Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blog Post #8

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase1. Dr. Miller has a point. The limits and restrictions are largely ones that we put on ourselves. This applies not only to writing and teaching, but also to life as a whole. In his videos, Dr. Miller addresses the changes in writing and how printed text has slipped to the wayside. I've noticed this with my own alarm since, like Dr. Miller, I grew up around books and I loved to read the printed word, but also like Dr. Miller, I recognize that in order to make what we write applicable and visible to the world, we need to change our writing pedagogy.

He goes further to state that writing needs to be "fundamentally different" in the way it is presented to society. It needs to be beautiful, compelling, have auditory detail, and value in a world where things are always changing and nothing remains constant any longer. We already know that information is constantly updating. It's hard to ignore.

In order to use Dr. Miller's ideas of writing in the classroom, we have to be able to understand what we are teaching. Composing works using the web is slightly intimidating, in part because it isn't what we know. However, the novelty is appealing to me. I want to be one of those inspiring teachers that Dr. Miller calls upon. I desire to create a pedagogy for the new kind of writing. I just don't know how. I don't think that will stop me though. As long as people like Dr. Miller are talking about it and searching for ways to improve upon the old methods, I feel like there is hope for a writing revolution. Don't you?

2. After watching those two student produced videos (both starring Jamie Lynn), I gained a new appreciation for what can be done in this class. How? Well, I've become used to making "videos" of myself--my sentence, project 11, and the group presentation--but those were all videos that had prompts and I knew what needed to be done. It's easy to do something when the knowledge of what you should do is already given to you. It's something else entirely to use your creativity to create a video out of thin air or your own ideas.

This post kind of forced me to step out of the comfort zone of knowing and into my head for a while. I had to sit and think about what I would make a video about and who that video would be geared to benefit. What would I want someone else to make a video about that would help me? That question motivated me to come up with the idea of making a video that welcomed students to EDM310. It's not quite the same as the EDM310 for Dummies video. Instead, it is about the lab and showing new students that coming to lab and asking questions isn't scary. Initially, the lab was a scary place for me. I know. Jamie Lynn, Allie, Anthony, and Stephen aren't that intimidating, but the very idea of doing all of these new things with technology is enough to frighten the staunchest of students.

I'm not afraid to admit that I used to be one of those students who would rather suffer not knowing how to do something in silence rather than ask someone for help. I wasn't proud. I was just afraid of being judged for not knowing. Of course, now as any of the lab assistants will tell you, I'm not shy about asking questions anymore(Stephen Akins in particular since I bug him to death when I'm in the lab).

I want to be able to reassure those other students who may feel the same way I did at the beginning. My video will show them that they aren't alone and shouldn't be afraid. Plus, I want to enlist the aid of the lab assistants since they're all pretty funny. I like funny. And if I can get Jamie Lynn to do her Napoleon dance in the background, I think it would be a great way to break those students out of their shells.

Like the videos for Chipper and EDM310 for Dummies illustrated, you just have to get out there and start working towards your technological goal. It's easier when you have help and ask questions, but you won't get very far if you don't try and want to succeed.

3. Learn to Change, Change to Learn. The title of the video pretty much says it all. Students today are interacting on a global scale. In my own PLN, I talk to people from all across the globe. One of my best friends lives in Canada. We talk almost everyday. This wouldn't be possible without the use of Skype or Facebook or in a larger sense, the internet. The connections I've made help me to grow not only as an individual but as a learner.

That's what this video is all about. One of the educators made the point of classroom versus community. If we can somehow incorporate the developments in technology into the classrooms, the classrooms themselves will only become a physical receptacle of a community, and possibly a global one. If we allow students to use the technologies to expand their learning environments and reach, we will be allowing them to exercise their abilities. They will be synthesizing what they know and sharing it with others enabling their own growth and in turn learning from each other.

A classroom that acts more like a community sounds like exactly what we need. Doesn't it?

4.When time and money are concerned, I think anyone with half a mind would perk up and pay attention. I sure did, so you can all assume I have at least part of my faculties. Before I begin my assessment of the videos and my reactions accordingly, I would like to say this: I love the RSA Animation hand. Okay, I've said it. Time to move on.

The first video by Professor Zimbardo called The Secret Powers of Time hit pretty close to home with me. I'm the friend that people have and point to when I walk by them on my way to class--I'm a good friend, don't get me wrong--but I'm the friend who is always "too busy" to hang out or do anything fun. I'm constantly scurrying from task to task with a cup of coffee in my hand as I try to finish everything before it's due or exactly on time. Sometimes I wish there could be either more of me or more hours in a day so I can get everything done to my standards. Of course, my standards are an entirely different topic altogether. Often I'm so tired by the end of a day that I fall into bed only to realize that I didn't do anything but work all day long. What kind of life is that? I suppose Professor Zimbardo would describe me as one of those Future Planning types. I'm always thinking about what would happen and what I have to do to get to a certain point that I often miss out on the present.

