Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Assignment #13

Back to the Future
 image of Brian Crosby

In the video, Back to the Future, Brian Crosby shows us exactly what his classroom is about. He has the same students from the 4th grade all the way up until the 6th grade. (You may have to give and take a few, but generally the same students.) He introduces us to this unconventional way of teaching and learning.

In his classroom, he provides computers for every child, along with many video cameras to be shared throughout the class and a Smart Board as well. He said that the majority of his students are considered as ESL and in poverty. So the computers are something they are very excited about working with. He does several projects a year with his students. They blog about their progress and how they feel about these projects as they complete them.

During this video, Brian shows us one of his projects: The Hot Air Balloon. The project's objective is to teach the students about the different layers of Earth's atmosphere. So in this project, they construct a hot air balloon and they put everyone's "high hopes" in the balloon. When they release the balloon, they are able to watch it through a satellite and see how high it goes until it bursts and sends their "high hopes" into highest layers of Earth's atmosphere. The kids also blog about this project, but in a different way: They are to pretend that they are the balloon and describe what it was like. So, their creative juices got a chance to flow. How creative?!

I loved what Brian has done with this classroom. I especially like that he has his students for 3 years. It gives him a chance to really get to know his students and teach them in a way that is best for them. He is so creative with his projects and does a great job of incorporating all aspects of technology and still targeting exactly what he suppose to be teaching (according to the state). My favorite part is that they started collaborating with students all around the world and got the opportunity to send their "high hopes" too. The students, as well as Brian, learned about many things that were going on in the world outside of the US throughout this project. Overall, I am so impressed with the amount of technology that he used and the different ways that he chose to incorporate them in his classroom. This pushes his students and makes them strive for something they are excited about and engaged in.

A Vision of Students Today

 image of college classroom with laptops
This video, A Vision of Students Today, shows you the everyday life of a college student. It provides a clear explanation of the struggles and difficulties that college students encounter on a day-to-day basis. Many of those things are brought to the surface; those being: the majority of teachers don't know their names, they are learning things that are irrelevant to their lives, they are bored in the classrooms, so many students will be overwhelmed with debt by the time they complete their degree, students are paying so much money and not receiving an education to match, and many more struggles are mentioned throughout the video.

It is very hard to look at this video in the perspective of a teacher trying to fix these problems, (considering I am a student experiencing just about every single one of the problems mentioned throughout the video)but I will do my best. After watching this video and trying to put myself in the educator's shoes, I have come to the conclusion of what I perceive to be the message of this video: incorporating more technology in the classroom and providing more opportunities for online education. Students in this video made several complaints about being bored and not coming to class. Maybe those students need to switch to online classes? Or, even better: Maybe the instructors need to switch to new methods of teaching, perhaps MORE TECHNOLOGY?! I think so. Technology is a universal tool that engages all ages, no matter if it's elementary or college-leveled students. Students will be more interested if more resources are provided for them, which is exactly what technology does.

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