Saturday, July 9, 2016

Week 5 Reading Response

Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices by Henry Jenkins

The Afterword provided by Jenkins speaks very highly of creating an environment in education more in line with the participatory culture students are encountering online. One of the main issues public education is dealing with is the Transmission model of pedagogy that has stagnated our educational system. With Transmission the teacher is the keeper of all knowledge and "transmits" that knowledge to the students. Generative pedagogy allows for students to be more engaged in their education but ideally we should aim for a Transformative model of education that allows for students not only to generate their own understanding of the material but actually transform it into something meaningful to them and their lives. Creating knowledge that will inspire life long learning not just retaining information long enough to pace a test or exam.

Allowing for students to become teachers in the classroom requires them to "spell out their core assumptions" as they "pass along what they've learned to newcomers." This can be especially helpful to students who haven't spent a lot of time reflecting on how they have developed their craft by making them think of the sequencing and vocabulary needed to pass this knowledge along. Have you ever asked someone to show you how to do something only to have them take over because they have to do it themselves? They lack the communication necessary to explain the steps to you.

This article also points out the way in which schools are failing to provide this type of environment to their students, "everyone is expected to do (and be good at) the same things" but also, and possibly most important, that dispite the shift in mechanisms "the hierarchical and pre-structered relationship between teachers and learners" remains the same as before. In order to create a participatory environment teachers and administrators must be willing to give up control and their role as the guardians of knowledge.

A New Generation of Goals for Technology Education by John M. Ritz

"Goals provide direction so content can be delivered for long-term impact to students who study the subject" Ritz lays out a wonderful set of objectives for goals we need to keep in consideration as we start to intergrate technology into school curriculums. Tracing the aims and goals of education back to 1918 Ritz takes us step by step through the changing beliefs that have shaped our current educational system and calls for a consideration of what we want technology to teach and be used for as we plan what and how we want students to develop this 21st century skill.

One of the things I found striking between the two articles was that Ritz points to how we are consumers of education and Jenkins brilliantly makes a point there is a real danger is "seeing students as consumers rather than participants within the educational process. I particulary like this quote because often the problem educators see in using more technology in class is that it is a distraction or entertainment, and in fact American attitudes towards social media and the Internet is as a consumer. When we change the focus from being able to watch movies or play games to creating movies and games we are encouraging some of those self-reliance and self-expression ideals that are so important to our culture.

We don't want students to have a seperate identity from school and their future roles as citizens. We want them to be able to practice now those skills of discovery and curiousity that will help them beyond school as they continue to make discoveries and practice life long learning.

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