he went about engaging all his students in the subject matter and the various tech tools and opportunities available to them both in and out of the classroom. I was also quite interested in how he actively resourced with others in the community around his school, bringing in college students and even professors to help his students better appreciate the subjects they were studying and get a chance to see the broader applications for the subjects they were studying. But as impressive as all the above might be – and it all really is quite impressive indeed! – that is not what really captured my imagination and enthusiasm. No, for you see, all along as Brian was giving his presentation, in my mind something he said much earlier on in his presentation was still literally ringing – resonating, if you will – in and through my entire being, and such that I was hardly able to pay any attention to what he was sharing beyond those words.

Earlier in his presentation, Brian had provided for us a brief demographic of his students, and he even shared with us the results of his own personal survey of his students and their base of common knowledge. He had asked questions like “what state do you live in?” and “what is your phone number?” etc. The responses to those simple questions were quite surprising, and the implications of these responses carried directly into what Brian was about to say next. I don’t know if you caught this – he kind of ran through it rather hurriedly as in a quick passing – and frankly, I do not recall him making any further mention of this any later in his presentation, not even in his concluding remarks, where I felt for sure he would bring us full-circle and tie his presentation back into these earlier comments. Well, here is what he said, and I actually had to press the pause button in the video player repeatedly, returning to various segments of his statement several times, so I could write it down exactly, word-for-word, and thus be able to remember it later:

“It’s hard to be able to Imagine ‘What Could Be’
if you don’t know anything about ‘What Is.’

And if it is hard to Imagine,
then where does your Creativity spark from?

And if you don’t have a lot of
Imagination and Creativity
where do you build your PASSION from?”

Those are the words that kept ringing in my ears and resonating in my heart and spirit, and as I said above, even to the extent that I was actually finding it quite difficult to hear any of what followed in his talk. I have obviously taken the liberty, in the above written representation of his words, to present these in more of a poetic structure, with my own emphasis on the words and phrases as they have impacted me here today. But nevertheless, I have found that Brian has used these words in such a way as to suggest that they hardly have a place in our public education system any more, words like “Imagination,” and “Creativity,” and – God Forbid! – “PASSION!” And the implication is, that with all the focus on achieving basic knowledge and skill sets and testable competence in all that the State has carefully outlined and deems so very important, it seems that we hardly even have time to think about Imagination and Creativity, let alone actually engage our students in illicit intangibles such as PASSION! So maybe it WAS wise of Brian to just hastily insert this observation into his presentation, in a most hurried fashion, and perhaps it was only prudent for him NOT to make mention of this ever again in the remainder of his presentation, so as to avoid both stating and affirming what is not so obvious NOR desirable to many?

As one very wise Man once well said, “Let those who have ears, let them hear.”

But actually say these words Brian did – and he said them right out in public, no less! – and anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the English language or of basic sentence structure would, or at least should, catch the hint as to exactly what he was alluding to in this statement. “Where DO you build YOUR PASSION from?” And while I am sure some would only be cringing over his choice of grammar, Brian says all this as he might, and frames it as he does and in such a way as to succinctly imply that it would be unthinkable – yea verily, even unpardonable! – for any of us NOT to be taking care that we are actively building PASSION – day-by-day – into the very fabric of our being, into the essential core of our very lives! And I, for one, believe that he is not only “dead on” in this affirmation, but I believe that he has also nailed “dead center” the very crux of the true meaning of all of Life and Living and Education and Learning and aspiring to be all we can possibly be. And even further, I believe Brian, in these few choice words, has also challenged us all to carefully think about what it might mean for each of us to personally demonstrate PASSION in OUR OWN lives, and then dare to teach others just what it might mean for THEM to whole-hardheartedly and unashamedly embrace their own Imagination and Creativity and their own PASSIONS, wherever it may lead them!

