Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blog Post 6

a silhouette of a student waking with laptop and ipod style

The Networked Student is a look into the future of our educational system; the 21st century student network is an ideal method for bringing education to new heights. With all the advancements of our modern world, the highly motivated, and creative, student can use the tools available to him/her to access a quality education that is continually slipping away from many young students. The world of pen and paper is killing the future of America’s youth.
If all these outdated methods are so detrimental to the future of America’s youth, and the highly motivated 21st century student has access to wealth of knowledge through the internet, why even have a teacher for a classroom that is so nontraditional? While the wealth of information available to students is a great asset to their education, they need guidance on how to navigate through all the information that they are inundated with on a daily basis.
One of the biggest pitfalls of the internet learning is the validity of information; so much of what are “popular” sources of information are in fact unreliable. Also students in the network of 21st century network rely on communication for the full benefit of their learning, and who can guide students in the proper decorum needed for such a social endeavor? Teachers can help students make the best use of such a monumental educational endeavor.

My PLE was a very enlightening look into how students can use technology to take control of
their education; this system puts the student at the center of their own classroom experience. The main difference between a PLE and a PLN, at least to an amateur observer like me, is the socialization. PLNs are predicated on the interacting among students to share and critique information. While the PLE is a great way to more effectively organize a student’s education, PLNs are what the fusion of education and technology should be; an actual experience that extends beyond the classroom and allows students to enhance their education in ways that could not be possible in the regular classroom.

While SMARTboards are a good first step toward integrating technology into the classroom, there are several arguments for and against their use in the classroom. Why SMARTboards are a dumb initiative argues that this technology is nothing unique, but rather an extension of a monitor with only minor bells and whistles. The really interesting statement made in this article regarding SMARTboards was made in reference to how administrators support such technology based simply on their status as technology rather than their effectiveness.

Bill Ferriter states in his article Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards, “Sure, my students thought it was nifty, but it didn’t make teaching my required curriculum any easier. I probably crafted two or three neat lessons with it, but there was nothing unique about those activities. I could have easily put together similar lessons using the computer stations I already have in my room and any number of free online tools.” This stament heartily supports why teachers see the interactive white board as ineffective, but it does possibly point to the root of such animosity from teachers. The above statement is all about said educator; rather than seeing the potential such technology had by interesting the over caffeinated students of the 21st century, he decided to abandon the initiative because it wasn’t making his lesson “easier”. This experience is great contrast to the one presented in Mr. P's SMART Board blog; here we have the account of a teacher implementing this technology into a primary school classroom. He document how his students specific interest in the technology spurred him on to continue to find ways to use it in his lessons.


  1. Hi Barry,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I totally agree with you on the issue of technology in our classrooms. I do not feel that it would take away the need for teachers because students do still need guidance when it comes to searching for accurate information and using all the tools technology has to offer. I also completely agree with you about our PLE and our PLN's. They are a nice little organized classroom. Going back to what we were originally talking about, students would need a teacher to help them learn to build and use their PLN or PLE. I also have mixed emotions about the SMARTboards. Maybe once we do this first project with the SMARTboard we can come up with our own opinion about them!

  2. Barry,

    You make some excellent points in your response to the networked student. I agree that the outdated methods that are still being implemented in the classroom are killing our students' education. I also believe that teachers are a necessity in helping guide the students and encourage them to research and connect with others using online resources. You said that "the world of pen and paper is killing the future of America's youth." I am sure you are simply referring to the outdated methods you mentioned, but I must admit that I am still a fan of pen and paper. While technology is extremely important, I still value some traditional things, and that is reading and writing.... and I don't mean always typing or reading from an iPad. I want to actually hold a pen and write or hold a paper book and read from it.