I'm not the only one though, as I've noticed. As a society, we as Americans tend to work more than we relax. We have to, or at least believe we have to, in order to pay for our extravagant lifestyles or pay tuition for our three kids. Everything is expensive these days, and that ties in to the second video by David Pink, Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us, where Pink discusses the trend of motivation in the workplace. Money is stressful, and making money more so. We have to have enough of it to provide the basics, but we want more so we can afford the extras life has to offer. But in work, we all reach a certain point where the reward just isn't worth the effort. We hit the wall and fail to reach that higher pay grade.

Pink does a good job of explaining the facts using studies done in America at MIT and across the world in India. The results were the same. Higher reward does not mean better performance. If anything, I would think that higher rewards would place added pressure on people to do well and pressured people often do not perform at their best. Stress makes them less likely to succeed. Know what does work though? Fun. That's right, just like Dr. Pausch said. Having fun leads to great things. Sometimes all it takes to come up with a creative solution to something is to take a step to the side and relax. Without the added pressure of "I have to succeed!" people let their minds and inner creative children play without fear of failure. It is when that happens that revolutions take place that end up leading to success.

Taking both videos into consideration, I have come to the conclusion that classrooms need to learn to incorporate these two discoveries. I've already said before that I think we need to spice up learning with a little fun here and there, but how can we apply the monetary aspect? We can't pay kids to go to school (although it might work in some instances), because just paying them won't make them want to learn. They'll sit there and count down in their heads the hours, minutes, and seconds until pay day and all thoughts of learning will remain firmly in the teacher's head.

So what can we do? Well, I've never been a big fan of grades. "WHAT?!" I hear the great teachers in the sky yell as they turn over in their graves. "She can't be SERIOUS!" Oh but I am. Grades are so old-fashioned. Like Professor Zimbardo mentioned, kids these days are living digital lives and can't think on an analog, 2-D level anymore. Some try, but as soon as they're out of the classroom they're back on their phones or ticking away at a keyboard like I am right now. It's a fact. The world is changing. Grading needs to change as well. I think that a newly updated type of assessment is needed to motivate students to try to learn. It's not like we can just open their heads and dump the information in like Freire's banking method of education. And technology hasn't advanced quite far enough that we just plug ourselves into the network and download what we need and want. Although that would simplify things some and effectively get rid of teachers forever. Hopefully we won't go the route of The Matrix until after I've retired and lived a long and happy life as a teacher of young minds ripe for English knowledge.

Well, now that I've considerably startled you all, I will end this post/rant. And just realize that by no means are grades the ONLY way we can adjust the education system to fit the needs of this new breed of students. That was just the example that fell out of the sky into my open head.


  1. Bailey,

    I always love reading your blog because you present an engaging, informative argument. You keep me entertained and interested in your writing. You bring up a variety of good points, and I certainly agree with everything you have mentioned. I too believe that writing needs to be different, as well as all aspects of education, and I also desire to create a pedagogy for the new kind of writing. I am thinking we could work together on this since neither one of us know how. Who knows, we could change the world and bring about that writing revolution you speak of. I agree that a classroom should be more like a community in which everyone works together to help learn, research, grow, and spark creativity. I feel like in some ways the lab is achieving this, and I know that students could truly benefit from a community based environment. Students should feel encouraged and comfortable asking questions and seeking out answers through each other and the use of technology. There are so many things that should change within the education system, and the only way for that to happen is for people like you to take their dreams and make them a reality. You have such a great insight into what needs to be done and what needs to be diminished. I definitely think you should continue to think this way and pursue the improvements you see. By the way, I would LOVE to do the Napoleon Dynamite dance in the background of your movie. I am sorry I didn't comment on everything you mentioned in your post, but I definitely enjoyed reading it, and I am going to share it with Dr. Strange. Keep up the excellent work!

  2. Thanks Jamie Lynn! I'd also love for you to teach me that dance, haha!

  3. This exchange is what I hope will happen among all of our students. An excellent blog post Bailey and an excellent comment Jamie Lynn!

    Thank you both so much.

  4. I agree with what you said about Mr. Miller's videos. He is right about what he said in the videos. I enjoyed watching the student made videos, they are very creative. I agree with you on what you said about the video Learn to change, change to learn. In the video The secret powers of time, talks about people not having enough time in the day which is very true for many people. I believe people need to enjoy life more and not work non stop. The video Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us, was very interesting.