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.

 

 

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“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/

Edudemic- A very useful blog to explore!

I explored the blog Edudemic: connecting education & technology.  The first post I started to read really pulled me in to exploring the entire site.  This post was titles “How Do We Teach Digital Literacy to Digital Natives?”  I didnt exactly understand what they meant by this at first but then as I started to read I fully agreed.  Our generation has grown up with technology by our sides.  We are so used to “googling” anything and everything.  This is a very useful tool to use but when it comes to knowledgeable and factual information, we need something more reliable than that and that involves better skills. Our generation could be considered “digital natives”, however we don’t know how to use anything beyond the simple and fun aspects to technology.  This post gave some ideas on how to teach digital literacy.  There was one statement at the end that I really enjoyed, “It is our job as educators and content producers to encourage kids to be capable, global citizens in a digital age” (CJ Kettler).  We should be teaching our students to use technology in useful ways, not just because it is there.

Another part of the blog I REALLY enjoyed was the page on The Best Education Technology Resources.  You can click on different sections of this blog that are categorized by “best apps for iOS, best apps for Android, best apps for the tablet, best apps for teacher’s laptop, etc.”  Since there are so many apps out there now, this post is so useful to find the best ones to use in a classroom for the devise that each teacher may have.

This blog is complete with sections and links for students, for teachers, the best edtech, and the teacher’s guides.  I will definitely be bookmarking this blog to keep as a future resource!

 http://www.edudemic.com/

Quest 2 Learn

The video Digital Media* New Learners of the 21st Century explored different learning programs that centered around this new digital media age with increased technology.  This video caught my attention from the beginning because they explained that children love embracing change, especially with this move towards increased technology.  One quote that really stuck out to me was that if we “teach them the way we taught them yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow.”  This is very true because technology is only going to grow and these children have the opportunity to create new and better ways of life.  Teachers can’t hold children back because they need to be able to explore this side of society.

One program that the video explored was Quest 2 Learn in  New York.  This is a school where the lessons and focus is solely on technology and games.  It is a school for digital kids.  These students learn by creating games for their peers.  At first I didn’t quite agree that this should be their only way of learning, however they mentioned that they take typical school subjects and create new ways to look at it. One example I really liked was when they showed students making new ways to visualize classic fables.  These children were creating games and digital stories to interpret fables that normals students are just reading in a book.  This program forces students to think out of the box with typical standards of learning.  They are encouraged to create video games which is just problem solving to help them learn.

Even though I do like a lot of the aspects in this program, I don’t believe that this should be their only school setting.  Maybe they could go as much as three times a week to this school and then have a more traditional school setting for the other two days.  Everyone needs structured, pencil and paper schooling as well.  I did like how they changed the names of the typical school subjects to creative new names such as: Science is labeled “Beings, Space, and Places.”  This helps students stay creative since it is everywhere in their atmosphere.  I did also like how they have system based thinking, these students have to learn by trial and error.  These students also have to study because in order to create or beat a game they need to learn.  Overall, this was a very intriguing program to hear about.  I liked and agreed with a lot of the aspects that they incorporate.  However, I’m not sure if this is too much at this time and what these students will end up like.  I do think it is a great start to incorporating this recently rapid increase in technology into lives.