TED 633 1A: Self-Assessment Blog

TED 633 1A: Self-Assessment Blog

Hello, Fellow TED 633’s

Who Am I and Why Do I Teach?


My name is Sue Kisla Kay and I am working on my Single Subject Certification in Mathematics although I hold both Multiple Subject and Single Subject English credentials.  Life takes many twists and turns, and alas, now I am exponentially expanding my horizons (yes, pun intended).

I am currently teaching Math 7 in the Antelope Valley. Before teaching full-time in the classroom, I was a Theatre Teacher for Grades PreK-6 for various elementary schools located in the Santa Clarita.  After receiving my teaching credentials, I taught Grade 8 Honors English and Grade 8 Mathematics at a Charter School in Palmdale, CA.  Now I am working full-time teaching math for Grade 7 in Lancaster, CA.

Made with love by one of my Students. . .

Before teaching, I worked for a computer software company, starting as a phone-answering consultant until I was promoted several times, ten years later becoming Director of New Business Development (having survived numerous bosses, acquisitions, company restructures and mergers). It was an exciting decade of traveling the world and working with diverse peoples from different countries, companies and departments.

But for long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I took the CBEST in the early 90’s while I was working the corporate job, somehow knowing I would day teach; in fact, my mentor boss always told me that I had “missed my calling” to become a teacher. I taught music to children via Vacation Bible School during high school and was a swimming coach and instructor during college. I always enjoyed teaching, especially when I became a mother with three kids of my own, and started coaching sports, teaching taekwondo and assisting in my children’s classrooms.

And now: here I am in the teaching profession!

The KISA Personality Test: ENTP:

Renaissance Woman, the Jack-of-All-Trades, yet Master of None.  I see why I teetered back and forth when deciding whether to pursue Single Subject English (I love delving deep into literary works: I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s of English Literature) or Multiple Subject. . . or now math (because I will always memorize your license plate number before your first name).  I like, and am interested in EVERYTHING, have very diverse and broad interests.  I can see myself switching back and forth between lower and upper grades. I would teach everything to everyone if I could.

My Personality and Relationships with Students

I am curious, energetic, imaginative, creative, enthusiastic, compassionate, genuine and caring.  These personal qualities are attributes which I like to bring into my classroom environment for learning.

I personally stand at the door and welcome students in to my classroom, and ask that they enter with a positive “can-do” attitude. I am growth-oriented and flexible, and believe in inspiring people to motivate themselves intrinsically versus relying solely upon a mundane system of punishment and rewards.  I like to set and achieve goals, both personally and for my students. In tracking goals and surrounding myself and my students in a supportive environment, we “stack” smaller goals, and see steadily progress towards achieving the larger.

I am open-minded and empathetic, supportive, constructive and enjoy sharing and developing ideas with others. I seek to inspire colleagues and students by working collaboratively, interacting with one another during brainstorming or learning, and in acknowledging people for their talents and ideas they offer.  I believe that everyone brings their own experiences and expertise to the shared learning of the classroom, and that we all can learn from one another. I welcome, encourage and support responses from everyone.

Most of all, I believe in relationships and establishing rapport. To me, people want to know that I care (versus care what I know).

Learning Styles: Highly Visual and Intuitive.

My results of the NC State Teaching & Learning Styles put me smack-dab in the middle for both Active/Reflective and Sequential/Global Learning.  I can see this in myself: in subjects like Math, or learning a new taekwondo form in my spare time, I like attacking tasks sequentially, systematically, step by step (but generally do better if I know where I am headed).  In other areas like Biology or History,  I like to get the broad-strokes, “big picture” Bigfirst before filling in details. As for being an active learner, I like to memorize rote math formulas so I don’t have to waste time looking them up, but in English Language Arts, I revel in reflective discussion for hours with classmates about theme, or in debating the how’s, why’s and wherefore’s for motives of character (or author).

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-12-47-54-pmSo learners, I “get you” on each end of the spectrum.

