Analysis: Project Classroom Makeover


In the third chapter of the book “Now You See It”, Cathy N. Davidson suggests an innovative education system, providing an emphasis in today’s digital era, and claiming that the existing education system needs to be renewed according to the new expectations of the digital era.

Davidson states that in the last half century, many changes have occurred in the technology field; however, classrooms and educational methods have remained fairly steady for the past years and in consequence students are not being prepared for the future advances of society. That being said, it is vital to improve and to give a change to the current educational methods, adjusting them to the existing demands of the era that we are living and taking advantage of the resources that it provides.

First of all, Davidson suggests that education needs to implement crowdsourcing as a learning method; diversity is a very particular characteristic of our society and teachers should take advantage of those different ways of thinking to allow students join forces to find solutions on different problems, share knowledge and explore new ways to research things; parting from the premise that it doesn’t matter how brilliant a person could be, collective group is always smarter than one person separately.

Davidson also suggests that the traditional testing standard and state-controlled educational parameters should be avoided and instead classrooms should be adapted to each student’s individual talents; the skills of every student differ from one to the other, strengths and weaknesses are not the same for everyone; every student is different. As a result, Davidson states that there is no way to measure knowledge in a standardized manner and this practice needs to change in order to decrease the amount of students labeled as failures, just because their strengths and abilities are outside of what tests usually measure.

Davidson emphasizes that teachers need to make use of the current innovations to attract student’s attention in class. In relation to this, teachers should incorporate student-driven lessons, group work and strategy games to their lessons in order to conduct classes in a more interesting, funny and interactive way, to work towards reaching a goal. Davidson also recommends that teachers should create intellectual challenges and competitions as a method of learning, to develop student brains.

Additionally, teachers need to learn to unlearn; to unlearn the rigid and obsolete education method and work towards a new learning revolution adjusted to the digital era, to achieve a better learning method and provide eager students the tools to survive in today’s and future eras.

To finalize this analysis, I want to point out the organization that Davidson employed to develop her argument. It’s fascinating the way in which the writer begins the chapter by describing the success of the “iPod experiment” at Duke College to prove her thesis. Then, she presents the different current scenarios of educational systems contrasted to the past educational systems to demonstrate the slow improvement on education in the last years, and provides comparison with other countries and their statistical evidences that validates how we are failing in education. The writer also show examples of what is expected in classrooms in the digital era, what activities schools need to do in order to improve and change the present educational system according to the needs of era we are living, and a description of a successful environment in school. To end the chapter, Davidson displays the “project classroom makeover”, setting up a classroom according to today’s expectations and incorporating technology practice as fundamental to improve paper-based requirements in school.

If you had the opportunity to work on the Project Classroom Makeover, what would you suggest to improve education?

Do you agree that standardized testing for all students should be avoided? Why?

5 thoughts on “Analysis: Project Classroom Makeover”

  1. There are an awful lot of things in this world that are really nice in theory, but hard, if not impossible, to pull off in reality. One of these things, I think, are getting rid of the standardized test. There are probably infinitely better ways to teach, and grade a class than through 50 multiple choice questions, but most other alternatives are not realistic. There must be some sort of set scale or key that students are judged and graded on in order for our society to progress, and there is no other method a professor can teach and grade United States history in a class of 150 in a lecture hall in a state college. There is an obvious need for change but the transition to something better will be a long one indeed.

  2. Hey Celina, I too found this chapter (and probably the rest of this book) to be very important. If I had a chance to work on this project, I would strive to make classes smaller. I went to an uncommonly small middle and highschool in which I was never in a classroom with more than 30 people. This helped me learn immensely being able to truly get to know my teacher and vice-versa throughout semesters. It helped me be engaged, get to know their teaching style, and also helped them to learn my learning style. This all made lessons more retainable and therefore more worth everybody’s while. Standardized testing is only semi-effective at best. Everybody is uniquely talented, and only a small percentage are prepared to shine on standardized testing. These forms of tests are completely useless, but they should be taken more with a grain of salt, and not used as a definitive guide to anybody’s intelligence.

  3. Hi Celina , I agree with Cathy Davidson’s explanation of how teachers should put more efforts into making the lesson more exciting for the kids to learn cause children will probably remember everything the teacher is explaining only if they are interested in the discussion. If they are not interested they probably won’t remember a thing.
    Regarding standardized testing I don’t think that one test should justify the child’s full academic year . It’s a test that everyone takes but every student is different and what happens if a child is nervous and isn’t actually concentrating that day or they’re sick if he or she gets a low score does that mean they didn’t know it or that they have a learning disability. I think a child should get a final exam from the teacher about what they learned in class and that combined with other exams,class work, and projects and then the teacher should have an accurate description of what the grade should be.
    If I had the opportunity to work on a Project Classroom Makeover I would probably get laptops for the elementary schools all over the city from pre-k to 5th grade and teach them how to use a computer because not every family has a computer at home and they would learn so much that by the time they were in middle school they would be more advanced.

  4. Hey Celina! Like you, I was captured by Cathy Davidson’s anecdote in her introduction. The success of the iPod as an academic contributor provided readers with evidence that Project Classroom Makeover is indeed possible. Aside from the anecdote, I enjoy that you emphasized the way she’s ultimately telling educational systems and/or professors that Project Classroom Makeover gives students the opportunity to evolve with technology. As technology has benefitted society greatly, Davidson suggests allowing technology to do much more than it already has: “teachers need to learn to unlearn; to unlearn the rigid and obsolete education method and work towards a new learning revolution adjusted to the digital era, to achieve a better learning method and provide eager students the tools to survive in today’s and future eras.”

  5. Hey Celina, nice job on the blog! I think that for a student to be willing to learn they have to enjoy or at least have interest. Like Davidson, I agree that teachers need to implement different learning methods so that every student has the ability to engage in class. Sharing opinions and thoughts lead to interesting arguments and allow the class to be more interactive. Competitions challenge students to think and express their perspective. This defines a student. Standardized testing doesn’t. Standardized testing comes in the way of a students ability. It tests a students potential on paper and not in actual life.

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