Brian is challenging us all, by way of his own life example, to dare to BE the kinds of educators, and actually LIVE the kinds of lives as individuals, that will challenge our students to be all they can possibly be. And admittedly, he is challenging us to do all this in a world – or at least an educational system – that seems to be losing sight of those illusive intangibles such as Imagination and Creativity. And as if this is not difficult enough – he would have us challenge both ourselves and our students to be all we and they can be in a world that seems to be fast losing the very sight of, or even a belief in, PASSION itself.

Yes, there may be a place for Imagination in this world, provided it lends itself toward innovation and bottom-line profitability.

And yes again, there may even be a place for Creativity in this world, providing you have done your job, kept your place in the Corporate line, attending to all your other responsibilities, and then at the end of your day or week, you actually might still have the time and the energy to be Creative and pursue those kinds of frivolous things.

But PASSION?

No, I am afraid that when it might come to PASSION, that is one of those things – in this world, anyway – that is often closely associated with the likes of terrorists and terrorism, whenever and wherever it may be found. And PASSION always and everywhere has continuously demonstrated the capacity to, well – - – to totally disrupt the status-quo, and the wise and prudent will do well to avoid any association with it at any and all costs???

- – Yea and verily, and as the wise Master has said, “Let those who have ears, Let them hear!” – -

As in much of life, we often have to read between the lines in order to find “True Truth.”
I have found that Brian Crosby – as an astute educator of heart and mind –
has carefully inserted these Truths between his lines
for those of us who do have “ears to hear.”
And I don’t know about you,
but I think that I
am going to be
thinking about
these Truths
for some
time to
come.

Mik ;~)}

2 Comments

  1. Jennifer
    It’s evident that this video really touched and inspired you. I felt the say way although you were much more convincing in your blog. I love that you took the time to include some of Crosby’s quotes; he had some moving ones.
  2. jmgaffner
    You definitely have the passion he is describing. I love how you put your ideas into words so creatively and passionately. It is interesting how he pushed at the end for people to get on Ed.gov – I guess he was saying what you were thinking, “Let those who have ears, let them hear!”

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February 7, 2012 @ 11:45 AM 

Assignment: Answer the following questions:

Why has this class been developed and why is it important for us as educators?

Frankly, all this is not quite what I expected from the class description when I registered for this class! I understood that this class would be more of a how to introduce elementary students to computers and technology, etc. I am not in Elementary Education, and I had to obtain special permission from the department head to sign up for this class, but now I am really glad I did! Obviously, this class is not so much of a “how to teach elementary students tech and computers” as it is “how to teach elementary school teachers how to use currently available technologies for the classroom.” Our students probably already know how to use computers and related technology better than any of us “old fogies,” so this is EXACTLY why this class is so very important to all of us as educators. If we even hope to be able to communicate and relate to our students in a meaningful and enduring way, we will have to “speak” to them in “their” language, and increasingly, the “language” of technology IS the language of the up-and-coming generation of students and citizens.

How would you defend the use of technology in your classroom to a parent who has strong negative feelings regarding tech use?

I would hope that I would not have to convince any parent that employing technology in the classroom is a viable approach, however, I could see where this might could be an issue in certain situations. First, I would try to relate to the parent as a parent myself, and build some kind of common bridge between our experiences and concerns. Sometimes parents perceive “teachers” as being something other than “real people,” and they have fears and misgivings about our capabilities, techniques and even our agendas. I would affirm that my utmost and highest priority is to prepare their child for success both academically in their education career, and in their chosen vocation, which most certainly will increasingly require a proficiency in the use of technology. Having been raised on a large farm in the rural mid-west, I would affirm the value of fresh air, lots of exercise, a good healthy diet, needed rest, positive friends, strong work ethic, and all the “classical” elements we, as Americans, have come to know and appreciate as contributing to a healthy and productive life-style. But I would also be careful to point out that our world is changing every day, and technology continues to play a leading role in many of these changes. And if we, as a nation, even hope to remain competitive academically and vocationally, we are going to have to use every means available to prepare our students for the real-world demands which most certainly lie ahead of them. Many other nations are far ahead of ours in these regards, and time nor opportunity will wait for us to “eventually” come around to realizing our need to become proficient users and implementers of all the various forms of technology emerging in our world each and every day.

