“Collective Learning” -“The history of the world in 18 minutes” by David Christian

I watched this Tedtalk called “The history of our world in 18 minutes” by David Christian.  I wasn’t really sure what it was going to be about before watching it but it turned out to very interesting.  He started with the question, “how does the Universe make complexity?” The answer he stated was “with great difficulty”.  He explained that through history there are these certain threshold moments.  These moments mean that the complex things are getting more fragile and it is more difficult to create complexity.  At this point in the video I was still confused on how we were talking about the history of the world in 18 minutes but then he started explaining these threshold moments from the beginning of time.

David Christian started with the beginning of time.  There was nothing, no time or space, it was pure darkness.  Then he moved on to the next threshold moment when the universe appeared and now there were fundamental forces and matter. He went through the big bang, gravity, and the formation of the solar system.  However, then living things emerge. Something he talked about was the Goldilocks conditions for life.  These included: the right amount of energy, diverse chemical elements, and liquids.  The Earth was perfect at first because of the vast oceans and amount of liquid water available. DNA started to create and duplicate itself through the ocean, however there were imperfections and errors that are necessary to diversity and complexity.  From here we have an evolution of different living things. It turns out that when the astroid destroyed the dinosaurs, it was great news for mammals.

Christian considers humans as another threshold.  This is because of our DNA and how we are able to learn.  We are blessed with our communication and how we are able to share everything we have learned so that it will live beyond our human selves.  He calls this “collective learning”.  We are the only species in 4 billion years to have this quality.  We are able to creatively share information and everything that goes along with that.

This was a very intriguing video to watch.  I really enjoyed the points he made at the end about collective learning.  This is a perfect way of stating this.  We, as humans, would not have been able to come this far if we didn’t have collective learning. This is the reason that we have the technology, theories, and research that we do.  Humans are able to collaborate with each other to create more complexity and keep our species alive.  This is an important point to take into account as teachers as well.  We have to realize the power of collective learning and collaboration.

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Edreach podcast channels!

I haven’t had much experience with podcasts before but I do find them very interesting.  My church has a podcast every Sunday so that if you are not able to attend service, you can listen online.  I’ve always thought that was very convenient and helpful but I did not know many other podcasts before having to look at a few this week.  I looked at the podcast website Edreach.  This website caught me at first glance because of the way their website is set up. It is very engaging and includes a lot of different podcast channels.

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I explored a few different channels within this podcast website.  The first was called “Chalkles”.  This channel isn’t exactly a podcast but it was still cool to look at.  It includes different comic like drawings about school related things such as plagiarism, common errors, and blended learning.

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Another channel I looked at was “The Google Educast”.  I listened to their podcast “Google’s self-driving classroom”.  They started out by explaining that google plus is not dying and it never was.  They said that it is a great place for sharing ideas with other teachers.  An interesting point they made was that although facebook is a great place as well, it isn’t that great for the media because it is more for people “hanging out with their friends”.  They talked about twitter but how it is still growing and it isn’t the end of it all.  Taking a turn in their conversation, they started talking about the new google self driving car.  Is this the future for school busses? They can stop pedestrians, and interpret hand signals.  I’m not quite sure if they have completely gotten me on this topic but they have intrigued me to learn more about these self-driving cars that are apparently coming.  One of the men on the podcast said that he thinks that these self-driving cars should be the future of school buses because they are much safer… I guess we’ll see about that.

Towards the end they have a “tips and tricks section”.  Today they talked about switching between windows and applications.  Apparently there are easier ways that I did not know about before listening to this podcast.  You can simply use command+tab to switch between applications.  This is very useful if you are doing a presentation.  I actually tried this out while I was listening to the podcast and it was a very useful skill to learn.  Overall, this was a very useful podcast channel to come across.  I am looking forward to listening to more podcasts from “The Google Educast”.

Are podcasts something I will use for professional learning in the future?

Yes, after exploring a few different podcasts today I believe that they are useful for gaining more knowledge on teaching or any other subject that you may come across.  These podcasts seem like they would be a great way to spend time in a long, rush hour traffic drive to work or class.  Some podcasts are more entertaining than others and I will be looking more into them.  Podcasts are more of an informal learning process but they still provide really good information.  I have learned this through the google podcast site especially because they discussed things google provides that are useful.


Tested and approved apps!!

