The title of this article is a question, because I admit my ignorance of the answer. I’ve not been paying much attention to THE conversation, since I have finally accepted my status as retired. Wahoo! But I am working on another book, so my mind is still in our righteous endeavor, even though my PLN has evolved.
The book I am working on will be a history of technology in education, as I have witnessed it – so programming is on my mind. You see, that’s what we called it back in the 1982, programming. So I was struck by a sense of déjà vu when I saw so much of the edtech discussion, at the recent Raleigh NCTIES conference, devoted to coding.
But are we (and I’m asking this question seriously) missing the point of a skill that has been so important to me, not to mention a pure personal joy? You see, what has made coding so important is not necessarily its practicality, though I have been able to support the educational endeavors of many teachers with my tools. It’s not even the bread it has put on my table, though I am enormously appreciative of that.
I often tell the story that on that first afternoon, after spending my first couple of hours teaching myself how to program (uh, code), I got on my hands and knees and I thanked every algebra teacher I had ever had. There was finally a practical use for those mystical techniques for manipulating numbers.
But there was a major difference between how I was using Math and how I was taught Math – and it is a difference that strikes right at the heart of what we’re doing wrong in education. You see, I immediately understood, though I may not have been able to express it, that I was using Algebra as a language, in order to instruct the digital environment (Radio Shack TRS-80 computer) to behave in the way that I wanted. If you can communicate with a computer, then you can use it to learn and express.
We learned Reading so that we could read our textbooks and other more authentic sources of knowledge. We learned to Write so that we could articulate our growing knowledge. Maybe we should learn Coding in order to learn the language of numbers, so that we can learn from our own thoughts and express our ideas in endlessly creative ways.
..instead of teaching Math and teaching Coding.
Of course, I’m not the first to suggest such a radical idea. It was during those earliest years that some very smart people (Seymour Papert & my friend, Gary Stager for two) were already suggesting and putting into action this very idea with the Logo programming language.
Technology changes with time. As one piece of technology becomes superior, another becomes inferior. This infographic portrays something interesting, iPod sales and iTunes songs purchased increased together until the mid and late 2000s, but by 2010, iPod sales were decreasing while iTunes sales continued to increase. What could have caused this?
Discuss with your students other things that occurred during this time. Could it be related to other technology, such as the iPhone that became increasingly available. There could also be the issue of the economic crisis, and people buying music just to listen on computers.
What other technology has affected the sales of other items. For instance, the record player and the record, the 8track player and the 8track, the tape player and the tape, and so on. Did any of these follow any similar trends. What could be the next technology that makes the iPod obsolete?
There are a lot of developments here. Some of them we don’t appear to use anymore. However, without all of these developments, we would not be where we are today. Try to find scientists and poll them as to what are the most important developments, and then poll your students. After all the of the information is compiled, share with your students what the scientists said.
Go through each development, or assign developments to groups of students. Why is each development important. What could not have happened without each development. Speculate where we would be without said development.
This infographic video goes through the the history of the Big Bang theory, both it’s discovery and how it worked. It is important to explain to your students that it is important to understand this theory, even if they do not believe it. It is important to appreciate and understand different theories.
Make sure your students understand the big, overall, stepping stones to the development of this theory. But how did Albert Einstein develop the theory of relativity? What was his thinking process, as far as we can understand? How can we apply his thinking process to our daily lives in order to make our own discoveries?
What do your students think will be the next discovery? Do research on what is being studied now? What is closest to a breakthrough? What has been disproved?
In the opinion of you and your students, what was the biggest development that has led to our modern day life? The Gutenberg Press, the typewriter, electricity, the computer? How can your students harness this technology in order to take advantage of the opportunities this infographic claims there is?
Most importantly in preparing for tomorrow, your students must look to tomorrow, what are going to be the technological advances of tomorrow that will build the opportunities of tomorrow. Without knowing what they are, what can your students do to prepare for the technology of tomorrow. Better yet, what can your students do to create the technology of tomorrow.
We are taught that Johann Gutenberg created the first printing press. But this infographic goes back to an older printer in 618 AC. It also says that Gutenberg’s was the first movable type. So why are we (or at least I) taught that Gutenberg invented the first printing press, and before this it was all handwritten.
Regardless of what is taught, how did the printing press, both the Chinese version and Gutenberg’s, change things? How did this change literacy and lead to the Enlightenment and then the American Revolution, and other revolutions? What could have happened if the Europeans had a printing press before the dark ages? Could we be living like the Jetsons?
Now, look at newspapers from various centuries and after important developments in this infographic. How did the appearance of the newspapers change? What is the most significant technological change? What about the most significant appearance change?
Begin this class on a survey of how your students sleep. What hours do your students sleep? How much sleep do your students get per night? How do your students personal habits affect sleep patterns?
Young adults may not realize the importance of sleep, or simply choose to ignore the necessity of it. With this infographic, go into the necessity of sleep. What can your students accomplish with more sleep?
What of these complex machines do you use in class? What complex machines do you and your students use every day? How will you use these machines to teach your students? One idea for teaching your students over the course of a year could be the development of discoveries from the simple to the complex. Helping your students understand the development of discoveries over time, and allowing them discover them in an accelorated manner may help them understand the significance of modern science.
The end of video shared that there are more discoveries in the universe. In modern era, sometimes we cannot see what is undiscovered. The majority of the world has not only been explored, but much of it is lived on. While it simply requires a look up into the sky to see what has not been discovered, it takes money to get up there. Fortunately for us, despite money, people were able to get across the Atlantic Ocean to discover and settle America. Encourage your students to not let money stop their dreams. Education is a valuable form of currency as well.
This infographic is an entertaining video on various aspects of the Universe. It goes into size, age, and different aspects of our universe.
There are several important things that can be taught using this infographic. First of all, it does go against the Biblical idea that Earth is only 6,000 years old. Regardless of what the Bible says, this infographic shares important information. Using this infographic, teach your students tolerance of other ideas. Another important aspect of this infographic is its lack of sources. Challenge your students to find sources supporting every aspect of this infographic. Teach your students that the most important aspect of any argument is using reliable sources.
In the 1960s, it was every child’s dream to be an astronaut. This was the age of the space race, or who would get into orbit and to the moon first. Of course, Russia beat America in getting into space, but we beat Russia in getting to the moon. With the International Space Station, it has become less of a competition against one another and more of a cooperation to gather knowledge.
This infographic gives information on the space race, relations between various nations since the moon landing, and little tidbits that are just interesting. Share this with your students, and discuss the future of the space program. John F. Kennedy said that America would reach the moon by the end of the 1960s, which came true with a few months to spare. What do your students think will be next? Ask for a timeline on the future of space travel with support for their guestimations.keep looking »