The iSchool Initiative
In his first video, Travis Allen is a seventeen year old high school student from Georgia that believes he has a solution to America's education problem. His school, like many others, is experiencing major budget cuts. Teachers are getting cut and classes are getting larger. Someone may wonder how it's possible to implement technology in the classroom when budgets are being cut every time we turn around. At first thought, this seems to make sense. Technology is expensive, but when you look at the big picture it actually saves money.
Schools spend money on many things such as copiers, paper, ink, maps, projectors, and calculators. The cost of these and other things for students and classrooms add up very quickly. Travis Allen offers one device that encompasses many features and would cut classroom cost by approximately $600 per student. It is the iSchool. There are so many applications already in place for the iTouch that would aid in making the iSchool possible.
Three years later, Travis Allen posted another video. This time informing us of the progress of the iSchool initiative. He has formed a team that is traveling the globe to share his revolutionary idea for schools. I believe the iSchool would be a wonderful tool for schools. I really enjoyed Travis' quote, "If we are going to thrive in the information age, we must rethink, retool, and rebuild our educational institution to better prepare our youth for the digital world they were born into." He is right. If we do not find ways to keep up with the times, our students will fall behind. It is our duty to prepare our students for the future, and that is technology.
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
Whitacre's virtual choir is just incredible. I was simply amazed at the way he used technology to allow 185 people from 12 different countries to perform together without ever meeting. It is simply wonderful. This video alone shows the amazing opportunities that technology offers us. The most obvious being the opportunity to interact with people on the other side of the globe as if they are right beside you. After watching this, I went to visit Eric Whitacre's website, www.ericwhitacre.com, and on April 2, 2012, he posted the latest virtual choir, Virtual Choir 3. This time with 3746 videos from 73 countries. Simply breathtaking.
Teaching in the 21st Century
Kevin Roberts' Prezi presentation poses an important question. "What does it mean to teach in the 21st century?" We can see that the tools in the classroom are changing, but what about the roles of the students and teachers. How will we change to fit the new technology that is taking over the classroom.
Most have heard the quote, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." I think this says it all. If the classroom is changing and educators continue to do the same thing over and over again it is, well, insane. As educators-to-be we will not be successful if we continue to teach the way teachers taught fifty years ago. It will not work. With the internet at every student's fingertips, teaching facts is not valuable. We must teach our students how to problem solve, how to use their creativity, and how to think critically. We must teach them skills.
The Flipped Classroom
Flipping the classroom is an innovative approach to teaching started by the Friday Institute at NC State University. Before flipping, majority of the class time was spent on delivery and review of the content with very little time actually being spent on application. Flipping the classroom changes things up for the better. It allows teachers to make instructional videos for the students to watch at home. That way, majority of the class time can be spent on the actual application of the concepts. This not only makes the class more interesting, but it allows the students to move at their own pace. They can watch the videos as few or as many times as they may need to. From there, they can gather any questions or topics of discussion they would like their teacher to cover the next day. I think it is a great idea for teachers to flip their classroom.