Who is Scott McLeod?
Dr. McLeod is a professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He is the founding director of an organization know as the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology in Education (CASTLE). CASTLE is the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators. Due to this organization and the popular video series "Did you know? (Shift Happens)", Dr. McLeod has become known as one of the nation's leading academic experts on K-12 technology leadership. Dr. McLeod has also wrote a book titles "What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media."
The iSchool Initiative
In his video Travis Allen states that he has the solution to America's education problem. He answers the question, "Does technology belong in the classroom?" Travis believes that since budget cuts are being made, teachers are being let go, and classes are getting larger, changes must be made. Through his idea for a program called the iSchool students will be able to learn through their iPod touch, thus resulting in the elimination of books, paper, printers, and pencils. Certain applications already exist such as the app Chemical Touch, which allows the student to touch any chemical on the periodic table and info pops up and tells the student everything about that chemical.
I do agree with Travis to some degree. I support the idea of "Going Green", but I'm not sure that using iSchool would be a solution to other problems such as using it because its cheaper. I feel that since the cost of an average textbook for me is about $100, it would take five textbooks to equal the cost of just one iPad. At my highschool we had some books that had been used for at least ten years. If the education system was to switch over to the iPad, would the iPad last for ten years? Would it break with so much use? Or could it possibly become outdated? The cheaper idea of using the iPod touch, which cost only $150 seems like a good idea at first, however, I personally own an iPod touch and have attempted to use it to read books, I do not agree with this idea. In order for the font to be large enough for me to read it, I was only able to read 2-3 sentences at a time, and grew tired of having to scroll down the page. I do not feel that I would be able to learn by using only my iPod touch.
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
I was astonished when I watched this video. I find it amazing that he was able to connect that many people and join them in one song. Not only do I love the sound of a choir, but Eric was able to find some of the best Soprano singers from all over the world. It surprised me that technology allows us to connect 185 voices over the span of at least 12 countries. I have heard of people holding business conferences online, but I have never heard of a video conference of that magnitude before.
21st Century Teacher
One of the ideas that Roberts presented in the video is that kids can access information whenever and wherever they want. This means that teachers are no longer the primary source of information in today's society. So it present "us", the future educators, with the question "What exactly is our job as teachers?" As Dr. Strange has stated many times, I believe we must teach our students skills rather than information. I cannot recalculate on how many times throughout my academic career I heard my fellow classmates utter the words "When will we ever use this?"
To some degree I agree with this question, when are we ever going to use this info? I feel that even though a student has learned a vast amount of information, if he or she has not learned how to put that information to use then it is completely useless. We as educators must teach our students skills such as different ways to think, and to not simply answer the question at hand, but to also ask questions themselves. When I say this I mean instead of a student answering A did this, the students must ask themselves WHY did A do this?
I navigated the website for quite a while before I actually stopped and focused on any one thing. One of the main tools that caught my attention was in the classroom strategies section. It is a chart that gives teachers pointers on when to practice certain things such as writing before, during, and/or after reading. I found it interesting that there were certain techniques that teachers can use but must be strategically placed in a lesson plan or these skills may not work.
Another tool I found valuable was the many articles about reading deficiencies. One of these articles that I decided to read was "Early Signs of a Reading Difficulty." I found this article beneficial because there were many signs that I did not know to look for before now. I was surprised to read that one of these signs was ear infections. If a child has repetitive ear infections early in life then he or she is more likely to have problems reading. The site also provides viewers with the option of playing games to help the students to learn easier. When I am a teacher I hope to incorporate as many games into my lesson plans as I can. I am a strong believer that a child will want to learn more if he or she is having fun.