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Howard's Corner

the journey of becoming a teacher

Month

January 2016

Week 3: Wikipedia

In recent discussions of Wikipedia and other online research sources, a controversial issue has been whether students have the ability to evaluate the data they find correctly.  On the one hand, some argue that they don’t have these skills and should avoid questionable sites such as Wikipedia.  From this perspective, it is argued that students need to avoid these sites rather than learn how to filter out the factual information and the false findings online.  On the other hand, however, others argue that students are capable of this time of differentiation and we should be teaching them the tools in order to do so.  According to this view, students should be learning the same strategies we adults use on a daily bases in order to evaluate information.  In sum then, the issue becomes whether we should be teaching students these tools or not, to me this answer is obvious.

My own view is that not teaching the strategies to students would be a disservice and set them up for failure as they get older. We cannot send children out into the world without critical thinking skills or  the knowledge to question information.  Though I concede that it may be harder in the lower grade levels, I still maintain that it is important and something very much needed for 21st century learners.  For example, when people start believing everything they read online we create a generation of ignorant and gullible citizens. In addition, when students aren’t taught how to decipher a creditable source from a not, they are easily trapped in a small narrow group of resources when there are so many great tools out there for them to use.

“Teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who don’t use technology will be replaced by those who do.”     Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

Week 1

In recent discussions of technology in the classroom, a controversial issue has been whether it is being used right or not.  On the one hand, some argue that “technology should not just allow us to do traditional in a different way; it should allow us to do things that we thought were not possible.”  From this perspective, we see technology in a classroom as a positive as long as it is used in a creative and enriching way to strengthen our children’s learning.  On the other hand, however, others argue that “the right technology may be a pencil.”  According to this view, technology should not be used when it is not needed. This viewpoint argues that technology is not always needed in an educational setting that sometimes pencil and paper will do the job just fine and the technology would be frivolous.  In sum then, the issue is whether technology is the right answer and when that is the case.

My own view is that we need to change the American approach to education as a whole to keep up with current society and our future. When this happens technology use in the classroom will become much more important, relevant and no longer futile.  Though I concede that pencil and paper is still an important tool, I still maintain that technology can open the door to so many educational outlets and experiences that generations in the past never could of dreamed of. Marc Prensky explains,

School is certainly not about the future, which kids tell us is their most pressing concern. If schools were future oriented, they would be full of classes in programming, multimedia literacy and creation, astronautics, bioethics, genomics, and nanotechnology. Science fiction and fantasy literature would be a part of the curriculum, as representative of alternative visions of the future. Students would be learning and practicing such future-oriented skills as collaborating around the world electronically and learning to work and create in distributed teams.

Although some might object that education should be focused only on the past and current information, I would reply that although these are both important much can be gained from future thinking for our society as a whole. When we start teaching and preparing our students for their future and take a more relevant approach on education we will engage our students, keep their attention and prepare them to succeed.

Here is a prezi presentation I made for Ed 100 (my first Ed class) on my philosophy of education. I am posting it here so I can look back and reflect and grow from where it started as I continue down my education journey. I will be always working and fine tuning my philosophy so I see this presentation as an imprtant first stepping stone.

Below are two quotes related to technology and education when will be the focus of most of my early post as this blog was created as an assignment for Ed 270 but I plan to keep adding post after the class is over. Please enjoy the quotes as I hope they give you something to ponder on and connect with.

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