Monday, September 20, 2010

EDUC 515 Response to Continuity vs Change

My opinion is that technology has revolutionized our society and because of it, we need to change our education systems as well. Technology has made many aspects of our lives easier so that there is less need for traditional education and more need for students to know how to be logical and innovative. I believe technology has essentially rewired our brains. I believe teachers need to prepare our children for futures where they will be using technology. I do not believe we are doing our students a disservice for bringing more technology to them.

Technology is a new “language” and like learning any new language, synapses are being formed and connections being made to experiences that do seem to change the brain. I am not an expert in neurology but I do know that as children grow and experience things their brains create “memories” by creating new “wirings” within their brains. The same is true for my mother with Multiple Sclerosis. Each day she has to retrain her brain and essentially create new synapses because over night they have degenerated due to the nature of her disease. Her doctors have specifically prescribed certain brain games for her to play using technology. According the article by Prensky, “the brain constantly reorganizes itself all our child and adult lives, a phenomenon technically known as neuroplasticity.”

According to the book, Outliers; The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell people who spend over 10,000 hours doing something basically become experts at it. It makes sense to me that our children who are growing up watching hours of TV and spending exuberant hours playing video games are becoming “experts” in a form of passive learning with technology. It makes sense to me that these students are rewiring their brains to react to this type of stimulus. It would be wise of teachers to take advantage of the desire to be involved in technology and use it to teach. Personally, I want to grab my students attention while I still can and fill it with as much excitement and learning as possible. Technology seems to be the way to get it all in there.

In my fairly short lifetime I’ve seen so many changes and I do not see the changes slowing down anytime soon. I believe it is imperative that we give our students the most exposure and training with technology because the possibilities are endless. We do not know what jobs there will be in the future but we can hope to give our students a step in the right direction. I forget which article it was but I remember reading “we are preparing our students for jobs that don’t exist yet.” I couldn’t agree more.

Students today are spoiled in that there is instant gratification through technology. When you want information you can get it with a few clicks on the keyboard. I don’t think it is a disadvantage however, If anything we need to embrace the fact that information is at our fingertips and us it to catapult our students into higher levels of thinking. A student no longer needs to memorize all the names and dates of the presidents before they can write a paper comparing and contrasting the effects that those presidents had on our society. I love that as a teacher I can send my students in the right direction for information and can then skip to the “nitty-gritty” part of my job and have them synthesize and form opinions on the information. According to Prensky, “the reason we memorized so many of there things in the past was only because there was no handy/speedy way to look them up.” I can think of so many more valuable ways to use that brain “space” besides random fact keeping. Attention spans may be shortend, but only because the brain realizes valuable information when it needs to now. I feel our “brains” no longer feel the need to hold onto useless facts because it is better able to categorize and interpret information.

I am looking forward to reading everyone else’s’ opinions on this, as I find it truly fascinating discourse and food for thought.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Blog

Welcome to my teaching blog as required by my EDUC 515 class at Azusa Pacific University. May the fun begin!