Alan November addresses how he feels classes ideally should be ran and instruction geared in his video “Who Owns the Learning? Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age.” His video (2014) asks essential questions such as “Who owns the learning,” “How many assignments do we give kids that you can just look up on the internet,” “How much do you appreciate other points of view,” and “What should assignments look like?” Essentially what November does in his analysis is question the current prevailing methods of teaching, and expresses his idea of a need for reform in education, particularly in terms of how class time is managed, and assignments developed. Rather than “transferring” knowledge to their students, he see a teacher’s role increasingly being about guiding students in their learning, therefore letting them “own” their own learning (November, 2014). Under this system, classes would be student-centered, and the focus would be on students doing the bulk of the work, and not the teacher.
One of Alan’s key focuses is that knowledge based learning is no longer necessary since there is so much access to information now. Instead, what is important is an understanding of how to navigate through that information to find what you need, and assignments that adhere to these skills. November, however, insists that effective research is something that most people lack, and therefore says a teacher’s role as more essential than every; especially “in the age of the internet,” competence in this area is a skill that is important (2014). To make his point, he gives an example of one class’s assignment and how it could be improved. He decided that rather than just teach about the “Iranian Hostage Crisis,” a teacher could require their students to research the topic and provide sources from different perspectives, in this case from Iranian sources; but first teachers would need to help them find out methods to do so, such as using “google operators” to gain easy access to Iranian sources (November, 2014). The teacher would be the guiding factor, not vessel of knowledge, and students would learn to use the tool of search engines thoroughly, not on a basic level as most people do. November’s ultimate goal is that education is connected globally, but first teaching and assignments would need a shift from tasks that can easily be answered by the internet, to ones in which internet literacy is learned and leads to completion of the task (2014).
I find this analysis to speak to my field of history highly. Most questions of history can be learned from a simple google search, but as November points out, you can easily require effective research of various perspective. Even from my experiences in college, I found most students do not know how to effectively research academic or scholarly sources, and I am no wizard at this myself. The video really spoke to me in that it promotes student-centered learning, and answered to real world skills. As it implies, we should focus on teaching students to ask “interesting questions,” not answer fact based questions (November, 2014).
November, A. (2014, May 5). Who Owns the Learning? Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/NOAIxIBeT90
For my latest video reflection I decided to view “Snapchat Murders Facebook” created by Casey Neistat, available on Youtube. In the video, Neistat takes the viewer through the process of dominant social media platforms, and how there has been a transition from one to the next. For instance, one of the initial platforms “was Friendster, then Myspace showed up, got rid of Friendster,” after that Facebook overtook Myspace, bought off Instagram before it would become the main platform, “and now there is Snapchat,” which Facebook unsuccessfully attempted to buy out (Neistat, 2014). One of the things that is highly featured in the video is many young individuals raving about Snapchat, particularly about creating and receiving stories through clips of pictures and videos.
Some reasons young people enjoy Snapchat so much is that you can recreate your experiences and “let your friends live your day with you,” and since each clip or picture “lasts 24 hours,” there is a sense of truth and “urgency” to your posts, inspiring more creation of content (Neistat, 2014). Essentially it is a constant mode of sharing and communication. A famous Snap chatter Jerome Jarre even gets many people to meet up with him at Union Square via request on Snapchat. When asked most the young individuals were saying that they prefer Snapchat over Facebook because Facebook is only “alright” and that “none of” their friends use it anymore; Snapchat on the other hand represents the “now,” not perfect pictures or videos, but pictures showing the most current updates (Neistat, 2014). It speaks to the new generation.
Considering all this, now putting on my teacher hat, this video begs the question, how do we as teachers adjust to what appeals to the youth? We know the Snapchat is the current format, so how do we incorporate it into our lessons and activities? Well one thing that is apparent in the video is that this application has great potential to reach the masses. Jerome, for example, had “142,000 views in 16 minutes” for his request to get people to meet him in Union Square (Neistat, 2014). So we know that messages can be widespread relatively quickly, thus perhaps we could utilize this technology as a way to build social awareness to an issue dependent on your field of subject. Another possibility would be some sort of project-based assignment.
The fact that Snapchat does represent the present got me thinking of how I could specifically incorporate it into History, my subject, yet the mere opposite of “now.” The best idea I came up with is to create a daily or weekly log of stories/re-enactments of a historical event, or at least something relating to history. Or perhaps students could just making one comprehensive story as a project individually or in a groups, sent directly to the teacher. The issue would be the time limit that the Snaps are stored, and thus we might need to find a way to archive a story, such as filming the Snapchat as it is played. These are just some preliminary ideas and possibilities, but the point is, Snapchat can be utilized, and would likely appeal to the students of today more than other formats.
Neistat, C. (2014 October 2). Snapchat Murders Facebook [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/kKSr6h5-fCU
The video “The Backwards Brain Bicycle – Smarter Every Day 133” by Smarter Every Day contributes great insight into how we as individuals learn. In it, Destin Sandlin, and engineer, is challenged by a wielder friend of his to ride a specialized bike in which the controls are inverted; to turn right you turn the handle bar left, and vice versa. Destin found that it was not just him, but others as well. Not one person he came across could instinctually ride the bike, thus he went on a mission to learn. After eight months it finally worked for him, though it took his young son only two weeks. When he attempted to go back to a normal bicycle it took him approximately twenty minutes to re-learn how to ride it.
After this lengthy and interesting experiment, Destin discovered several things that he in turn shares with his viewers. For starters, the experiment confirmed to him through his son that indeed children’s brains are more malleable; that though he had “knowledge” of how to ride a bike, it did not necessarily mean he had “understanding” of all the mechanisms; and finally that people always interpret “the world with a bias, whether you think you are or not” (Smarter Every Day, 2015). His analysis was well thought out and enlightening, for it displays that our abilities to learn and approach a situation are partially fixed, and influenced by our past experiences. As Destin puts it, “Once you have a rigid way of thinking in your head, sometimes you cannot change that, even if you want to “(Smarter Every Day, 2015). This of course begs the question, does this only apply to mechanical functions of your brain, or perhaps ideological and intuitive aspects as well? Though I cannot answer that question I can elaborate on the power of Destin’s work with Smarter Every Day.
What this video directly did for me was, it got me thinking how bias is my perspective, how does my brain function, and how adaptable is my brain in function and thoughts. Yet what this video did indirectly for me, was display that there is so much fun, intriguing, and informative information, and instruction on the Web for me. This is one of many educational videos provided by Smarter Every Day, so why not utilize such resources. This video lets me know as a teacher that I can look to such Youtube pages, and pull from them to perhaps teach my students through some instructional videos to give them the same direct benefit I received from them. Assuming your classroom has access to the internet and such websites, you can utilize these resources too. Smarter Every Day has many videos that can similarly give insight to things as this video did to our brain functionality, thus teachers should look to these different modes of instruction every once in a while as it fits to your subject or purpose of instruction.
Smarter Every Day. (2015, April 2). The Backwards Brain Bicycle – Smarter Every Day 133 [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/MFzDaBzBlL0
My name is Michael Zora. I graduated from Cal State San Marcos with a degree in History with Single Subject Preparation in Social Science. I am now working on obtaining my teacher credential, also from Cal State San Marcos