Check out the article below:
How to Get a Job at Google
Google is one of the most desired companies to work for, right? They are cool, innovative, and produce cutting edge technology. Their work environment is fun and innovation is celebrated and encouraged through 20% time. It is a dream job. So, what type of employee are they looking for? Well, not necessarily one with a college degree and GPAs don’t matter! The number one quality they are looking for in an employee is the ability to learn and process new information on the fly. They want leaders that will show initiative when necessary and then sit back and let others contribute when needed. They want people that will take ownership and pride in the work. My favorite quote from the article is “Too many colleges, he added, ‘don’t deliver on what they promise. You generate a ton of debt, you don’t learn the most useful things for your life. It’s [just] an extended adolescence.’” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. College degrees are becoming watered down and just having a degree will not necessarily get you a job. Google is an example of a company that is realizing this. To work at a company like Google, you need to be motivated and passionate about the work you are doing. You have to want to create and you have to know how to learn. So, as a teacher how can we cultivate students that are hireable? Motivation is key, but if students are not motivated in every subject do we need to require that they are well-rounded and excel in every subject? Can we let students follow the learning path they are passionate about? This is a big picture view on education but how can I start to create students that would be hired at Google in my personal math classroom? I definitely need to get rid of passive lectures and note taking and let the students have choice in what they are learning. I need to be a more creative teacher and have different activities that all teach the same standard but appeal to different student’s interests and learning styles. Let’s start making our classrooms look more like what the current workforce looks like!
Check out the article below:
How to Get a Job at Google
Reflection: A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned
After reading the Wiggins' article, I can definitely relate the veteran teacher's experience to those of my students. My students are on a block schedule so they have 3 periods a day and each period is 2 hours long. I love the block schedule as a teacher because you never feel rushed, but I feel for my students by the end of the day. Passively sitting ALL day, 5 days a week is absolutely exhausting and by the end of the day their attention spans are short and they are sleepy! I find myself desperately trying to hold their attention while delivering information before they get lost to their phones or a side conversations with a classmate. Unfortunately, this makes me want to power through lectures without stopping or time to talk to partners because it is difficult to redirect their attention back to the lecture. I think a strategy that what would help this is more hands on activities, as described in the article. I need to work on giving content in 10 minute chunks and then creating engaging activities in groups that require them to talk to others and move around. Because my students have been in the traditional classroom for so long, they need some sort of motivation to put effort into classwork. In math class, they are used to receiving points for homework, quizzes, and tests. They aren't used to doing projects or presentations or anything else in class besides taking notes and practicing problems. I think they ARE capable of putting forth some good effort during class time, they just need something to grab them and get them into the awesome problems of life that math can solve. Additionally, I would like to try and incorporate most of the things that the veteran teacher wished she would have done. For example, it would be awesome to have a nerf game in the classroom, more mandatory movement, and no sarcasm when students ask questions. This was a great perspective to read about as I start thinking about having my own classroom.
Here is the article if you would like to check it out:
Grant Wiggins Article
“...the ways in which young people are different today as learners may be the most fundamental change we need to understand as we consider how to close the global achievement gap.” -Wagner
Wagner describes our students today as the Net Generation. They grew up digital and, as we know, it is integrated in every aspect of their lives. Our students are different than generations before. Wagner states that they no longer can learn effectively through lectures and interacting with the text, they learn through discovery and through creating. They want learning to be an active endeavor where they are interactive producers and not passive where they are isolated consumers of information. Some corporate leaders are concerned that the coming generations because they think they have poor work ethic, but what we need to understand is that they are motivated to work in different ways. Wagner talks about their continuous partial attention and their need to be busy, to be alive, to be connected and to be heard. In order to engage our students, I agree with Wagner when he says we need to catch up in the classroom with what kids can do outside of school. Think about how you search the Internet. You start researching one thing and that leads you to other links and new searches and the learning taking place and discovering information is interactive, and nonlinear. This is how we need to teach our students. In addition, the Net Generations has a different relationship with authority. As teachers, we are transitioning from the ultimate authority into facilitators of learning. We need to model our thinking of discovery, support students to take control of their learning through discovery and encourage creativity. Because, in fact, this generation’s motivation for a career is one where they are happy, making a difference and creating, so let’s prepare our students for that.
Although all three of the schools described seem like awesome, progressive schools producing highly productive citizens, I feel like I would be happiest at High Tech High, location being one of reasons. I like that HTH doesn’t track their students by ability nor do they offer AP classes, yet almost all of their students go to college and many get into prestigious Universities. I don’t agree with tracking because it tells kids from a very young age what their path in life will be. I think tracking can stifle interests that have yet to surface in young teens. After what I have been reading about AP classes and how heavily they teach to the test, I am not convinced that students who aim to take multiple AP classes are necessarily being prepared for the current marketplace. I like that HTH focuses on rigorous activities for students and envision students “...being in the company of a thoughtful, passionate, reflective adult who invites you into an adult conversation which is composed of the rigorous pursuit of inquiry.” (Wagner) The classes focus teaching students to be deeply critical of less content. I like that students are held accountable and assessed through electronic portfolios displaying their best work, a substantial internship and a senior project before they graduate. I like that the school starts at 8:30, a more reasonable start time. I like that the bathrooms have murals and the students are constantly working hands on in classes and sometimes outside. And finally, it sounds like the principal at HTH is supportive of continuous growth of teachers in their career. I had the opportunity to observe at HTH in San Marcos and as I was walking through the halls, it definitely felt like an inviting learning environment I think I would be happy working in.