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I found a really great resource through twitter today!  @WeAreTeachers posted a tweet that read “Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved By Teachers.”  The page it took me to contains many apps that teachers have tested out and recommend for other teachers.  I have explored other resources that provide good apps for teachers but this one included different sections that I have never seen before.  Some of the categories included “digital storytelling and presentation”, “augmented reality”, “reading engagement”, “coding”, and “note taking”.  I strongly believe that technology should start to be used more in the classroom and these categories allow students to bring out their creativity in the classroom.  This resource even includes good apps for younger children as well as older students.  This is awesome because I am not sure if I will be teaching first grade or sixth, now I have possible app opportunities to show my students of all different ages.

This resource I found came from @WeAreTeachers.  After exploring the link they posted about apps, I explored their website.  I actually ended up linking both the webpage with the suggested apps and the WeAreTeachers website to my diigo!  WeAreTeachers includes more lessons and resources that I need to start looking at! They are both incredibly helpful and I will definitely be using them in the future.


picture from: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/06/apps-that-rise-to-the-top-tested-and-approved-by-teachers/

Extracurricular Empowerment- a video promoting technological creativity

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One of the major questions that this Ted video asked was how we get the amazingly creative extracurricular use of technology to be curricular.  This question really sparked my interest in this subject.  After Scott McLeod described so many specific individuals doing different things on the internet I realized that there is so much potential for students and children to show their creativity through these resources.  One story that really impressed me was the one about a 13 year old girl who has 27 written stories on Fanfiction.net and has received many review on them.  Children have made documentaries, videos, magazines, apps, and all of these products have received millions of likes and views.

All of these children are just normal, every day students that have been given the empowerment and opportunity to create these amazing things.  They may have to experiment and play around to find what really works for them but these children have actually used their internet “inventions” for good.  The girl who started a blog about the school lunches used the money to help those with food insecurities.  These blogs and youtube videos may not interest everyone, but they are a way to help children express themselves.  I think it is amazing that some of these children can make videos that are so powerful at such a young age.  They may not know exactly what they’re doing but they are able to explore the internet world that is so prevalent in society now.

To go back to the main question that Scott asked during his video, how do we make this extracurricular activity also curricular?  This is a perfect opportunity for teachers because they have the power and resources available to teach and show their students the endless uses of technology.  The video stated that we need to give them something meaningful to work on having to do with technology, get out of their way so that they can creatively explore, and we need to provide them with the resources to be able to do all of this.  If teachers assign projects and assignments that require the use of their students creativity and technology, we can really create a technology infused classroom.

Some may not believe that technology should be used so fully in the lives of students or even in schools, but we have to adapt to the way our society is growing.  Lives don’t have to be fully revolved around technology.  Technology can’t be ignored because of the endless amounts of opportunities that it provides us with.  It is only going to get more prevalent in our lives so as teachers we should really embrace the opportunities it provides for our students.


This attached picture at the top is from the video.  I really enjoyed the words on the slide because they describe these children that have used technology to express themselves and help others.



“Generation Like”

The Frontline video “Generation Like” was the most eye opening thing i’ve seen in a while.  I am a social media person myself, however I had no idea the depth people go to get the attention they do on the internet.  The people avidly using social media and the internet are getting younger and younger because of what is available now.  With that said, teachers of all levels should be very aware of what is going on in the internet world.  To keep up with society and understand what students are getting into outside of the classroom, teachers need to know what is out there.

A very interesting thing the video talked about is how having an internet presence gives kids a sense of empowerment.  When face-to-face someone might look at you funny or weird but when you’re on the internet no one can tell you what you can and can’t say.  The Social Web is a place where kids can do and post whatever they want and other people watching will love it. This gives kids that empowerment, attention, and validation that they were striving for. Being famous for what they’re doing on the internet is worth a lot more than actual money.

As a teacher, understanding this Social Web that our students are apart of is very important.  Being aware of the different things that they are looking at will help us understand our students more.  “Likes”, “follows”, “retweets”, and “reblogs” mean more to students than we might realize and this effectives them in the classroom.  Understanding their social internet world will give teachers outlets and ideas to relate back to the students. To reach the students more effectively, teachers can intertwine these social media aspects in their lessons to keep kids alert and interested.  This social web is becoming so popular with kids and is a very important part of their lives and this is why teachers need to understand it for themselves.

Overall, the social media world is growing insanely fast but there is no way of stopping it.  We have to adapt to this world that our students are now apart of and dying for attention through.  It is an easy way to relate and keep the students interested in learning.  By understanding the internet world, teachers can also help to keep their students safe from what is out there.

To watch this video Generation Like and see how intense kids really are about social media click here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/