Bates… Our Then VS Our Now!

Bates’ article this week was very informational and provided me with an opportunity to glimpse back at my own teaching and learning throughout the years.  Bates suggested that different media allows for different learning opportunities.  In Lorraine’s blog this week she talked about coming from a world where there was virtually no technology to a world that we are surrounded with technology.

Photo Credit: madisonpubliclibrary Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: madisonpubliclibrary Flickr via Compfight cc

Were her learning experiences growing up much different from the learning experiences of her students today?? Most definitely, Lorraine discussed the use of simulation, allowing her students an opportunity to experience things “real life”, where as prior to simulation her students were able to read, view images, perhaps do some hands on things but never had the opportunity to experience it in real life.  These experiences are brought to us by technology, because we have been in a world that revolves around technology, we are exposed to it on a daily basis, what better way than to find ways of incorporating technology to benefit both the teachers and learners.  The only downfall of moving into a world of technology is cost.

Photo Credit: aonefinancial Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: aonefinancial Flickr via Compfight cc

Not all schools/students are afforded with the privilege of having these wonderful tools within their classrooms.  How do we ensure that we are providing equal learning opportunities for all of our students?

Bates also states that when choosing different types of media, we need to be cautious, are we choosing the best media possible for the content we are trying to portray?  As educators we need to decide what learning tools are going to benefit our students, each student has individual unique needs, therefore we need to ensure that the media we are choosing to use in our classrooms is going to meet the needs of all of our students and provides opportunities for all of our students to be successful.  Being able to choose different types of media allows us to teach content in a variety of ways which in turn affords our students with opportunities for deeper understanding.  With deeper understanding our students are also able to develop a wide variety of skills that may benefit them in their future.

While writing my blog this week I began reading other’s blogs, there were a few that I was able to relate to. Stephanie brought up a good point in suggesting that if our students had more choice in the material they were reading would they be more engaged?  I would say yes, I think about my own experiences in school and as a teacher and I am more likely to be interested and engaged in whatever is going on if I am interested in the text being read.  She talked about reading with her kids, and reading captain underpants.

Photo Credit: katherine lynn Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: katherine lynn Flickr via Compfight cc

I think about reading with my son, there are numerous times I have picked out a book and he looks at me and says “NOOO” because he wants to read a book that he can relate to, he wants to read a book where we can talk about the pictures and he knows/can identify what the things are.  He isn’t interested in reading a book where mommy reads and tells him what things are and we talk about the pages. It is all new content to him, he has no background knowledge, nothing he can identify, nothing he can relate to therefore his interest in the book dwindles quite quickly.  I find it interesting that in our classrooms when we do RAD testing, and all these different types of tests that we provide our students with the same text, most times they have no prior knowledge or are unable to relate to and we expect them to do well and be successful, how is this fair??  Stephanie also brought up the fact that she appreciated when teachers used a wide variety of tools.  I would agree with this, I also appreciate the use of various tools, it allows us an opportunity to find something that meets individual needs, and ensures success.  I’m sure our students feel the same!

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Photo Credit: cgfaulkner Flickr via Compfight cc

Our world has ever revolved from when I grew up. In elementary school I remember copying notes from the overhead, I was often bored as I could write faster than most of my classmates.

Photo Credit: juhansonin Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: juhansonin Flickr via Compfight cc

I found myself waiting around doing nothing while they continued to copy then notes.  I remember a computer lab that we were so fortunate enough to visit once a week where we were able to practice our typing skills using all the right type, play number munchers and every once and a while we even surfed the internet. Once high school hit our world became a little more tech savvy, I took classes that revolved around computers and the various programs you could use.

Photo Credit: quinn.anya Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: quinn.anya Flickr via Compfight cc

The programs were a little outdated in comparison to what we use today, however none the less we were being introduced to how to use computers and the features that were available to us at that particular movement in time.  University was similar to high school, I used a computer for assignments (mostly typed) and that was about it.  The teachers often used PowerPoint to go along with their lecture.

My own learning experience was similar to that of Jessica.  She described herself as a visual learner, someone that preferred video and text over audio.  I was similar growing up.  I loved to read, I loved watching movies, videos, television etc.  but I also loved being active and doing things hands on.  I was never one for listening to something and being able to complete a task.  This may have something to do with my background in sports, I often think of coaches, they will explain something but as they are explaining they will be drawing on some sort of board.

Photo Credit: bidyarthi Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: bidyarthi Flickr via Compfight cc

I learned best this way and now that I am a physical education teacher I can say that I teach similar.  I feel that the diagram or image is definitely beneficial to many students.  If I were to explain something without the use of an image I feel like students would be lost, unsure and question what they should or shouldn’t be doing.  As educators it is essential when integrating technology, apps, resources etc. into our classroom we need to ensure that however we are incorporating it meets the needs of our student and is compatible with the content being taught.  Everyone comes from a different background; with different knowledge it is our job to find ways of teaching to the needs of all our students to ensure they are successful citizens in our society.

Logan addressed two wonderful questions in his blog this week that are definitely worth taking into consideration.

Photo Credit: Ekspresevim Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Ekspresevim Flickr via Compfight cc

Would I be a good student in my own classroom? And What will my classroom look like in several years?  When I look at these two questions I can answer yes to the first as I am teaching in a way that I found success, however does this mean that all my students will find success in this same fashion? Not necessarily!  And secondly, my classroom I’m positive will look very different in several years as we are always changing, things are being updated, adjusted, added, etc.  Our students are always changing, our educators are growing, we are learning from experience and often adding resources to our wonderful collections.  As Bates suggests we need to be cautious when selecting our type of media, as we need to choose one that best suits the content being taught and all forms of media will offer a different learning experience.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Bates… Our Then VS Our Now!”

  1. It really is very interesting that technology has changed so much in a short time frame. Growth and change is never an easy thing and can get much more involved then people outside of the education realm know. Very good post.

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  2. Great thoughts Jayme-Lee! I really appreciated how you pulled it all together and sorted through your thoughts. So I have a question and I don’t think there is necessarily a right answer but it’s something I’m pondering all the time: Do you think we can ever get the balance right for different media for different students? And I suppose a second: What responsibility do students have to deal with the way things are presented, even if they feel like they would prefer something else? I mean, those questions assume that the original choices of media creation were done thoughtfully, as you suggest. Sometimes it seems clear that a visual is needed. But I’m curious to find out what you think about whether there IS a right answer for a mix of media and the role students have for dealing with what they get (or is it all on the instructor?)

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  3. Great blog. There are so many things to take into consideration with different learning styles.

    My thoughts:
    I see much value in videos as a teaching strategy. Moreover, for some of the reasons Bates points out; one of the strengths of videos is that it is able to “link concrete events and phenomena to abstract principles and vice versa” as well as “demonstrate ways in which abstract principles or concepts developed elsewhere in the course have been applied to real-world problems”.

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  4. Great post! I completely agree with your comment about the RAD tests. I do not teach ELA but have seen some of the topics and there is little wonder why students struggle with the evaluation. One grade’s was about large ships on the ocean (not sure which grade) which, for rural Saskatchewan students who may not have ever left their home province, this is not something that they are remotely interested in or know anything about!! Give them something about agriculture, and they will probably find an error and want to contact the author to have them fix it!

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