The Future of Tech

I had many different emotions while watch the PBS Documentary “Digital Nation” for our ED554 class. The documentary did a nice job of not showing a completely bias opinion. I sided with the professors that believed technology was here to stay. The professor from USC said, “With change comes gain and pain”. He meant that throughout history we as a society have always been going through changes. Each time there is a change there is turmoil and mixed emotions because people are uncomfortable. They may feel forced into something that they are not ready to experience. However, with such pain there is immense gain. As a species we are always evolving. This means that we are heading towards things that improve our lives. The documentary criticized multi-taskers and their ability to retain actual information. I think that their opinion was just a reflection of their capabilities to not do the same task with proficiency. I think that change is inevitable and we hinder that change and evolving by being afraid. We can’t move forward if we want to remain in the past.

The part of the documentary in South Korea and the students obsession with gaming was interesting. I had never heard of this before. However, I did find it a little ridiculous. A parent was complaining that she was going to lose her child to gaming, but I never saw her do anything in her home to help. She sent her son away to a “rehab for gaming”, but she never restricted access in her home or enforced rules. Parents can keep their kids from going to the PCs all the time. I found it very creepy when the children were reciting in class their responsibilities online. I think this is because I remember that the government enacted the mandates and it all felt a little 1984ish to me. I remembered seeing a video on South Korea and their new grocery shopping stores. They came out in 2011, which is a while ago. I encourage everyone to check it out. It certainly is convenient.



I also was research the social media revolution and stumbled upon a lecture by Dr. Michio Kaku. He has his predictions of what will happen by 2030. That is only sixteen years away! In fact I will be only forty years old by that time. I would like everyone to watch and see if they agree with Dr. Kaku. He says that scientist can do these predictions based off of interviewing 300 of the worlds best scientists and by applying Moore’s Law. Check it out!

*side note he gave this speech in 2009, so even more predictions could have happened.



5 Reasons to Allow Students to have Cellphones in Classroom



This article was extremely positive and pro cellphone usage in the classroom. I do agree with the five points, however I think that there has to be ways to monitor that children are on task. The five reasons are:

1) Preparing students for life after school with the devices they will be using.

2) Using tech that is available is logical for budgeting concerns.

3) Great for teaching 21st century skills.

4) Double standards where the adults use tech, but the children may not.

5) Teaching responsible ways to use technology.

The biggest concern with monitoring students on their cell phones is making sure they are on task and not texting their friends. I think this is more at the high school level than elementary. There is the resource of using guided access, but that takes a lot of the teachers time to set up. What do you think?

Influential Tweets



This week I started to really explore my twitter. I especially looked into educational twitters. Three tweets that I found influential/helpful were:

This article described ways for teachers to save time in their classrooms. We all know that teachers are very busy people. Who wouldn’t want to find ways to make more time for yourself? The three most helpful suggestions were: 1)Blending the learning, 2) Organize your room, 3) Automate & Bundle. Blended learning allows for introduction to the unit before the lesson, allowing for the teacher and students to dive further into content. Organizing your room I think speaks for itself. I think this is important for first year teachers to establish organizational habits early. Automate & Bundle is setting aside a day at the beginning of the month to take care of little tasks. Sometimes they add up and becoming a bigger issue or you may forget about they all together. I think the key to being a prepared teacher is organization and planning.

I think that following fairfax county public schools on twitter is a good idea before employment. We can check out what is happening with the school district. Very helpful for future interviews! This tweet was about Mondays next school year. Up till now students have had a half day on Mondays in order for teachers to have planning periods. This is no more! Now Mondays are full days. It will be interesting to see how the administration will incorporate planning now.

I think this article speaks for itself. Teachers are not paid enough! Compared to other occupations teachers pay is somewhat laughable when you think of everything teachers do for children. They are preparing these children to get those jobs that pay more than them. It’s easy to say that most teachers are enraged by their salary, but they do it for the love and passion of the job. I agreed with the article that an increase in pay for teachers will need to happen slowly and gradually. It will have to come from higher ups in order for a change.