However, I am highly Visual versus Verbal  (I knew this about myself already).            I do often use pictures/photos or create a PowerPoint to speak to, thereby hitting both the visual and auditory learners (this is also great for EL’s or Autistic students who tend to derive more meaning from pictures). Non-linguistic representations, whether photos or graphic organizers, help me to organize thoughts to the class, with the class, for the class (and even in my own brain).

I am also more heavily weighted as an Intuitive (versus Sensing) Learner.  Although I personally am able to think abstractly, I know that many of my students can’t: I take this heavily into consideration when presenting a lesson, and ALWAYS have them make connections to, and find relevance in relating the lesson material to their own daily lives or hobbies/interests outside of class.  If students establish no connection with, nor purpose for the lesson, they are not likely to learn from, nor engage in it.

How I Think


Teaching Style

For Grashen, my higher scores were in Delegator, Personal Model and Facilitator which would lend my teaching style well to the more student-centered,  Inquiry-based or Cooperative Learning models. I like for students to ask questions and think at higher-order levels; I encourage them to pursue their passion for learning in what interests them, and by cooperatively exploring and deriving answers, or at the very least, knowing where to seek out information in order to ponder, synthesize and formulate meaning. To me, a Teacher should be a “Guide on the Side” and not a “Sage on the Stage” (although I will admit that the testing that is required of students, and the large class sizes and vast amounts of material to be covered does sometimes realistically warrant Direct Instruction and much Teacher Modeling).

3752974328_cfb8fc5b8d_mI look forward to meeting and working with you all!

Sue Kay


The End of the Beginning

The End of the Beginning

Is it really the end? Or just the end of the beginning?

It’s crazy to think that 60+ days have gone by since starting this class.  I feel like that was eons ago, yet here I sit several weeks later feeling like I have always known the technology that I have only just recently been introduced to.   Two months ago, I had never wrote a blog, heard of Creative Commons, used a wiki-whaaaaat?, knew about goodies in Google Drive, uploaded to YouTube (nor created anything for it), nor ever spoke of. . . the cloud. . .


I never really thought about how technology made kids excited to learn. . . how it is so ingrained in their brains that anything that doesn’t utilize technology is almost incomprehensible to them.

As I experienced this class, I took more notice of technological happenings within my owns kids’ classrooms: my 9-year-old now has a google mail account and shares documents with other kids in the school district via Google Docs. My teenage son who tracks his grades in his Infinite Campus app has for the first time this year shared with me what it is that he is learning, and discusses tests taken in class. Seeing his grades posting through the app sparked the conversations between us about school.  Technology is apparently the catalyst to fueling the fire of learning (and communication) for this generation.

8720604364_2ebdc6df85_oAnd then there’s Common Core.  EDUC 407 and the use of technology has shown me great ways to execute project based learning initiatives and achieve the collabortion and group interaction which it integral to it.  And then there’s the higher order of thinking.  Sure, why not: when all this information is readily out there, so easy to find, now we need to do something with it.  Enter higher order thinking, i.e. what to do with this info, and how to interpret it? Well, the use of technology makes that task a whole lot more interesting.

This is a completely staged shot of students and a professor in a computer lab with brand new computers, apparently donated by NASA. This is a shot I was asked to do for some promotional NASA propaganda, or something.

The last thing I’d like to get from this class are suggestions of where and how to stay “current” on new technologies and trends.  My son says he learns a lot from watching YouTube videos; I also have a friend (whom I affectionately dub a “Techno-Weenie”) who is always in the know with regard to new gadgets, programs and going digital.  He laughs at my always-still-wanting to see everything on paper.

So my last question to you, Professor and Class: what is the best way for me to keep up-to-date on digital trends?  How do I stay current on new technologies and how to use them?

Send me your suggestions. . . and thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with me!

Link to WebQuest overview: St Francis Dam WebQuest overview


“How the Copyright Laws Stole Creativity!” By Dr. Sue-ss

“How the Copyright Laws Stole Creativity!” By Dr. Sue-ss

The Stinginess of Copyright Law

“What if Copyright Law, doesn’t act like a store. What if Copyright Law …perhaps…allowed a little bit more!”