Do you think that a child should be using technology on a regular basis?

To this I could only ask in reply, do you think that a child should be learning how to communicate and behave themselves on a “regular basis?” And of course, by asking this question, I would want to point out the parallel illustration that using technology today, in this nation and world IS THE primary way both students and workers are and will continue to “communicate” and “behave” in this ever-tech-dependent society of ours. So yes, I do most certainly believe that a child should be learning how to use technology on a very regular basis. Having said this, however, I would quickly point out the need for more “conventional” forms of recreation, work, entertainment, and social interaction. I have a nephew who is certainly a genius when it comes to the use of technology, and is even doing programming as young as he is, but my sister tells me that he has no real friends, and has difficulty relating to other children his age. This she has allowed to happen over the years, citing – if you can believe this – that with his tech skills, he will be able to “buy” any friends he might need in his future life! How sad, but of course, I can hardly say anything without offending one and all ( though that has hardly stopped me before! ) No, developing a proficiency in the use of technology is not the goal to end all objectives in life and growth and maturity, but if properly developed in its place, and complimented with a healthy balance of all the ingredients which might make for a healthy body and a well-rounded personality, it may very well go a long way to assure not only a positive and productive life, but also a happy one as well.

And finally, how can we make it – technology – useful for them for lifelong learning?

I think I have touched on at least part of this question in the several of my comments above, but to add to this, I would say that one of the most important things I have learned, in my short 55 years of growing up in and through the advent and implementation of computers and technology, is how to effectively “navigate” through an increasingly technology dependent culture. There is much that could be said for this alone, as it is not, nor has it ever really been enough to simply be able to use current technology properly and effectively. No – - – if we are to be truly successful, we must also have the knowledge and even the wisdom to know how we might properly “navigate” – maneuver, if you will – in and through this technological world as it is ever changing and hopefully improving. This requires – above all else, I have found – a “working sense” of the basic principles of technology, their advantages and limitations, their potential uses and abuses, and how one might properly “posture” themselves so as to take advantage of the positive aspects of technology, and hopefully avoid the potential negative downsides of technology as well, and there are many on both sides of this equation. Teaching young people to recognize the working principles of technology, developing their own personal “philosophy of technology,” if you will, and helping them to rightfully and effectually posture and navigate in and through our technological inter-dependent culture are some of the very best ways I would suggest to prepare our students for a life-long survival in the ever-changing world that lies ahead of us all. Mik ;~)}


2 Comments

  1. jmgaffner
    “build some kind of common bridge between our experiences and concerns” I like the way you worded this in regards to building relationships with parents. I think it is really important to do this. Well worded!

    “but if properly developed in its place, and complimented with a healthy balance of all the ingredients which might make for a healthy body and a well-rounded personality, it may very well go a long way to assure not only a positive and productive life, but also a happy one as well.” You are so right. I think we don’t focus on happiness enough. I like how you said this.

    Great post, Michael. I am glad you are enjoying this class. I am also happy that you decided to join us even though it isn’t a requirement for you!
  2. Michael
    Thanks so very much for your comments!

    And I am enjoying your class much more than I might have expected.

    Even for a fairly savvy computer guy like me, all these specific applications of the technology are a bit of a challenge, but I am giving it my best!

    And don’t fret over me in regards to what you are doing. I mean, you don’t have to worry about making a way for me to fit in or whatever.
    If I have any problems or questions with the assignments, or maybe need some kind of adjustment for my particular needs/applications, I will be careful to bring these to your attention!

    Again, thanks for a super class, and you are doing a GREAT job bringing us all along!

    Mik ;~)}

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