Speak Up 2013: The New Digital Learning Playbook



I read the article and the statistics of the Speak Up Survey for 2013. I recognized many terms that we are using in our Computers & Tech class #ED554. There was a discussion about the digital immigrant and the digital native. However, the survey contradicted the notion that students of this era fit into any of those categories. Instead, the argument was in favor of the idea that students are in the middle of a digital native and digital immigrant. I thought that concept was fascinating since, children are always frustrated with their parents when having to help them on the computer. I think it became a social norm to stereotype the younger generation as tech guru’s.

One of the biggest demands that students wanted in their school was access to all websites that they could use for academic purposes. I don’t see why this isn’t allowed except, except for possibly that the administration is not aware of new websites or apps that are used to academia. It is hard to keep up with since more and more keep developing every day. Also, the students wanted school wide wifi. I think that could be done, but I also don’t run the schools budget, nor do I have any idea of how it works, this is just pure optimism. As always, there is the argument for Title I schools. Our cohort got the opportunity to visit the school where we will be student teaching at, Hutchison Valley. It just so happens to be a Title I school and they have their very own STEM program. They were very fortunate to have it donated to the school by Time Warner Cable. I was curious how more schools could make that happen because I had never heard of that before. But like I said earlier I do not know the budget, or how it works…pure optimism.

One more thing about the article that shocked me was the fact that in comparison to boys, girls use technology more. I got excited because it is always a stereotype that women are not good at math or science. But here are the facts that young girls are more involved in technology. Then as I kept reading I was sad to find that girls interest in tech becomes smaller and smaller as they age. I feel that if there was proper encouragement and guidance that this would not be happening. In fact, I hope for a future world where there aren’t gender stereotypes in academia or the work force. I think that statistic should focused on as a sub experiment, to figure out the cause and to work towards a solution.

As for how I could use this article in my classroom, the students who took the survey provided me with guidance. Their suggestions that I could put into effect are: providing access to social media tools, provide tools/apps for organizing schoolwork, provide access to an online tutor, provide tools/apps that allow for collaboration with classmates and 24/7 access to my teacher (I may have to tweak that 24/7 to 9/7)? Hey now, teachers are people too we need our beauty sleep! I can also go to seminars about technology. I may not know everything about tech, but I can go to workshops and professional development sessions in order to enhance my classroom. Something else that I have learned in my two years at a school is to ask for help! If you can’t figure something out or want to learn more about an application ask the IT teacher at your school, they are more than willing to help out. I know that if professional development sessions were about technology and new resources to provide our students with I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up.

Pros and Cons of Being a Connected Teacher



This listening experience was my first time exploring podcasts in terms of an educational standpoint. I listened on EdReach to “Mission Monday #036: The Pros and Cons of Being a Connected Teacher”. I don’t know if I had a good listening experience. I know the topic was Pros and Cons, but it just felt like there were way more cons than pros. Especially, one man in particular was always “the bad cop”. In the podcast Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are discussed. The idea behind being a “connected teacher” is teacher-teacher relationships and parent-teacher relationships. The only pro I heard throughout this entire podcast was that Facebook has been a great tool for parents and teachers. Teachers can make a Facebook page for their class and post newsletter, get in touch with parents, update homework, etc.

The list of Cons for this podcast go on and on. In fact one of the opinions was that twitter is not useful because it is a place full of positivity, there aren’t any debates…This comment made me sort of angry because I feel as teachers we should be supporting other teachers in every aspect. The men who made this podcasts are teachers and I feel they were bashing helpful tools. They gave their opinion that they thought Pinterest was useless and only females used it (they admitted to the sexism). Needless to say, I did not like this particular podcast.

In retrospect I think that a podcast can be a valuable tool in the classroom. I hopefully will explore other podcasts that give better examples of teaching methods. I can’t wait to see how podcasts can be implemented in the classroom, which we will learn this week. I felt that this podcast was boring. I think this is because my generation is used to seeing visuals combined with auditory. This felt like a lecture, but just using a different outlet. It is hard to sit and listen for long periods of time. I tried hard to fight my urge to go on Facebook or twitter to entertain myself during this podcast.

