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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blog Post #10

In Morgan Bayda's Blog - An Open Letter to Educators, she presents some very interesting ideas and valid complaints. It is hard to sit through hours of lectures and to decipher that which is important and what needs to be retained for the "test". I have experienced both forms of education now. My previous experiences, before EDM310, consisted only of lectures and memorization. I was okay with it and graduated with my degree because that was all that was available or so I thought! Now that I have been exposed to a more collaborative form of education where there is conversation and creativity involved, I see how much greater things can be! How much more information is actually retained for future use and application when the student participates in the learning process. Any one can memorize a fact and spout it out for a test but can they really apply the process or use the lesson in the future. Have they really learned anything? In today's world, we as teachers need to focus on fostering the creativity and the application of facts not so much the facts. Sure, there has to be a balance and we want our students to "know" certain things but isn't it more important for them to know how to find the facts and use the facts rather than just memorize the facts? I think our challenge as teachers is to find the balance between the old form of education and the new form of education. It is to incorporate technology and be willing to adapt and change as the world continues to adapt and change.

In Dan Brown's video, he too raises some interesting ideas about knowledge and it's cost. Information is free on the internet to those that have access to the internet. So there is still some value to information. I agree that the way we educate must change and I think that it is coming but I don't think dropping out of school is the answer. There does need to be reform and we don't want our students so just conform as they have in the past but quitting won't change it either. Change is a slow process but it is happening! Participating and earning a degree to be able to teach and help with the change would seem to be a more productive way of challenging the system. Don't quit on the system, work within it, challenge it's boundaries and improve it so future generations don't encounter the same frustrations and limitations!

Below is the comment I left for Morgan:

Hi Morgan!

I enjoyed visiting your blog and reading your thoughts on education! I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. Having been to school, earning my first degree over 20 years ago, and returning to school this semester, it is unbelievable how things have changed. My first degree was earned under the memorization of facts and professor lectures but this semester has really opened my eyes to a new way of learning! I have truly enjoyed all the technology that I have been exposed to and am impressed by the things that are happening in our schools. Although it may not be widespread yet, I think it is coming! As new teachers graduate and implement that which they have learned, it will change the face of education! We as teachers must be willing to continually learn and change so that our students are not struggling to stay awake in class. We must keep them engaged and interested so that their creativity is sparked and their enthusiasm developed for greatness!

While reading the articleDon't Let Them Take The Pencils Home, it made me think about how is easy it must be as a teacher to get wrapped up in the results of our teaching through the use of test scores. Unfortunately, our society and our education system want to put a measurement on everything and when the numbers are not what they want or expect, they want to find someone or something to blame. Like blaming the use of pencils to play with as the reason for low test scores! How crazy does that sound? Maybe as many of the students said in their comments about the article, as educators, we need to focus on the solution not the problem. Maybe we need to ask why the students aren't performing, I would guess that it has more to do with the style of teaching than the use of pencils to play hangman. I realize that a positive environment has an impact on education and that parental support is extremely important but if those things are not there, what can we as educators do to break that cycle. What kind of impact can we have on our students so that they grow to be concerned parents that foster the importance of education in their children. If we engage these students by their involvement in their education and show them the possibilities that are available to them through technology and creativity, we can change their world and thus the world around us. We must keep our eye on the big picture and not get bogged own with the details that can discourage us and make us lose sight of the ultimate goal, well educated productive, creative, contributing members of society!

Below is the comment that I left on the Mr. Spencer's blog page:

Hi! My name is Lisa May and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I read your blog as part of our weekly assignment. I found it very interesting! I will be following it in the future. I liked the storytelling style. When reading the conversation, it is so easy to see the sarcasm and the ridiculousness of the situation. Could "pencils" really have an impact on test scores? Who cares what they are writing/playing with them at least they are using them! Our job as educators should be to foster such a level of creativity and learning that it carries over into the after school life. I know we can't be involved in every aspect of our students lives but if we show them hope, concern and genuine possibility of an amazing future through creativity and education, we have done our job! The test scores are not the only measurement of our success as teachers!


  1. I really enjoyed reading your post! I totally agree with you about life before EDM! I didn't really know there were other options for education! Now that I do, I want my teaching to be different too! I also liked Dan Brown's video! He raised some very important points about how easy it is to gain access to knowledge these days. This is why teachers have to step up their game now! It's not enough to just lecture, you have to teach! Great post!

  2. Lisa, the first part of your post was very very good!
    From Dr. Strange: It seems that you did not understand that Tom Johnspn's post Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home was a metaphor in which pencils were computers. I will complete my post Metaphors: What They Are and Why We Use Them (A Learning Opportunity) later this week. After this post appears on the Class Blog you will be required to leave a comment. Watch the Class Blog for further instructions.