My Dream School
School seems to be a depressing sort of place with negative connotations for children, so I would want my school to be impossibly wonderful. If I could, I would have a gym that was made of trampoline material everywhere so kids could bounce off of things. Because I would want it to be versatile as well, I would want the gym to be able to transform into a modern, standard gym where they could experience all sorts of sports, including abnormal sports like orienteering, kayaking, and polo. Another feature my school would have is an exquisite cafeteria breakfast and lunch menu dedicated to both teachers and students. Every other week, we would explore authentic cultural cuisine from central Asia to Australia. Of course, some students would be against trying new things, but the diversity among the student population will help promote social acceptance of all cultures, and if all else fails, there would be a sandwich line. The last (non-classroom related) room I would modify would be the library. My library would be have a first and second floor, with the upper classrooms gaining access to the library on second floor and the lower classrooms gaining access to it on the first floor. There would be nooks and crannies in each window sill for kids to comfortably lay around and read. I would encourage any children who wanted to spend their recess inside the library to do so. Another aspect to my school would be the superior learning environments.
Each department would be themed every other year (ie the math department would be Roman themed, science department would be Amazon themed etc.) Teachers would be responsible for decorating their classrooms and interpreting their ideas of the theme. Smart boards would be included in every classroom, but especially the math classrooms. Students would come in with all supplies ready to learn and keep a journal about what they'd learn from classroom to classroom. I would look into what the kids would be interested in learning about (botany, travelling, martial arts for example) and make clubs dedicated to these ideas. Lastly, parent involvement would be a must. If kids are strongly affected by the many people they encounter, I would want a strong network between parents, teachers, and kids. Some children are self sufficient, but the children who need just a little encouragement to succeed will be overwhelmed by the support waiting to catch them, should they fall.
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
I loved this video. There is great importance in showing what people all over the world can do by coming together to produce such a harmonious and beautiful sound. If one listens carefully enough, one can hear the different breathing patterns where people are ending and starting words or lines a mili-second before they are suppose to. To me, this symbolizes the imperfection of a virtual choir. This aspect to the virtual choir gives it a uniqueness that most choirs do not experience but is good. In the words of a comment post below: "It sounds like the breathing of the universe." I think so as well.
In his interview, he went over how far people will go for connection to other human beings. The effort to be put into this kind of project takes months of review, sound checks, and video editing. One can see how much everyone believes in this project and the kind of community it has developed is special. I believe that with each new project, Eric must receive more and more entries. Even in his third project he has 73 countries involved! I'll be on the look out for more of these videos (as I've already watched several interviews about the solo artist that appeared in the first project).
I think Kevin has some really spot on points on where technology has taken us and where it will be in the future. We are a very virtually connected world where one can access the internet or phone signals via satellite, and there are very few places where one can't have access to everything. As it is, our children and great grand children will be looking forward to utilizing technology we have yet to experience, and we feel like we already have the world at our finger tips. How are we to teach future generations on old technology? How are we to engage them in the learning process? Are we obsolete? When those questions started popping up, I was having a mini-heart attack. He's right. As we are now, we are obsolete. We become professional caretakers and nothing more if we do not change. We have to move forward and beyond by keeping up with the technology to stay a step ahead of our students. The younger ones may not have as much curiosity to explore the web, but the older ones will know creases of the internet we never considered to be an issue.
I suppose it's time that teachers pick up their roots and start moving. Right, Dr. Strange?
Flipping the Classroom
This approach to teaching is a great idea to be progressive and proactive in the classroom. I noticed they covered that this is only for math classes for the time being (being a future math teacher, I'm ecstatic there is someone thinking about bettering math lessons) and I can see myself utilizing this tool for the classroom. It's tough in any classroom to reach all the children because they are not going at the same pace as one another, but this is especially true in math. In my opinion, math has become a stale subject, because it hasn't been taught that many different ways since the beginning of math education. In general, high school math class sessions are lecture and homework based (like Dr. Lodge said). The smart board may be a new and inventive way to teach it, but it only captures students attention because they can get away from the standard marker/chalk and board. And though the smart board may leave teachers with an easier way to put lesson plans together, the point of using one is to change the way information is given to the students. When we analyse how students interact with the smart board, we realize they don't, for the most part. It is still a lecture and homework based course. I'm interested in the videos because of the re-watching purpose.
When I began going to school for Secondary Mathematics Education, I came across a professor that has already utilized this strategy. He has a YouTube account and playlists for all of the subjects he's teaching. The great thing about his playlists is that he can add any additional videos about a certain topic he's discussing in class from other YouTuber's account. He hasn't completely given his teaching over to the internet, because he reiterates these lessons in class and goes over more examples, but he's getting closer to classroom flipping idea. Before tests (and especially midterms or finals), he gathers groups and has them work out problems on the board so the students can evaluate their work and peer discussions pop up. Students ask questions of tutors or the professor and/or solve it out themselves. It would be hard for him to get near the flipped classroom idea, but I can at least try it.
Because lesson plans will range from easy to challenging, I can see about making videos about the more medium to challenging topics. I know that sometimes it's hard to gauge what is hard for students in comparison to what is hard for teachers, so by data collection, I will have an idea of what lesson plans I need to make videos for and which ones I need to drop from my playlist. I don't want the videos to take over my teaching all together, but I believe this could become a great supplemental tool for my students.