Thursday, November 19, 2009

Success and Compromise

Yesterday I checked my Facebook live feed and saw that Lauren, a friend from California that I met during my time at the University of Hawaii, posted a Youtube video of PS22's Choir singing Lady Gaga's Just Dance. You can see that she and a few others didn't warmly embrace their choice of music.

Because I was lightly familiar with the Choir's background because I was exposed to one of their Stevie Nick's performances in my Educational Media class here at U. South Alabama, I brushed her comment off as a prejudice reaction. But then I got to thinking about the implications that these performances are creating. When does creating opportunities for celebrities to inspire and encourage our youth cross moral lines. These kids are being praised and encouraged to sing songs by celebrities like Kanye who are insulting other celebrities in their lyrics and on stage or by Lady Gaga who's lyrics promote alcohol recklessness and sexual promiscuity. Sure, these kids are talented-- but should their talent be exploited in order to gain the attention of people who earn their merit by singing about their partying lifestyles.

The bad sentiment that was building in my mind was further enforced when I watched two extremely talented kids singing "Run This Town" and "The Climb". Then, just when I was most impressed, the choir director prods one of the singer's young brother to "tell us a mean story about Tirzah." He then instigates a dialogue between the siblings consisting of tattle-tale and beating each other up. Of course their was no serious maliciousness going on-- but shouldn't teachers rise find positive ways to create relationships with their students and make them laugh?

At this point, I haven't decided whether or not I think it is healthy for the children to be exposed to some of these celebrities just because they are famous. On the one hand, these kids have already established many of these singers as heroes. They are going to listen and sing their lyrics beyond school walls regardless. Perhaps the encouragement that these celebrities are providing is just what these students need to gain the confidence that it takes to achieve success. Who knows?.. these children may even make make celebrities more aware of the impact that they are having on American youth.

To learn more about evolution of PS22 and how they got their start, click here. Watch the video below for an example of their indisputably positive educational performances. They are singing PEMDAS the Pirate which helps teach the mathematical order of operations.
SchoolTube - PS22 Chorus "The PEMDAS Parrot" by Zach Johnson

What do you think about the waves that PS22 are making? What conclusions have you drawn about American culture and education?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Class Notes on Project 11

Maggie Tarver's Group: avs4u (converts window's movie maker), Dr. Alice Christie's Website--> subject directory--> geography (virtual field trip),

Jim's Group: Zinio

May's Group: Edublog, educampus, keeping kids safe by making all your students blogs available for edit

Laurin, Lauren, and Kimberly: Google search tips "quotations" and, or, not ~related to from then phonebook: filetype: site:

Kamstudio, screentoaster

Ginger enlightened us with a chapter summation of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Voicethread and Dr. Wesch

As we learned about in New Media Literacies, we have recreated Dr Wesch's presentation about Youtube to fit our needs for Voicethread. We believe that Voicethread has all the great collaboration benefits of Youtube, but provides a safe way for students to get prepared for a lesson or review a lesson by contributing to the conversation from the privacy of their own homes without the worry of embarrassment. Because the conversation is recorded and can be moderated, Voicethread is a great tool that allows teachers and students to build off of others comments and reflect on those comments as more and more knowledge is gained about the subject. Because Voicethread so easily allows it users to publish the presentation, it can be shared over multiple platforms that are appropriate to 21 century classrooms, like blogs.

Please feel free to add your own comments to this Voicethread, or to leave a comment on this post regarding your ideas for Voicethread use in education. Also, we focused on the positive sides of Voicethread-- don't feel ashamed to point out any holes!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mr. Jabiz Raisdana on Skype

Today Dr. Strange's TT 11:00 am class from Alabama got to skype with Jabiz Raisdana in Qatar. One of three things that really stuck out for me was his mention of International Schools Services, which is a resource for teachers who wish to teach abroad.

Mr. Jabiz also told us that creating a good PLN requires patience. He said his most effective strategy was by blogging with a voice-- meaning, personalize your responses, share your own life experiences, get engaged with others who are discussing things beyond the educational "echo."

Lastly, Jabiz left us with one good tip... When your passion for teaching expires, "Move on."

Dr. Strange has posted the skype session, be sure to check it out! Jabiz encourages us to follow his paper trail. Start here.