Wednesday, January 22, 2014

a fresh perspective

Ok, I'm going to play off of Lisa's post, I can't think right now. My heart is broken, we had to put Daisy dog down, she was my ptsd savior and friend and I'll never find another lab like her.  My oldest granddaughter wrote this and sums up the situation better than anyone. They are now home schooled and Tala, who wrote this went from not reading anything to reading everything and writes all the time.
We are naturally curious.

We want to know things from the moment we are born.

When we are young we ask questions. Seeking information is an instinctive human trait.

We do not hate learning.

The public school system pulls the curiosity from you. It makes you anxious about something we naturally love. It makes you cry. Kids should never come home from school and scream into pillows because of how stressed they are under such conditions.

Extreme memorization is not innovative education.

When I try to post a long paragraph on some network online, explaining something interesting, or something that proves a point, or helps people see from different perspectives, a lot of us would scroll past it upon reading the first sentence.

It is not because we are lazy. It is never true ignorance.

It is exhaustion.

Learning should not exhaust us. We shouldn't feel dread or guilt or depression when we hear a science question. We should feel stimulation. We should feel our eyes opening, our minds broadening.

I'm tired of pretending to be tired around my friends in public school. Because I'm scared to be imaginative or curious around them. I feel like when they are home they can finally shut down and I am painfully waking them up. I don't dumb myself down. They aren't dumb, they are tired.

When I got taken out of school, slowly my interest in the world and everything in it, on it, around it, and billions of miles away from it increased. I could feel that blissful child-like questionable aura coming back to me.

But is it really childlike? Perhaps, we should call it human-like.

You don't hate learning.

Because the universe and everything in it is endlessly complex. Even the the smallest things can be interesting to a huge extent, and maybe if the very idea of education didn't have a negitive effect on us then we would want to know about it all.

Except math.
F*=* math.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Is YouTube the Future of our Educational System?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m Lisa Orchard the author of the best-selling Super Spies series. I’m here today to talk about modern technology and our educational system. I’ve recently learned about a man named Salman Kahn. 

He’s a former hedge fund manager turned YouTube Teacher. He records lectures and posts them on the web and his videos are by far the most viewed educational videos on the web. In fact, he’s Bill Gates' favorite teacher.  

He posts lessons on math and science as well as lessons on a range of other subjects. His playlist of approximately one thousand six hundred and thirty tutorials are viewed on an average of seventy thousand times a day. I found this information in an article from Fortune’s Magazine. The author is David A. Kaplan and it’s titled, Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher. He does all of this for free. He wants to offer the first free world class virtual school.

I find this incredibly fascinating and it makes me wonder what will happen to our educational system if this type of thing takes off. Instead of my kids heading to school every day, are they going to stay home and just log on to the computer?

If that were to happen, I wonder if all the teachers who’ll no longer be in the classroom will be in front of a camera posting their lectures on YouTube as well.

I see some great things that online teaching can accomplish. It will level the playing field between the socio-economic classes. What that means is that people who can’t afford to send their kids to college won’t have to worry. They can log onto the computer and see the same lecture as someone who can afford a Harvard education. I think that’s great.

However, I see some negatives as well. The most obvious one is what will happen to all the teachers who’ll lose their jobs. My guess is if we do move to this type of teaching. Many teachers will create their own videos and put a price tag on them, but that’s just my guess.

The other big negative I see is the effect it will have on our kids. School does so much more than teach our children to read and write. It also teaches them social skills. This is important to their development. However, in the future, if all communication is done over the computer, maybe social skills won’t be so important. Who knows?

Some critics of this type of school question the validity of any tutorial that doesn’t test performance. How will we know if our kids are really learning if there’s no test to take?
These are all valid concerns. I’d love to read your thoughts on the subject. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by!

****I’d like to thank Fortune Magazine for providing some of the information in this article.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Getting Unplugged: Challenge for 2014

Image credit: genialbaron / 123RF Stock Photo
by Patricia Kiyono

            During the past few weeks, we've had some nasty weather that has left many of us without power, sometimes for extended periods of time. The first time it happened, I was in the middle of writing a blog post, and was somewhat annoyed that I wasn't able to finish it. When the outage lasted for more than a few minutes, I decided to go to sleep, because there wasn't much else I could do in the dark. Fortunately, the power went back on in a little over an hour, and the sound of all the lights clicking back on awakened me from my nap. I managed to finish everything I needed to do that night, but my sleep schedule was messed up for the next several days.
            I wonder how I would manage for extended times without all these modern conveniences. I do my writing on a laptop or on my ipad, and I keep a lot of information stored on my phone. Doing without these devices would take quite an adjustment on my part. I'm so used to having my day extend halfway through the night because I can simply turn on the lights and keep going when the sun goes down. I probably get far less sleep than is recommended. Still, I probably get far less writing done than authors in times gone by, who had to not only work with sunlight and candle light and write everything out by hand. There was no delete button to take the wrong words off the page and replace them with better ones. There was no email or facebook with which to brainstorm character and plot problems with people who were not within shouting distance. There was no internet on which to do research. Yet great epics were written, books we enjoy to this day.
            I'm not advocating that we shun our devices. But I think I need to decrease my dependence on them. I need to spend time reading, or just talking with my neighbors and members of my family. Since I want the people in my books to seem real, it seems logical for me to know what real people talk about. So my promise to myself in 2014: spend more time in the real world!

            What's your promise to yourself?