Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blog assignment #13

view of earth from a weather balloon
Brain Crosby is an elementary teacher at Agnes Risley. In the video “Back to the Future” he shares his teaching techniques with everyone at the Tedx conference. He tells the story of a classroom that in the beginning did not know the name of the country they lived in. He then shows how with just one project he includes an array of different subjects. He starts with science by studying the atmosphere with a weather balloon. As a project he arranged to have a weather balloon carry a camera to the upper levels of the atmosphere. This one activity allowed him to branch out and create many other activities.

The other activities that he incorporated were a writing assignment that required the children to write a story as if they were the balloon, the creation of trading cards that had the hopes of his class on them, and an outreach to the world to ask for their high hopes as well. This shows that each subject has the potential to crossover in the others. The real world is the same way, just because you are a brilliant wordsmith doesn’t mean that you are excused from the sciences or math. Teachers would learn a lot from a video like this.

In the video “If these wall could talk” we are shown a university lecture hall were students are crying out for technological reform. They start by showing us some startling statistics and tell us that it could be better. They discuss the subject material they are learning, and how it doesn’t relate to them. Next the class informs us that they textbooks that they don’t even open, and that is a huge waste of money. Last they drive the message home by saying, “If we learn by doing, then what are we learning?”

I can relate to the students in the video, both as current student and as future educator. I agree that as students we spend a lot more on books than we should have to. I’m not sure I agree with the last question “If we learn by doing, then what are we learning?” The question implies that we are learning to sit at a desk and memorized information. If that is truly what is being implied then it is wrong. In math you do calculations, in science you perform experiments, in English you write papers. This is only true if the students are actually paying attend and doing the assigned work. On the other hand, I do see where the question is coming from. Not all students can learn in this traditional manner and that’s where technology can intervene and keep the students engaged.

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