Friday, February 11, 2011

We've built friendly UFO's

"It's not an alien invasion. They're not coming from Mars to displace us. We're creating them to make ourselves smarter."

"Yes the computer may be able to defeat the humans in this game, as long as you don't have to explain the answer given. The computer does not understand why it answered the question the way it did." Comment on the video thread from Hollycow. I think this comment is what makes us superior to our creations. We are the creative powers, we elect what to build, to change, to eliminate. Those who fear the computer invasion are those who have limited the value of creativity. These people are everywhere. They are controlling our school systems, our government, and our media.

Today, I attended a workshop about the TALENTS teaching method. The main prompts they encourage us [upcoming teachers] to use is "many varied, different, and unusual (but not gross) ideas" regarding student production. Finally, our school systems are sharing the tools to fight the corruption of uniformity. For a while-- it took over everything, from our cafeteria food choices, to kids clothes, to worksheets, and so on... But now we as educators can encourage each other to promote unique, original, and purposeful ideas.

Let's use the tools that we have created to help us correct our derailed system of learning-- let us use computers and other technologies to inspire and equip our students with ideas that will help bring peace, productivity and advancement to our communities.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dancing and Singing Club

Today as I walked between the rows of my students' desks while they were working, I noticed Vaunia writing names down in a column titled, "Club Members". Vaunia is a 10 year old early bloomer. She is smart, obedient, and most noticeably, she is about a head taller than all of her peers. Vaunia is always doodling, reading goosebumps, and waving her hand in the air with an answer ready to be spewed. Unfortunately, because of her natural leader tendency and her size difference, every behavior mishap is overt. So I saw this as a golden opportunity to groom her leadership skills-- I didn't know what I was signing up for. When the students were finished with their assignment, I stuck a post-it note on her desk with a few questions about the purpose of their club. I told her to be ready to answer my questions by lunch. She was more than willing.

At lunch today, Vaunia and a group of about 6 other girls eagerly shared every aspiration they had for their, "Singing and Dancing Club". A few of them said they joined because they are preparing for American Idol. Others just liked being able to sing and dance when they had free play during P.E.

They must have seen my wheels turning because before I could ask them how they could develop their club more (and provide more opportunity for Vauni to become the leader she is bred to be), Jamie asked, "Mr. Capps, will you help us make a video singing and dancing like the one you made with Malaysia?"

And so it continues...

Now I have to wheel and deal with Ms. P to let me steal these kids for 30 minutes each Friday for rehearsals. The first thing on the agenda is showing them PS22 Choir. This is just one of many seeds I intend to plant to motivate MCPSS to allow us to publish these kids to the web and grant them the recognition they deserve.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Special Recognition

This semester, I have decided to highlight a new EDM310 student blog each week. I believe it is time to really start encouraging y'all to make this learning experience YOURS by personalizing your journey and contributing to all of ours in the same stroke.

This week, I want to give a special thank you to Brandon M. Caten for his investment into his blog. I have learned so much about a wide variety of things. Not only has he shared meaningful responses to the required posts, but he has also exposed his online audience to themes of equality, political engagement, and student life involvement around campus.

It's only week three of school, and Brandon bravely posted a video testimony of a high school student's powerful coming out experience to his blog for all of us to witness the power of one young person's voice. It has inspired me because I too just recently came out online in conjunction with the "It Get's Better" movement for struggling gay teens. This young lady displayed a courage unmatched by most. Please take the time to view and share her pivotal moment of empowerment by clicking here.

Brandon's contribution to the EDM310 experience didn't stop there. He has also posted a call to action in support of the National Endowment of the Arts legislation that is currently running its course through congress. As future educators should recognize the power of the arts in their ability to help us appreciate talent, unite communities, and promote individual expression. We should also realize that testing has all but completely pushed aside arts in the school systems. In Mobile County, students get to participate in art class 5 times a year, and music only five times as well. That is roughly once a month for half a year each. How is this enough to teach our kids the significance of art in our lives as adults? What kind of framework are we building if students think that cramming for tests 90 percent of the time is more important than self discovery and expression through the arts? If we can't enjoy arts in the schools, take up Brandon's call to action and spend 3 minutes filling out this electronic form to let your voice be heard by our legislators. For the survival of creativity, click here to participate.

Just when you thought this future music teacher and life-changer, Brandon, couldn't possibly have time to add one more thing to our learning experience in a week, HE DID! Brandon found a way for you to enjoy yourself locally and simultaneously support our Jaguar Talents by attending the show choir performance (which Brandon is responsible for founding and directing) on Monday, February 7 at 7:00 pm. See his page for me details by clicking here.

Once again, thank you Brandon for all the time that you have invested into your own, and our educational experience. I look forward to seeing more great work from you.