I remember watching the Victor Fleming directed film Wizard of Oz (1939) every year on television. It became a tradition much like watching Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story have become tradition to watch around Christmas. Nevertheless, the Wizard of Oz is listed as one of America’s 10 Greatest Films (and number one in the Fantasy genre) by the American Film Institute. It not only is a memorable film for me, but also one that includes many cinematic techniques.
I have added a section to our District Web site that includes details about the Summer TECK Institute (cms.wws.k12.in.us/technology/teck-institute/). I ended up using the About section as the page that displays when you select the TECK Institute. Additionally, I created sections titled Structure, Learning Artifacts (teacher examples), Technology Learning Facilitators (what this summer group will transition into during the school year), and Literature Review (a few paragraphs from the full version posted on this blog).
I also have an assessment and reflection piece that I completed as the final component of this entire experience. I will likely incorporate some parts of it for the Web display, but I chose to “hide” that page for the time being. I wanted to share one bit from it though:
In terms of overall effectiveness and quality of the program, it is worth noting that 100% of the participants strongly agreed that their time was well spent and they plan to use or practice what they learned. This was reported by the participants on ALL THREE SURVEYS.
For me, that is what made the professional development program and my EDTEC 690 Independent Project worthwhile.
Review of Literature
Students today have grown up with technology as an integral part of their life with over 10,000 hours playing video games, over 200,000 emails and instant messages sent and received; over 10,000 hours talking on digital cell phones; over 20,000 hours watching TV, over 500,000 commercials seen all before college (Prensky, 2001, p.1). They crave interactivity, but many times their learning environments can’t or don’t compete with their living environments. Researchers suggest that the extended focus on interactive, digital entertainment (in combination with a preference for fast-paced television) has created a strong preference for these styles of interaction and presentation. As a result, they are concerned that students may regard conventional methods of “non-interactive, show-and-tell” instruction as extremely boring and possibly even incompatible with the needs of a brain prepared to respond to various stimuli and a “different” way of presenting information (Prensky, 2001).
Are educators, arguably agents of change within districts, dialed into this reality? Have they resigned themselves to complacency with certain approaches of learning? Are there alternative ways that might be more engaging for students? What about for teachers? Have students’ interests and creativity lost their relevance within instructional environments? If students and teachers lose sight of education as a means to be productive members of society, then our nation’s future could be in serious trouble.
This certainly is more than just a technology or education issue as the ramifications have a global and economic impact as well. That being said, though, a student’s education serves as his/her foundation for the future and that holds significance for the future economy and globalization. If applied to school settings in which students are only using computers infrequently (e.g., once a week), then students competing for jobs and progressing through life, in general, would be at a disadvantage and are not truly being prepared for “real world” environments. Yet, K-12 education still does not have a universal plan to ensure students school environments resemble future work environments. Lankshear & Knobel (2006) support this in their discussion of mindsets when they mention how the world is being changed by people imagining and exploring how using new technologies can make the world (more) different from how it presently is (second mindset), rather than using new technologies to do familiar things in more ˜technologized ways (first mindset) (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006, p. 34).
You may not know that I have an alter ego, but I do. For the past 13 years, I have owned and operated a DJ company (DJs Entertainment), even being fortunate enough to have DJed a few weddings for teachers in our district. I love to personalize events and especially make the receptions memorable and enjoyable for everyone. This normally starts with how couples and their bridal parties are introduced. Well, I had a friend pass along this video of a FANTASTIC wedding processional (complete with choreography and set to Chris Brown’s “Forever”):