The History of Our World in 18 Minutes



I will be the first to admit that I was not too keen on science growing up. I did however enjoy sci-fi movies, which I always watched with my dad, it was our father-daughter bonding time. In fact when people mention other universes beyond ours my mind goes a little numb. It is a hard thing to contemplate. If you look at the picture above, that is how tiny our universe is in the grand scheme of things. Can kind of freak you out to think about what else could be going on out there.

I recently watched a Tedtalk by David Christian called “The History of Our World in 18 minutes”. Mr. Christian literally took you through the process of the formation of our universe over the course of 13.7 billion year in under 18 minutes. I will not go into detail about how our universe developed, but I want to share some of the big points that I took away from his speech. Mr. Christian talked about DNA and how it is flawed. There is error in DNA and it is evolving and correcting itself. We as human beings are evolving and changing. It is important that we learn from our past.

Of course, future generations need to know our past in order to learn from it. This is called big history. Mr. Christian expressed his wants for the future generations to come, like his grandson’s. He wants them to be able to know the challenges and face the opportunities in front of them. This is done from a vital learning tool called collective learning. Humans are collectively learning, storing and sharing information, or in better terms, our history. That is what Mr. Christian said was our biggest development over other species. Humans have developed a precise and powerful language that is able to be shared and outlast an individual.

This is exactly the role of a teacher. Teacher’s pass on the knowledge that came before them. In a sense we are story tellers of how humans got to this place in time. We share what has happened and try to prepare our students for the future. We are doing everything we can to provide the information necessary for them to succeed, not repeat the past and to better our universe. Like Mr. Christian explained in his history of our world, it is important to know where we came from in order to see where we are going.

Technology distraction or enhancement?


The major argument about bringing technology into the classroom is that people think it is going to be a distraction. Children will be searching the internet, chatting on the computer, doing everything but the assignment. In our ED554 class we were given as assignment to read an article by Ceclia Kang of the Washington Post, titled High-tech vs. no-tech: DC area schools take opposite approach to education. While reading this article I thought it would be a great idea to incorporate this into this weeks assignment, which was use a resource we found via learning services. I happen to go onto my favorite website, Many people see pinterest as a distraction. In fact Fairfax county schools has banned the website..I repeat BANNED the website from its browsers.

Now, I understand the thought process behind that. I came from the day when kids were texting in their laps with flip phones, with the texting technology that we used to call t-9. That ignites caution by parents and administrators. The idea that children will be distracted and won’t be listening to their teachers. Instead, they will be busy doing other things that are noneducational. Society is scared that we will fall even more behind when it comes to the achievement gap if we bring in other distractions. The United States is not highly ranked worldwide when it comes to education, we don’t want to do anything to hinder our advancement/trying to keep up.

However, I am pro technology in the classroom. I actually used the site that fairfax county banned to read an article of how to keep children engaged while using technology. My sister works at a school in fairfax county and they are a “BYOD” school. That means children are encouraged to bring their own device from home to school. As my ED554 Professor told us, this is the future, pretty soon almost every school will start to incorporate this idea.

An argument in the Washington Post article is, “We have to stop and think if we are embracing technology just because it is there and new or if it is the best tool for what we want to accomplish,” said Michael Rich, director of the Center on Child Media and Health at Harvard University. “Sometimes the answer is that an iPad is great, but does it really do a better job than a hunk of clay or paper?”

Valid point by Mr. Rich. However, I think that children are going to be distracted/bored at school if they don’t have avenues to engage them. If the teacher is not doing their job and is BORING then of course the child will be bored. If technology is put into the classroom it is possible that they child will not be as bored by having a task to do while being talked to. Instead of, sitting at a lecture for four hours. 

Some of the items the article mentions to keep kids focused are:

1) encourage direct engagement

2) ask for more participation

3) delve into a topic

4) make use of online resources in class

5) assign research topics

6) use real world problems

7) review what they’ve learned

Check out the article to see how in depth they go about each of those steps. If you read each step it sounds exactly like what a classroom teacher is trying to do anyway, with technology or without. So, what are we so cautious about?

let me know your thoughts!