The above quote by John Dewey really made an impact on me while watching the PBS Video- New Learners of the 21st Century . I truly never realized how important it was to educate our children on using technology and incorporating it into our classroom lessons. The video discussed the important need to teach children to solve 21st century problems using 21st century tools. Our children are no longer of an age where they will can be fully prepared for the working world without these important technological skills. Having grown up while computers were still new and having left school before they were really integrated into the classroom, I have already started to feel very out of touch and lost in dealing with the programs everyone appears to be comfortable with. I have first hand knowledge of how this inability to understand and use technology can be a struggle in academic as well as professional life. The teaching strategies shown in the video really opened my eyes to the possibilities and the necessity of incorporating technology in our classrooms.
I was especially interested in the program developed by the Smithsonian Institute that used technology and text messages to develop scavenger hunts for kids and teens to play at Smithsonian Museums themselves. Having spent time in the museums this weekend I could fully relate to the museums need for a more 21st century approach. As discussed earlier in the video, children are learning and interacting more through technology than by simple facts and lecture curriculum. For museums to continue to reach its younger audience, who often find the current museum structure boring and outdated, this program seems like a great way to excite and interest young learners by having them solve clues and interact with the museum’s collection. It was not only an exercise in using technology to develop the scavenger hunt but also a lesson in team work, creativity, and the subject material itself.
The video really opened my eyes to different and innovative ways for children to learn and the need for them to become comfortable and fluid with technology. I am still hesitant in my own abilities to use the same technology, but excited to learn and pass along the valuable information!
The Cool Cat Teacher blog is written by Vicki Davis. She is an author of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time (Pearson) and is a full time teacher and IT director at her school. She uses her blog to write about personal development, teaching, leadership, productivity, and technology that works. Her goal is “to create inspirational, innovative content that you can use to stay motivated in your personal and professional life.”
I enjoyed reading her blog because its real. Its personal and she doesn’t sugarcoat the struggles she has in her profession. She is open and even writes about not feeling thanked by her students. She also includes important information about how to incorporate technology into successfully teaching students. She clearly has a passion for both education and technology and she has helpful hints for marrying the two. I found her webpage and writing style to be easily understood by a novice like me. (I found some of the other blog layouts to be a bit overwhelming at first.) Cool Cat Teacher Blog is a very well rounded blog and I felt connected to her and her passion. I’m really a dog person myself- but this time, I’ll go with the cat lady.
This semester I plan to focus on Art/Visual Learning in the Kindergarten Classroom.
“The standards for kindergarten serve as building blocks for further visual arts instruction. The standards place emphasis on cognitive, affective, sensory, and motor development, using a problem-solving approach. Students will learn that art is a personal expression, has value, teaches about other times and places, and connects in important ways to other areas of learning. Students will understand that their works of art are unique and valuable as self-expressions.”
After teaching preschool for 8 years I have really come to appreciate the impact art has on young children and the foundational skills it teaches. Art and Visual Learning offers an opportunity to express and discuss thoughts, emotions, and experiences while also exploring the concepts of colors, patterns, sequences, and spacial relationships. I look forward to learning ways to incorporate technology into this learning standard.