The following are a Prezi I’ll be using on Saturday, March 26th, when I present the keynote address at the TCEA Areas 10 and 11 annual conference and a Google document with additional resources. The theme of this year’s conference is “Going Global”. I’ll be discussing the importance of fostering global awareness in our students and sharing online resources and tips for teachers to use in the curriculum. The Google document is editable, and I would welcome additional resources to be added.
Despite some significant changes to the video, the main idea remains the same: Our world is nothing like the world many of us grew up in, the nature of information has evolved, and the tools and resources we rely on today won’t likely be around in just a few years. So, how do we as educators keep up and remain relevant?
You are, first of all, the type of caring parent every child needs and deserves. You want what is best for your son or daughter’s healthy growth and bright and happy future. You wish to protect them from as much of the harmful, ugly badness that permeates so much of the world. Thank you for loving your child so much–such attitudes produce strong, successful students!
Recently, you discovered that your child’s school has the Internet, and even more shocking, you found that anyone could get into YouTube through a simple search. You also quickly tested the site and found that objectionable videos could be accessed by merely typing in the right search term. Justifiably, you are very concerned about this scenario. You wonder how a school can allow such potential harm to befall its students. You even begin to consider what steps might be taken to remove this horrible threat. Should other parents be recruited and organized?
Before you go farther in your commendable zealousness to protect your child, please consider several points in favor of keeping such a frightening site unblocked.
Educational content. YouTube has thousands upon thousands of outstanding educational clips and full-length videos, from such reputable producers as NASA, National Geographic, and the BBC. It is an excellent resource for today’s student to find videos that supplement written materials in their research. Taking this to an even loftier perch, YouTube EDU now offers actual videos of courses being taught at the biggest and best universities on the planet. You’re child can begin learning from Ivy League teachers while in elementary school!
Global connections. YouTube allows users to create personal accounts and channels. A teacher might use such a channel, for instance, to share student videos with a world-wide, authentic audience. A viewer in China might be provoked to leave a comment or ask a question, leading to real dialogue between students on opposite sides of the earth. It happens everyday!
Creativity. YouTube offers students a place to become inspired and motivated to express their own creativity. It also offers a unique and very relevant platform for putting their creativity on display. Creativity, it is fair to say, is a skillset that receives far too little attention in classes today, yet is vital to student success and opportunity beyond the classroom.
Digital wisdom. Filters, vigilant teachers, and monitoring software work wonderfully in our district to create an atmosphere that discourages or even prevents students from getting into “trouble” while using the Internet. These tools are worthless, however, when the student is on his own. At home, at the library, at a friends house…these are the places where research shows a student is far more likely to experience harmful or inappropriate content on the Internet. By teaching responsible use and allowing enough freedom for students to demonstrate integrity while online, schools become partners in bringing up young people who will use the Web safely and respond appropriately when danger appears. Research also has demonstrated the value of such an approach over tightly locking down the Internet filter.
Most of all, please remember that we love and care for your child, too. Our goals are similar to your own, and we wish nothing more than to see your young man or woman grow up happy, healthy, and safely. We also wish for them to be successfully able to cope with the evolving, increasingly digital stream of information and communication that they will be faced with, and we believe being proactively educational is preferred to simply locking the gates to keep the wolves out. Part of being a citizen in this century is knowing how to utilize its vast resources ethically and responsibly, and we wish to be a partner in assuring that.
Until August 2nd, you can obtain a free download of the audiobook for Thomas Friedman’s best-seller The World Is Flat at his official site. If you haven’t read or listened to the book before, it is an interesting and influential piece on the changes that have occurred in how we live and work, and the changes likely in the future. The giveaway is a promotion to draw attention to Friedman’s new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded.
Thanks to John Pederson, again, for leading me to another great video (and to Scott McLeod for leading John to it!). This simple, black-and-white video paints a vivid, colorful portrait of the changing of society that is happening as a result of evolving technologies.
A couple of questions came to mind when viewing the video.
Has the read/write web really produced a dramatic shift in societal values from getting rich to “socializing and getting recognition?” What will be the economic system that our children will enter, when Web 2.0 is so focused on sharing and openness?
The video asserts that the new web is good for “Equality because knowledge can be set free to help people who need it but cannot pay.” While true, how will they utilize this knowledge without equitable access? In other words, what will we as a society do to help provide the tools of access required to get to all of these wonderful resources?