Grinchy Copyright Laws hate and confine creativity in the multimedia realm. And like the green-with-envy character, current Copyright Laws steal from our spirit of communicating and celebrating the redistribution of content in modern multimedia and our classrooms.


If we are not taking credit nor profiting fiscally from showcasing symbols or images, how is it that we are breaking the law?  Why is copyright law so stingy, so greedy, such a complicated character?  Because of these disgruntled regulations, we act much like the Whovilles, merely going about our business, paying little attention to the selfishness of it all.

Before this class, I had NO IDEA that I could not redistribute a photo I found on the web.  Logic would dictate that if something is “out there,” posted for ALL the world to see, it is something I could redistribute and further publicize (if, or course, I was not fiscally profiting from the work).

But this will not result in a happy ending for me.


In college, I was responsible for creating Bulletin Boards to advertise College Union events. When Holiday Time came around, I made a Grinch bulletin board to advertise Movie Night in which the film would be shown.  I harmlessly (or so I thought) created my own Grinch replica from green construction poster paper found in the art-supply room.

  • Did I personally profit from this replica, fiscally or otherwise? NO.
  • Did I detract or deter sales of the intellectual property? NO.
  • Did I take credit for creating the character? NO.
  • Did I in fact help to publicize and bolster the brand/character/Intellectual Property? YES.
  • Did I help promote Movie Night for which the IP owners would be paid/profit? YES.
  • Did I break copyright law?  YES (I realize, a quarter-century later)!?!images

This seems nonsensical to me and not in the “spirit” of innocuously sharing. Why are copy laws a stingy Grinch?

6502558325_3ebaff7a76_bNow who could have come after me, innocent Cindy-Lou-Sue, for violating copyright law? I did not know. I wonder: did you?

Check out this link with the convoluted mess of who owns which Grinch rights, to what: http://www.ipblog.ca/?p=34.

1957 Book How the Grinch Stole Christmas

  1. Original Book: Random House
  2. Character and related-trademarks: Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P.

1966 Animated TV Special:

  1. TV Production: Turner Entertainment Co (Time Warner now owns original producer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.)
  2. Music within the TV production:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. as employer for hire of Theodor S. Geisel and Albert Hague.
  3. Compilation of Songs from TV Special: RCA Records.

1988 Broadway Musical “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical”  Music and Lyrics: Timothy Mason and Mel Marvin.

2000 Feature Film  “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”: Luni Productions (part of Universal)

Novelization of the movie (based on the original book) by Louise Gikow: Universal Studios Licensing Inc.

And then there is some random dude, John Christopher Chlebowski, Jr. who was able to register a “Grinch trademark” for a BAND (with no affiliation to the Seuss character).


The examples above illustrates the ridiculousness of where and how to perfunctorily obtain permissions for rights to showcase the property.  So I can’t make a bulletin board in my little classroom to promote and celebrate the character, yet some guy can take the name and create a band?

Again, “imitation” is the finest flattery.  And technically if I am NOT taking credit nor profiting from the redistribution of the character, am I really, truly imitating? or just

Re-imaging? Reiterating? Reminding? Repurposing?

8305228991_727ae84c43_oEducators need to rally together and get back the gift of creativity by asking for reform in Copyright Laws. Until then, we need to request directives from our Districts as to copyright practices and policies to which we must adhere in order to protect ourselves and our students from the ill-effects of this Grinch.

Bring back the Toys for Creative Feast! Copyright Laws: Stop being a Beast!

Oh, so Social Media

Oh, so Social Media

2544581627_70d3db4bcf_oOnce upon a Time, we sheltered our kids and classrooms from Social Media.

But Social Media is now Cinderella at Technology’s ball: you can try to hide her away, but there she is, dancing among us. All constituents are becoming more and more enamored with her the more we watch and pay attention to her. We may not have recognized her at first, but she is now quite captivating, married to Technology, and crowned as a mainstay in this interactive land.

