Teachers Helping Teachers

Along my search of blogs to follow, I came across Lisa Nielsen and her blog The Innovative Educator. Lisa’s sense of humor and grit really pulled me into her posts and I found her material very useful and well-written. Her “About Me” page shows that she is not afraid of people seeing who she really is, and she doesn’t try to sugarcoat anything. Lisa links her page back to many other blogs, which shows just how much networking benefits educators and students. Her most recent post, Why Innovative Educators Should Look Down upon ‘Look Up’, truly sets the town as to how her blog will read. This video by Gary Turk went viral recently, not just among education blogs, but Facebook and Twitter as well. The video’s message is that social media is making children feel lonely. Lisa shuts Gary down by saying that people like him “simply don’t appreciate the vast opportunities and connections afforded to social media savvy students.” My favorite point that Lisa makes is “The Gary Turks of the world don’t understand the value of having friends and followers whose minds may have connected even though they have not shared the same physical space. They don’t get that you don’t need to see someone face-to-face to admire and share ideas.” I think those words right there are exactly why technology and social media has succeeded in the ways it has. People are able to communicate and share ideas from all over the world-an opportunity that never existed in recent years past.

Lisa’s writing is so useful because it is clear and easy to read, all the while being extremely interesting. Although she uses mostly text, it is simply put and right to the point. She frequently creates posts titled “The hottest posts everyone’s reading” where she lists her most viewed posts all in one place. She not only posts her own opinions on various topics, but she posts useful tips and tutorials for educators to use in their own classrooms.

I know I have found Lisa’s blog inspiring and helpful and I think you will too! Make sure to check it out. I will definitely be bookmarking this blog and using it on my journey of becoming an educator myself.


Digital Media Reflection

After watching Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century, I was interested to learn about a few new programs and schools designed specifically for students with interests in technology. Quest to Learn, a digital school located in New York, sparked the most thoughts in my mind. I have never heard of a school for “digital kids.” At first I thought it was a little strange, since it’s not what I’m used to. However, as I learned more about it I realized the creators of the school have a good thing going. It makes sense that not all people learn the same way. There are some children who simply can’t succeed in the traditional classroom setting due to various factors. Quest to Learn is giving those children a chance to not only succeed, but to learn in ways that make sense to them. The teachers that were interviewed for the video seem to be very intelligent and are aware of the concerns some have about this type of schooling. They don’t seem to be oblivious to the potential downfalls to this unique way of learning. Instead they try to spin it around to get people to see the positive outcomes. A main concern is that children are becoming addicted to video games. However, a good comparison was made from the addiction of video games to athletics. An athlete who consistently works on their skill is looked at as passionate, but when it comes to video games, it looks like addiction. I agree that it’s not necessarily fair to say one is an addict versus passionate.

I see why a school like this would be helpful, and as long as they follow state guidelines I don’t see it hindering students learning. I think it brings up interesting learning patterns, like collaborative learning and catering towards the interests of the students. However, the main concern I thought of was what happens when these students are forced to enter a traditional classroom in either high school or college? Since Quest to Learn provides such a unique way of learning, I would imagine those students might be at a disadvantage when it comes to reentering the traditional classroom. Although the “traditional” classroom might be changing, I believe that for the most part, the structure will remain the same no matter how much technology influences the world.