I believe that media is the cornerstone to the modern 21st century education system. While I am in a low technology private military school, I have implemented online lectures, web quests, Power Points, and App based reward systems to engage a technologically advanced student body. I have also acquired regional and international relationships by the use of Skype and Google Hangouts to invite global educators and professionals to speak to the Cadets. By focusing on a media based teaching style, not only do students relate more and gain technological awareness, but I am also proud to have transformed a rural class into a global community of education.
Salman Khan, inventor of the widely popular Khan Academy, had a mission to use videos to reinvent education. The mission of this course was to accomplish a very similar task- to examine the impact and influence of traditional and emerging media and technology; and to focus on how we as teachers conceptualize media and technology and how we integrate it into our teaching and into our classrooms in thoughtful and useful ways. Throughout this course, we were introduced to technological teaching sites such as WordPress, TED-Ed, Google Docs, and Blend Space. Our final project was to submit an e-portfolio with a compilation of all our assignments that is meant to showcase our work from the beginning of the summer session until the end of the five weeks.
Those of us that were wary to incorporate media and technology into our classrooms at all or those of us that were wary to use it in new and innovative ways than we have in the past, were given a good point of reference in our first assigned readings during week 2. In her article 5 Ways to Incorporate TED Talks into Learning (Levy, 2014), author Leah Levy assures readers that “TED talks were made for the classroom” because “after all- spreading ideas is fundamental to what education is all about.” (Levy, 2014). This article gives the reader five ways that educators can use TED talks in their classroom most effectively: (1) using TED talks to spark conversations, (2) learning to love the TED-Ed platform, (3) making your own TED-Ed club, (4) having students give subject-specific TED talks, and (5) creating a TED talks unit. Throughout her article, Levy argues for why TED talks give students such “a great base for so many different kinds of educational experiences”. (Levy, 2014) No matter the format you use them in or the purpose you use them for, Levy reassures you that without a doubt, “TED talks make a creative, exciting, and rewarding teaching lens”. (Levy, 2014) After reading this article, those of us that still needed more specific direction and examples on how to specifically integrate this new type of media in our classrooms could turn to a second resource for support, Stephanie Lo’s TED-Ed blog, “A guide for using TED-Ed in your chemistry classroom”. (Lo, 2013) In this blog, a current chemistry teacher and former biology teacher named Pamela Yang, from Amador Valley High School in California, shares her tips for chemistry and biology teachers on how to use a TED-Ed series (ex. the TED-Ed chemistry series “Actions and Reactions”) in a high school chemistry classroom. Throughout this blog, Ms. Yang goes through each video and cites how she would specifically use each one in her teaching with the learners in her classroom. This would give other educators who are struggling with the concept of integrating TED-Ed into their classrooms a great-world example of how another educator is utilizing it effectively in a classroom of her own.
Week three, after we had a chance to practice utilizing multiple media and technology tools (WordPress, Google docs, TED-Ed, Blendspace), we delved deeper into the concepts of utilizing media and technology in education and why 21st century integration is so important for students. A “hot topic” during this week was the concept of a “flipped classroom”. In a flipped classroom, students are asked to view lectures at home, and are then asked to participate in more hands-on learning activities in class, thus maximizing the level of student interactions with each other. In Emily McManus’ blog TED-Ed blog “Flip this lesson! A new way to teach with video from TED-Ed” (McManus, 2012), we learned that now “educators can use, tweak, or completely redo any video lesson featured on TED-Ed” or they can “create lessons from scratch based on a TED talk or any video from You Tube” (McManus, 2012). The teacher simply plugs the video in, then starts writing their own questions, comments and quizzes. The link is then saved as a private link to later be shared with students. Using the link, teachers can even see who’s completed the link and track individual student progress. This gives teachers another great tool in their technology tool belt to use when it comes to using technology and classroom integration to help students succeed. This same week we also read Grace Hood’s NPR article More Teachers ‘Flipping’ The School Day Upside Down (Hood, 2012). Hood’s article describes the “21st century classroom: a world where students watch lectures at home- and do homework at school” (Hood, 2012). One such 21st century classroom is the classroom of Colorado chemistry teacher, Jennifer Goodnight, who has been flipping her class for the past two years, and as a result, has seen an increase in student test scores. For her, it’s about “truly meeting them where they’re at, and realizing that the 21st century is different” (Hood, 2012). In Salman Khan’s TED talk, “Let’s use video to reinvent education”, Khan talks about how he got started with the program he has today by initially making math tutoring videos for his cousins whom he did not live close to. When he posted them online to help other children and they became an instant success, the start of Khan Academy was born. Now, teachers are using videos from Khan Academy to flip their classrooms- they assign his videos to watch as homework, and what used to be homework, they now assign as classwork. But what Khan says next is what strikes educators to the very core of their being, especially those educators hungry to make a change, eager to find out how media and technology really can positively impact the lives of their students. It happens at around 6:28-6:30 in the video. Khan states,”…when those teachers are doing that, there’s the obvious benefit- the benefit that now their students can enjoy the videos in the way that my cousins did, they can pause, repeat at their own pace, at their own time. But the more interesting thing- and this is the unintuitive thing when you talk about technology in the classroom- by removing the one-size fits all lecture from the classroom, and letting students have a self-paced lecture at home, then when you go to the classroom, letting them do the work, having the teacher walk around, having the peers actually be able to interact with each other, these teachers have used technology to humanize the classroom. They took a fundamentally dehumanizing experience- 30 kids with their fingers on their lips, not allowed to interact with each other. A teacher, no matter how good, has to give this one-size-fits-all lecture to 30 students- blank faces, slightly antagonistic- and now it’s a human experience, now they’re actually interacting with each other.” (Salman Khan: Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education, 2011)
Therefore, this summer session, I have learned new tools to help me humanize my classroom- turn it into a place where students interact with each other and where I can guide them to make meaningful connections and discoveries that allow them to be lifelong thinkers and learners.
Hood, G. (2012). More Teachers ‘Flipping’ The School Day Upside Down. NPR.
Levy, L. (2014). 5 Ways to Incorporate TED Talks into Learning. Edudemic.
Lo, S. (2013, December 12). TED-Ed Blog. Retrieved July 4, 2016, from TED-Ed: http://blog.ed.ted.com/2013/12/12/a-guide-for-using-ted-ed-in-your-chemistry-classroom/
McManus, E. (2012, April 25). TED-Ed Blog. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from TED-Ed: http://blog.ted.com/flip-it-a-new-way-to-teach-with-video-from-ted-ed/
Salman Khan: Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education (2011). [Motion Picture].