16386392968_29defa679d_kAnd so such a children’s tale was told to me this week in my 9-year old’s class.  Oh, the irony: our lessons were on social media and classroom use; his 4th Grade Friday Folder contained a permission slip for me to sign allowing his utilization of Google Apps for Education (such as Google Docs and Google Sites) in class to “collaboratively create, edit and share files and websites for school related  projects and communicate with other students and teachers in [our] school district.”

The point here is that Social Media and its use in classrooms is in the “Ever After.” It’s here to stay; no use ignoring it.  My 9-year-old will become seamlessly immersed in the use of social media in the classroom.  My 7th grader is already using Google Docs to submit assignments. I laugh that I only began using Google Docs when it was assigned to us in EDUC 407.  Time for me to modernize my Cinderella Tale.

1814873464_4b04280a67_o-2Surely, sites such a YouTube need to clean up a bit to be used in class, but many social media outlets provide great forums to share, learn and collaborate on a multitude of topics and mediums.  Social Media is changing the way society communicates, and it is therefore imperative that we incorporate Social Media into our classrooms: our duties as teachers is to provide Lifelong Skills to students such as becoming digitally savvy citizens.

And what makes students digitally savvy?  Being able to interpret social media, its intent and credibility.  This is an invaluable skill.  Just because it’s “posted” on the internet by someone does not mean it is true or accurate.

Think about looking at digital images in the Age of Photoshop.  We have learned what is “real” and what is “fake” because we have skills and filters due to experience in using the web and evaluating what is presented to us. No child would believe that the below images are “real.” But what would George Washington say after having been pulled out of a Time Machine? Would he have the digital exposure and experience to know that the following images are not “real?”  I am guessing NOT. Students learn this by doing and engaging in the use of Social Media.

1207501901_92ffd5eedd_b 3565562785_ed93031866_z 2997359490_15e29d4aba_o

Students must be taught how to discern sources, intent, reality, exaggeration, propaganda, agendas, etc.  Seeing is NOT always believing anymore.  And as my high school history teacher once said, “History is always written by the victor–it’s slanted.”  Evaluate info with this in mind! i.e. What is real? What is exaggerated? What is edited? What is likely? What is hoax?  What is intended? What is the agenda?

In classrooms, we teach kids to analyze and interpret texts; now we need to teach them to analyze information presented to them via social and interactive media.  Students will not learn this skill sitting idly by or ignoring the medium. They need to become immersed and experienced in filtering information presented to them to make sense and formulate their own opinions or likelihoods.

Long live Social Media in the classroom!

Long live Natural Skeptics!


PS: No, Bill Nye the Science guy did NOT die this week. . .

Infinitely Cool: Infinite Campus

Infinitely Cool: Infinite Campus



Introducing my Cool Tool: the web-based student informational management system, Infinite Campus. My kids are currently, and will continue to use this portal throughout grades 7-12.


icmobileInfinite Campus is a cool tool because it connects Teachers, Students and Parents by updating and reporting in real-time students’ class schedules, assignments, grades, attendance and behaviors.  There is even a mobile app whereby parents elect to receive push notifications any time an addition or entry is made to their student’s account. In the case of my son, at all times, I am aware of any absence, behavior write-up or the entry of a test, classroom participation or homework score.

iclpogoDING!  Oh look at that, my son just got a 10/10 on his math quiz.  (Happy voice)  “Hey, great job, Gav! I see you aced your quiz in math today!”

DING!  0/0?  WHAT?  A missing homework in English?  (Irritated voice)  “Hey, Gavin, what happened? What are you going to do to get that grade up?”

A great advantage to this is that as a parent or student you are up to the second always “in the know” re: where your student is with upcoming assignments and progress being made that term. There will never be any surprises when it comes to grades. The notifications present the parents with opportunities to commend or correct a student in order to keep on track for a successful semester.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 5.16.43 AMInfinite Campus is also a great way for parents to receive notifications and segway into a productive conversation with their student/child.  My kid is totally into technology, so when I mentioned I saw his 25/25 History test grade score on Rome, he went on for ten minutes about the answers he had written about, why, and what he found interesting in that lesson.  Before this app, there was no conversation on any test nor any topic of any kind!!!

