Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blog Assignment #5

iSchool Initiative

iSchool Initiative Team
In his video "iSchool Initiative," Travis Allen, a 17-year-old high school student at the time, presented the idea of books, paper, and pencils being replaced by the technology of the iPod touch. He made the argument that this technology would help schools "go green" and become an iSchool without destroying natural resources. He said that with the right plan, these iPods could change the face of public education. Travis Allen describes many readily available applications students can use in the classroom to help them with their studies. A few of the ones he mentioned were email, calender, U.S. Constitution, iHomework, and World Wiki. These applications will help students, teachers, and parents stay connected and know what is going on in the classroom from day to day.

Travis Allen goes on to describe how applications will transform tomorrow's iSchool. These custom-made, interactive applications can store and track homework, tests, calenders, and lunch menus, and they will help teachers have all of their class information available at one touch. He says that total teacher and student accountability will be available for the first time, and parents will be able to monitor their child's progress from any phone or computer. The iSchool will be lockable for the individual school, and interactive for the kids. The students will only be able to look up school-related information on the Internet, so education will be the main priority. One of the coolest parts of the iSchool that he described was how much money schools and students will save. They would go from spending $600+ to about $150 per student. I think Travis Allen and the iSchool Initiative have some great ideas on how to get technology more widespread in classrooms everywhere, and it was awesome to see in their video "ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry" how much attention their program as gotten. I wish them the best and look forward to seeing their success in the future.

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

I am speechless after watching "Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir." This video portrays a choir ensemble of 185 people performing "Lux Aurumque." The awesome thing is that none of these people have ever met before, and they are performing this beautiful song over the internet. I would never had dreamed something like this would be possible, but it just goes to show you how truly amazing the internet really is. If it is possible for 185 strangers to sing that beautifully over the web, the possibilities and opportunities for technology in the classroom are endless. Eric Whitacre is a musical legend in my book, and I am so glad I was able to watch this wonderful performance.
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Teaching in the 21st Century

Technology and computers
After watching Dr. Strange's version of Kevin Roberts' "Teaching in the 21st Century," I am very excited about the future of schools and technology. One of Roberts' main points was that we, as educators, need to rethink the tools we use and the types of problems we ask students to solve. Many people question how to manage laptops, iPods, and cell phones in the classroom, but Roberts points out that you manage them the same way you manage students using paper, pencils, and notebooks. The tools provide temptation, but they are not the source of negative behavior. I completely agree with Roberts when he says no matter what lesson you create and what tools you use, they must be relevant, challenging, and most importantly, engaging. I think this video is a great example of what EDM310 stands for. I have learned more in EDM310 in just a few weeks than I have in full semesters in the past. Why you may ask? Because I am engaged in the work I am doing. The changes in technology described in this video will greatly affect me as a future educator. I want my classroom to be one of engaging lessons and expressive student learning. I am so thankful for Kevin Roberts' video, and I think he has numerous beneficial ideas that will help any teacher use technology to its fullest.

The Flipped Classroom

The idea of flipping the classroom is awesome and so innovative! After watching "Why I Flipped My Classroom," "Dr. Lodge McCammon's FIZZ - Flipping the Classroom," and "Flipping the Classroom - 4th Grade STEM," I was in total awe of how effective this idea is. The notion is that teachers will have an online version of their lessons available to be viewed before the students even come in to the classroom. The students can familiarize themselves with the material and come to class with any problems or questions they may have. The flipped classroom allows for 90% of class time to be spent on application and 10% to be spent on lecturing. This is a complete flip of what a normal classroom used to be.

I wish I had the opportunity to grow up in a flipped classroom like the ones described in these videos. My elementary, middle, and high school years seemed to consist of the same schedule every day in every class: the teacher would stand at the front of the room for 50 minutes teaching us something that we weren't really paying attention to. We would go home and have no idea how to complete our homework because we didn't retain anything we learned. This is where the flipped classroom will help immensely. Not only will students become engaged with the learning process, but parents will also have numerous opportunities to help their children with homework because the lessons from the teacher are available online. The children will become excited about being academically engaged because they won't have to sit and stare at their teacher for an entire class period. Students will be able to work more at their own pace, and their teacher will have more of an opportunity to work with each student individually. I am enlightened by this awesome educational idea, and I will definitely utilize the flipped classroom one day.
Flipped Classroom


  1. Hi Claire,
    You did a fantastic job on your blog post. You explained each video very clearly. If I had not watched them myself, I certainly would have known what they were about after reading your post. I did not see any errors in you post.

    Good Job!

  2. Hey Claire!

    Your blog post looks great! Everything was well-written and explained thoroughly. I am glad to see that you were as excited about the concept of "flipping the classroom" as I was! It does seem like a great idea, doesn't it?
    Great job and keep up the good blogging!