This classroom NEEDS a makeover

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?

8 thoughts on “This classroom NEEDS a makeover”

  1. ” Our education system needs to be improved/modernized as to allow modern minds to blossom.” This was my favorite line from what your blog. I agree with you that Davidson has the right ideas. She most definitely calls for the improvement of education. The use of iPods in a college class changes the whole perspective on a class. It’s way better than sitting in a classroom forcing ourselves to listen to lectures as Worthen would like us to do. I also think that you supported Davidson throughout your blog, and you supported her very strongly.

  2. Hello Eryka. l agree with Davidson’s point,and also your’s. She quoted a lot, like the experiment of students equipped with iPods in Duke University, or Mrs.Davidson’s way to teach kids, to show that “At our most ambitious, we hoped to change the one-directional model of attention that has formed the twentieth-century classroom.”

    She also pointed out “The real issue isn’t that our schools are too challenging. lt’s the opposite. Among the top quartile of high school students, the most frequent complaint and cause of disaffection from schooling is boredom and lack of rigor. That also happens to be true among the lowest group, for whom low expectations lead to low motivation. Kids aren’t failing because school is too hard but because it doesn’t interest them. lt doesn’t capture their attention.”, and “In other words, the more standardized our assessment, the more kids fail. Their failure is then diagnosed as a learning disability or a disorder. But they are failing when assessed by a standard that has almost nothing to do with how they learn online or ——more important——what skills they need in a digital age.”

    l think what important is that how teachers teach and how students learn. Although many people think iPod is just a luxury to college students, it was proved helpful in many subjects through the experiment. Students do ‘crowdsourcing works’ , and “lt was an investment in a new form of attention,”,as Davidson said. You can see many electronic devices around our campus nowadays.l believe some of those who queried iPod as a learning tool were convinced, as popularization and development of technology.

    Classrooms didn’t changed a lot as it before, but ways of teaching should be appropriate of teaching students, with or without technology. Davidson didn’t mention about technology in Mrs.Davidson’s teaching,but she did well.And many teachers still choose to teach in traditional ways while their students learn well in thinking,debating,etc. However, it’s a trend that more and more classes will be taught combined with technology, for generations now and in the future will be raised in a world full of technology, and they learn well in operating them. Maybe some teachers should think :’How can l design my course interesting enough to make students engage?’, instead of ‘Some of my students failed since they have learning disability.’

    At last, l want to say l would love to take Davidson’s class, or one exactly like it. Because l prefer a class like this than a boring class, which l can only look at blackboards and a teacher for almost one hour. I think this course ‘ENGL110’ is also “Active learning”,and use blog to assign/post our homework. It’s better than sitting in a classroom and keep writing with our hands. Although sometimes l had problems with listening,or gamma in classes, and l’m not active enough in classes since different education method in different countries, l like the way my teacher, Professor Savonick, teaches us.It encourages my friend and l to learn.

  3. In your blog, you stated that some people infers that “technology is making our nation less intelligent” this sentence caught my attention as well as strongly bothered me. Nowadays, we must acknowledge that technology has a main role in the development and innovation of our society. Thanks to the technology advances, we live in an interconnected world, where borders have become smaller and information has been spread around the world. How could someone think that technology is making our nation less intelligent? I agree that we are not making the correct use to technology but it does not mean that technology can affect our capacity to learn new things and improve our quality of life.
    If I had the opportunity to take Davidson’s class or a class alike, of course, I wouldn’t miss it. I would love to take a class in a different setting than the traditional. An interactive class, in which, I can be evaluated individually according to my strengths; a class where I can learn from other peers, but also I can contribute my knowledge to the success of collective projects. And even better, I will be fascinated taking a class in which I could implement the use of all devices that I use regularly in my everyday life, to achieve the goals of the class.

  4. Thank you Eryka for your insightful blog. Davidson is most certainly correct when she calls our education system a failing one and she has the statistics to back her up. And of course, this failure can be attributed to the “copy and paste” method of memorization and repetition so common in todays schooling that we are familiar with.
    One of the things that struck me was about the study of students playing LittleBigLife. Davidson describes how after playing the game for hours, the children felt as of they hadn’t learnt anything at all. Only when they were asked to think about what they were learning did they realize what they took out of the “game.”
    This is an important point. It makes it much easier to learn something if the subject being learnt is not imposed on the student, but rather digested willfully and with interest. If students believe and act like school is some sort of boot camp, ad those children on “Middleton” did, it’s no surprise they were not learning well and that the school was failing. The more palatable and fun the learning material is, the more interested and engaged the children will be. Offer something sweet and they’ll grab for it, but hand them something bitter and they’ll most likely turn the other way.

  5. I feel that Davidson made a very valid argument to a topic that I have had some reluctance to agree with over the years. I personally have always felt that electronics are a little bit unnecessary in terms of expenses versus performance in academic settings. My high school offered several classes where iPads were distributed over the course of a year for students to take home and learn/participate in out-of-class discussions, however students used the devices mostly for entertainment on their free time. I found it to be rather useless when you consider the fact that the iPads used were in the range of $500 and around 100 were purchased for students, whereas conventional methods could have probably sufficed and done an adequate job at educating people, as it has for the past century.
    Despite my previous opinions on the matter, I must say that this reading has worked in the sense that it has given me a more open mind towards this new approach to education. I am still not entirely convinced though, for the only time I have ever personally experienced students utilizing the intended potential of technology in the classroom was when the computers had severe restrictions in accessibility to prevent them from playing games or going on youtube during the entire class. I personally feel that I learn just as well in a traditional setting as long as a class size is small and engaging. The bottom line is, education is effective when the student is as engaged with the teacher as possible, along with peers, and this can be achieved by a smaller class size and active debates among one another.

  6. Hello Eryka, nicely said blog. As time progresses, our education system is failing. Davidson proves this point with a wide variety of evidence and statistics. Many experts claim that technology is making new generations less intelligent. The fact that we constantly have every piece of information we need at our finger tips is making people lazy. Students are less likely to learn and memorize something when they know they can just “Google” it. As a result, lecturing is becoming less effective. Students will have a tougher time learning the material through lecture because they know they can just look up most of this information. However, active learning engages students with the material so they can actually use their minds to figure it out.

  7. I agree entirely with the whole of your blog. The blog took key points from each of the articles we have read so far and used them for an advantage in the argument you were trying to show. The main focus that I saw during the blog post was that, students should be able to use technology the way they see fit to help them during their study’s and progress their individual knowledge and not how the teachers and administration think they should be learning. The new use of apps on phones and other technology should be used in classes and explored by the education system.

  8. I am agreeing with that, “Active learning turned out to be more effective than lectures”. By giving students iPod, Davison and her colleges were just giving students a piece of modern technology they can use for study, it was like encourage them, “Now, you guys can learn by yourselves”. And as we can see, students tend to learn by using these technologies than lecture classes; it’s much easier and more effective for them. They get only what they need, what they like, what they want to know; no more boring lecture class and things they don’t really need. Also, by using new technology, they can learn anytime, anywhere, they don’t even need a professor to be with them, one iPod is enough. We all agree with that modern technology changes people’s life, why don’t we let technology changes our education method?

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