Infinite Campus is also very practical: I know where my child is physically.  I had to pick up my son early one day, and I knew which classroom he was in, what class and what time the class ended (his schedule rotates daily).

There are no surprises come term grades. The instant a grade is entered, I get a push notification on my phone.  8668129713_d90cb3d8b6_mAnd when a grade is potentially not going to come back so well in the near future?  Yeah, the kid will usually advise me beforehand so I am not blindsided, sometimes even with his own plan of what he is going to do better next time.

The biggest disadvantage however is that this tool will (obviously) not benefit families who do not have the access to the internet or smartphones in order to access this information.  Also, just because a parent is notified of an unexcused absence or a poor grade, the tool is not going to help you “fix” this issue. 4020584983_0ec7ef97d7_m Infinite Campus is merely an informational tool placed in the hand of parent and student, but each must work together to construct and execute a plan to create a successful end product: the best work and grades possible.


I foresee Infinite Campus evolving and getting even “bigger” in the future.  There are more additions available which my School District does not utilize yet (ie lunchroom balances); I imagine other services could be added (say selecting your electives, or contacting your teacher directly through the app).

Infinite Campus: to infinity. . . and beyond!

Clearing The Cloud from The Fog

Clearing The Cloud from The Fog

5805251231_971e282a92_oJoke 1: One day, an Immigrant iPhone User walked into the Apple Store, and asked the Native 20-something-year-old Employee, “What is this iCloud thing, and how does it work exactly?”   Punchline: Crickets.

3rr fog“Clouds are high flying Fog”
― gaurav rao

Before this class, I must admit I had not used Flickr. . . not explored Google-ANYTHING beyond the search engine. . . never heard of Picassa (I don’t even use Instagram). . . never considered putting something on YouTube . . . and I made it a point to ignore anything “iCloud” in my iPhone Settings. . .  But experiencing this class I realize that I am living in a digital fog and need to raise my digital skill-set to The Cloud.

cloud head sad_zI am an Immigrant.  I am afraid of The Cloud!  Where is my information going? Who can hack into it?  Why does iCloud stop backing up, telling me to buy more storage space? I don’t know what I am doing! Maybe I should just turn off or ignore the feature?  IT’S TOO CONFUSING!

OK, so I may not know how to fully utilize this Cloud thing, but I know it has saved me in the past. When my iPhone fell in the ihpone waterdriveway (the one night all year that it rained), my phone was destroyed by water and all my contacts were washed away. But somewhere, somehow because iCloud at some point uploaded my contacts list, I was saved from hours of looking up and reentering a multitude of names & numbers.  Plus all those taekwondo videos of my daughter that keep hogging up space on my phone to the point I can no longer record? The ones which are too long to message to her Instructor?  I use that DropBox thing. (If I could only figure out how to convert my free trial into a permanent account and remember my password.)


But EDUC 407 is making me overcome my fear of The Cloud.  Thank you, fellow classmate, Carrie Maher, for your simple and straightforward explanation of The Cloud.  https://carriemaher.wordpress.com/cloud-nine/    It’s not looking quite as scary anymore. I realize I am already in fact weathering the Technological Storm!

19499707052_12a8419726_qJoke 2: So I am selling my house. There’s 2 Sellers, 2 Buyers and 2 Realtors: no longer do we have to physically sign, distribute and wait for the original inked doc to be passed around to six people in six different locations, we can use DocuSgn to get this doc to all people, all at once via an email link to the cloudware.  We “click” to “sign” and the document originator (and all signers) are notified and presented with a “copy” of the Final Doc once executed by all parties. Punchline: Efficient! Saves time AND trees!

I can handle that.  Haha, I am seeing the light. . .


