Grandma Knows Best! (Week 5 Reading Reflection and Scholarship)

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This week’s course reading was Jenkins (2008) Afterword: Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices. The reading discusses using resources such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace (do people really still use Myspace?), YouTube and Wikipedia. There is the one argument that it is just to much of a distraction while others believe it is a pivotal resource. On this note, as a teacher that has to travel from one school to another and use other teacher’s computers for presentations I cannot tell you how unfortunate it is to be blocked from YouTube! There are alternatives such as TeacherTube but that resource doesn’t always pan out. To provide an example, I teach 3D modeling classes to students and like to show them videos where they can see 3D printers in action but TeacherTube has scarcely any videos at all. It is frustrating when I know there are so many amazing videos on YouTube that are purely educational and fascinating! Ultimately, I have ended up turning my cellphone into a mobile hotspot and just using my personal laptop to show the videos.

In the reading, the author discusses the importance of teachers getting their hands dirty and working with the platforms, tools and processes that are fundamental to these new types of cultural production and circulation. I couldn’t agree more! I really feel that people are scared of what they don’t understand and by having more knowledge of how the different resources are used and can work I think it would make educators less nervous about introducing technology into the classroom and instead dare I say I think more teachers would be excited about the idea?

When pondering about what word or words got me thinking further the only one I can really think of is “telepics” because it is something that I used to do occasionally but never realized that there was actually a term for it. Apparently “telepics” are photos taken of something that is showing on a television. I remember as a kid taking photos with myself next to various famous people on the television just because. After this week’s readings I am more curious about how technology will continue to make an appearance in every way. In regards to digital story telling I think we will continue to see a steady rise in material being shown in that way. For example, how much longer are teachers going to continue to teach by beginning their lesson explaining to students what they need to be working on and how. This got me thinking about middle and high school teachers specifically because often times teachers are teaching the same lesson over and over to different classes throughout the day. Why not make that beginning portion of a class a fascinating digital story that could then be shown throughout the day. Think about all of the grading that could be done with the saved amount of time!

With all of this talk about using new and different resources to teach children I started to think more about how that applies to my daughter who is currently too young to start elementary school yet. I wanted to search out a digital story or some sort of technology that focused on learning. I finally decided to focus on finding some educational apps that are geared towards learning for toddlers. I found this website that lists the top best apps for kids. After looking over the various options I decided to go with “Grandma’s  Preschool/ Wonderful Interactive Educational App for Children”. My daughter is starting preschool in the fall so this felt like a perfect fit. I downloaded the app and let my daughter give it a try. She was hesitant at first because she wanted to play one of the other educational apps already on my iPad that she sometimes plays but she finally decided to give it a try. Her hesitance reminded me of the reading this week and being afraid to try new things. It took her a bit to learn how to navigate through everything but after a few minutes she seemed to get the hang of it. Trying out the app got my thinking more about where the future of education is headed with technology increasing so rapidly.

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