MANY things are talked about throughout the third chapter of Cathy N. Davidson’s book Now You See It. Davidson explains that her and her fellow colleges decided to conduct an experiment to see if the students could make educational apps for the iPod. This turned out to be a big topic of controversy among the educational community, because it was seen as a negative thing that they were giving students iPods. They stated that iPods are used to listen to music, not to help with education; They implied that it, along with all other technology is making our nation less intelligent: “Usually, if education is on the cover, it’s another grim report on how we are falling behind in the global brain race. … Duke was leading the youth astray, tugging them down the slippery slope to perdition by thin, white vinyl iPod chords.” They assumed that because it is an iPod, a piece of modern technology usually used for entertainment, it cannot be used for education and sets education back. This point of view reminded me of Molly Worthen’s feelings towards modern technology.
In Worthen’s article “Lecture Me. Really.” She expresses her dislike of modern technology. In her defense of the benefits of lectures she states that “lecture courses as an exercise in mindfulness and attention building, a mental workout that counteracts the junk food of nonstop social media.” Along with stating that she bans the use of laptops in her class because she sees them as a distraction. Both Worthen and the writers for the Newsweeks article seem to view technology as a negative thing when it comes to learning; It is a distraction, it is used for entertainment, lets stick to the traditional way of teaching. Davidson proves these beliefs wrong with the results of her experiment.
Davidson and her colleges decided to use a method called crowdsourcing, that had never been used before, in their experiment. They allowed all students in their school with classes that required the use of an iPod to take part in the experiment, no matter what grade they were. “We wondered what these astonishing young overachievers would do if given the chance not to follow the rules but to make them.” The results from the experiment were wonderful. The students worked with one another, along with their professors, to create way more apps than anyone thought possible. Not only did the students use the iPods for educational purposes, but they exceeded expectations without having been given any guidelines.
This very out of the box method of teaching was used to test not only its effectiveness, but to learn how the technological age thinks, and it was extremely successful. This reminds me of a factual research article written by many scholars about the effectiveness of lectures versus active learning. After reading the abstract I learned that they conducted an experiment to see which method was more effective, lectures or active learning, and active learning turned out to be more effective than lectures; Students were more likely to retain information and pass their class when active learning was used. This is because active learning helps the majority of students by using different teaching methods, thus teaching the students who have different ways of learning. “Breaking up lectures with more involved instructional methods isn’t necessarily giving students what they want. But sometimes, it is giving the students what they need.” This was said by Rebecca Shuman in her response article to Worthen’s article about lectures.
Schuman’s overall argument supporting active learning is supported by the student written article “A Lecture From the Lectured”. In that article the students express their struggles and dislikes of the lecture, along with how not all of them dislike lectures. The students prefer active learning because it is active. They are involved; It is more personal so they can attach the material instead of just learning it for a test. Davidson’s test did just that. It got the students very involved and invested in their work while making it easily accessible for all others so that the information can be shared. Students then used their educational apps to record their lectures and listen to them whenever they liked, making their lectures a lot more active. Everything comes back around full circle.
Davidson calls for the improvement/betterment of our education. To involve the internet and technology in our teaching methods, because as she learned it works well. “Many students said it was the best class they’d had in four years of college. But it wasn’t just a class. It was a different way of seeing.” The use of technology in her class had such a strong, positive effect on her students. She made her students think, question, truly wonder, and she did it by teaching with an active, unique method. She gave them freedom to explore, took advantage of todays modern technology, and it helped the students learning immensely. This point was made clear by the organization of Davidson’s chapter and her writing style.
The chapter was set up as a clear story with information input as support and explanations. She uses MANY dates, names, and titles of writings and websites to support her view/argument. The chapter is then written with personal pronouns so it feels more real to the reader, more personal. These elements balance each other out as to not overwhelm the reader with information and giving them a real perspective/person to care about. I agree with Davidson; Our education system needs to be improved/modernized as to allow modern minds to blossom.
Do you agree or disagree with Davidson’s point of view? Why or why not?
If given the opportunity, would you take Davidson’s class, or one exactly like it? Why or why not?