In classrooms, ours and others included, using tools like Google Docs where we can share, collaborate, make suggestions and/or changes to edit and execute document in realtime saves time, energies and fosters a cooperative working process.  This is efficient and making email and passing around hardcopies look antiquated and obsolete!!!  14305578641_f95f151497_mI remember making 2357120310_9d42b558e3_bchanges in contracts using MS Word.  I had to use the “Track Revisions” feature which put colored lines and cross-outs all over the page with different colors for each editor.  The document was distributed “linear-ly,” i.e. emailing one person at a time, else all changes would not be consolidated onto a single document. This was a long and arduous process, a pure headache.  And you would get real headaches from the kaleidoscope of onscreen colors one had to wade through in order to see who wanted what and where.

Utilizing Cloud-ware in the classroom and in real-life is the pot of gold at the end of the technological rainbow. We save time, money, and energies while increasing collaborative relationships, informational portability and accessibility, and timeline efficiencies.

OK Dorothy, click your heels: it’s time to call The Cloud our technological “home.”


Project-Based Learning: The Winds of Change

Project-Based Learning: The Winds of Change

The Shift to PBL. Beyond making in 1982 a “group” diorama in the 5th grade (in which I did 90% of all the work), I cannot recall any type of project based learning experience in my own schooling. Nor do I recall what I was ever learning in these so-called group projects.

I am, however, noticing a great shift and incorporation of Project Based Learning within my own children’s classrooms, especially with the advent of Common Core.  There is a big push for group collaboration and working in small groups, and in doing “real-world” learning.  No more shoe-boxes; just walking a new path in new PBL shoes.

pencils“Business Day” for 4th Graders. One example of PBL in motion is my 4th grader’s semester-long project called “Business Day.”  To my son, he is “working with my friends to make pencil holders.” But in reality, he is one of four business partners learning how to collaborate to create a small business, business plan, budget, and make marketable product to sell for profit on Business Day come November.

My 4th grader is learning real-world skills whereby I never had ANY exposure to business classes nor content, not even in high school.

moneyMoney Money Money. Before Business Day was presented, the kids were introduced real-world concepts of money, earning, budgeting and spending. Each month, the teacher pays kids a salary of “class bucks” from which they must pay desk-rental fees, late homework fines, or earn bonuses for good grades and behaviors.  Once established, the concept of investing bucks into a business and turning out product for profit was introduced.

(Money was never discussed in my classes in 1982.)

biz plan

How to Conceptualize a Business Plan.  http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/conceptualize-business-plan-5550.html

This link outlines how to conceptualize a business plan, and much of it parallels what my little 4th grader is doing. He and his friends had to brainstorm product ideas (Army flags? or pencil holders?), make prototypes, conduct focus testing (poll fellow students at recess) which product customers would like best; find out how their product compared to other groups’ products (SWOT analysis); and determine a successful price point at which to sell the product (Survey says? $10).

bransonAfterwards, the kids refined their designs and established a budget for materials: $6.00 each.  All partners made a product sample paper-towel roll, top sliced like a fireplace-match package and adorned with duct tape designs to ensure product consistency and quality in production. Each partner will be responsible for making ten (10) products to sell. One member is in charge of obtaining a “business license” so the business can “legally” sell product.  Each member pitches in for the costs of the license to be approved by the governing agent: the teacher.  A second member is in charge of the marketing, creating signage and posters with which to advertise the product around school. A third member is responsible for outlining the business plan.  The fourth will spearhead sales efforts at the Business Day Convention in the cafeteria, Friday, November 10th.

Thoughts on PBL: The Good. So although these kids do not know the business “jargon” nor every step of “creating a business plan” which they are implementing, PBL is allowing them to experience, and “learn” by trial & error, broadstrokes concepts of taking a product from a concept to fruition via real-world application. When kids enter the workforce down the line, they no doubt will remember and make relatable this PBL experience.

Thoughts on PBL: The Bad.  Beyond the academic knowledge, kids and teachers will poutzhave the added challenge of mastering interpersonal skills in order to work effectively in groups. This complicated skill set constantly changes with the dynamics of personalities in each and every group!  Many times a leader emerges and spearheads the project, sometimes coming on too strongly and alienating other members.  Other times, a not-as-motivated member of the group slows down or stalls the group, or takes credit where little was due to the dismay and discouragement of active contributors.

hrTo make PBL work, the teacher will be tasked with the challenge of acting as “upper management,” keeping groups on task without taking over the project, setting clear directives and goals, and handling “personnel” issues just like a Human Resources Department.  (Hey, we all have to learn to work with people, sometimes those who think differently. . . or with ones we don’t even personally like.)  This added human dimension makes PBL a tricky endeavor, but one well-worth the bumps in the road leading to a successful future for our students.

Sue on Sugata Mitra

Sue on Sugata Mitra

mitraMy initial response to Mitra’s experiments was “WOW, just WOW.”  Mitra’s findings that learning “happens by itself” was interesting and relevant to the workings of the modern world.  Children pick up on technology and how to use it with minimum input from teachers (or parents).  Mitra’s experiment also strung together for me all EDUC 407 assignments to date, filling in the gaps by connecting:

  • Friedman’s claims in The World is Flat video that technology is making the world smaller, and third-world countries more competitive with the U.S.;
  • Juárez Correa’s assertion in the Wired article, “A Radical Way of Unleashing a Generation of Geniuses,” telling impoverished students in Mexico City that “Potential” was “the one thing that makes you the equal of any kid in the world” and using technology to unleash it;
  • My personal example in last week’s blog of how my son’s self-taught Coding Class allowed collaborating students to self-pace and self-learn a 10-week curriculum in a matter of only 3 weeks.

Mitra’s Experiments.  india turq boysChildren living in the far corners of Friedman’s flat world, in “those places where [good teachers] are needed the most;” those children who had NEVER been exposed to teachers, computers, internet, mouse nor the English Language in which the materials were presented, successfully “self-taught” themselves and their peers to use technological equipment, access the internet, search for information, and more impressively, comprehend it.

Wow, that was a mouthful. Here were kids in third-world countries, hungry to learn: they were ingesting morsels of technology and chomping at the bit for the next course; digesting chunks of information; circulating nutrients of knowledge essential to survive/function/grow in our technological world; and feeding their brains with the knowledge they absorbed.

Mitra’s hole-in-the-wall computer stations served appetizers to learning. Children in the far-reaches of the world could sample technology and get taste the smorgasbord of information available to them.  They devoured it all, and in doing so, joined the rest of us at the world’s technological (and flat) table.

eat techMitra was eliminating the wasted potentials of young minds.

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”  – Motto of the United Negro College Fund

And now these children were cooking up new recipes for learning.  A feast for the mind, indeed.

The results of Mitra’s experiments, how children “self-teach” with minimal guidance from a teacher, can be illustrated by my son’s current junior high school Coding class group boys computer(such as the one described by Friedman).  As I described in my blog last week, my son’s teacher set the students free to explore and complete coding modules at their leisure.  The result?  The kids, left to self-pace and self-teach in small collaborative groups, completed 10-weeks worth of curriculum in a matter of 3-weeks time.

These small collaborative groups working together are also seen in today’s classrooms and are a required element of the new Common Core Standards.

Mitra’s Current Findings in My Future Classroom. Mitra’s description of education as a “self-organizing system” and “emerging phenomenon” is important to note as a soon-to-be teacher to technologically savvy kids.  I have always believed in allowing kids to push boundaries, especially in areas which interest them. I will achieve this by leading and guiding and interactive process of learning. Memorization is no longer needed; information is readily available by looking it up.  It’s essential to allow them to pursue these endeavors.

einsteinSo I agree with Mitra and will practice his mantra in my classroom: “Knowing is becoming obsolete.”

If it was also good enough for Einstein, it’s also good enough for me.  When asked for his phone number, Einstein had to look it up.

“Why should I memorize anything I can so easily get from a book?” – Albert Einstein

And I wholeheartedly agree.