TESTING - Chapter 3
Tony Wagner's conversation surrounding testing raised some great questions for reflection after 10 years of No Child Left Behind. I agree that teaching to the test and requiring students to simply recall facts and formulas does not prepare our students to be successful in college and the current marketplace. Motivating students is particularly important when it comes to their performance on tasks, but how many students are motivated to try their hardest on a standardized test that don't count for their grade? Are we really getting authentic results of the learning that happens in classrooms across the nation? Do we necessarily need a uniform system to assess students? Also, if we know these tests are bad for our education system, how are we going to hold students and teachers accountable and ensure authentic learning is, in fact, happening in the classroom? Wagner argues that we have an effective and more meaningful accountability system, but we don't necessarily have the political will to implement them. As far as testing and assessing my students in my own classroom, I am going to try and steer away from multiple choice tests and assess my students with more rigorous mathematics problems and projects in order to engage my students and develop the critical thinking skills they need to be successful citizens.
TEACHER ED - Chapter 4
Wagner takes a hard look at teacher training programs across the nation and concludes that most programs do not effectively prepare teachers for their career. Not only are teachers placed in a classroom without experience and the feedback they need, they start teaching and rarely get evaluated constructively. They essentially get isolated as a teacher and grow complacent with their teaching style. I feel that the co-teaching model at CSUSM is a more effective way to prepare teacher candidates for their first day of school. Having two semesters at two different schools, teaching and assisting in a variety of classes, and being observed and given feedback by university supervisors might be a system that Wagner would approve of. Of course, there are some skills that will only come from completely having your own classroom, but I feel that the rigor of the program at CSUSM adequately prepares us for our first year of teaching....although, we will see next year :) If I were to tweak the program in any way, I would have a little less focus on coursework and more focus on getting coaching through real life teaching experiences at our school sites and more lessons and teaching activities to have in our tool box. Not that this isn't a part of the program, but added focus on this aspect is what I would change. In addition, after reading chapter 4 and after being at two different school sites, I am realizing that the school you decide to teach at has a huge impact on your motivation and happiness as a teacher. It is important to choose a school and district that aligns with your teaching belief system and will give you support in the classroom, constructive feedback on teaching style, ongoing training, and be a culture where you think you can grow and be motivated.
For my 20% project I am going to learn, by popular demand, to ferment food. I would like to learn how to ferment food because I have a garden and sometimes I have a surplus of veggies that need to be eaten right away. If I can learn to ferment them, then they will last longer. Also, fermented food is tasty and great for your health! I will learn how to ferment food by researching methods and recipes on the Internet. I have a couple friends that ferment food, so I will ask them for advice as well. The following are 10 authentic questions for inquiry:
1. Besides cabbage, what are other fermented foods I can make?
2. What are the health benefits to eating fermented food?
3. What equipment do I need to ferment food?
4. Is there a likely risk that I can poison myself if I do not use clean enough equipment during the fermentation process?
5. How long does fermentation take for a variety of foods?
6. What are the ingredients necessary for fermenting food and which recipe do I like the best?
7. Is the food I ferment good enough for others to eat?
8. How can the fermented food I make enhance my current diet? (i.e. what will it go well with?)
9. How long does fermented food keep before it spoils?
10. Is fermenting food a multi-step process and does it require advanced culinary skills?
A successful 20% project will entail a variety of tasty and edible fermented foods. Success would also be incorporating these fermented foods into my regular diet to benefit my health! I enjoy cooking, so there is an element of play and making in my project. There is also an opportunity of failure: disgusting food that I will never eat. Wish me luck!
THESE ARE MY STUDENTS! I found this video on visionsofstudents.org, where I was led after watching "a few ideas..." video collage from my previous post. "Generation Me" is very interesting and enlightening in regards to knowing my future students. They grew up thinking they are special .The majority of high schoolers believe that they will be more successful than their parents and that they will graduate college. So, there isn't a lack of motivation to be productive members of society, yet a lot of them don't and end up graduating AND they lack passion to pursue a meaningful career. What is happening between high school and college? Our students should be happier because they are growing up with more education, more technology, more communication, no drafts, more choices, etc., but depression amongst teens and young adults skyrockets. As an educator, it is important to be empathetic to the trials and tribulations that our students are going through. High schoolers are at such a vulnerable age where all that matters is protecting their self-esteem, yet they are still hopeful that they will be something in their lives. As role models for them during this time, teachers have to find a way to adapt to their world and encourage their dreams and passions and support their learning in a way that will foster productive and emotionally healthy adults.
Michael Wesch put together a provocative video collage highlighting what college students are today. They learn to cook and play guitar on You Tube. Wesch quotes that they spend over half of their waking lives with media; they have spent an average of 5,000 hours reading, but 10,000 hours playing video games and 20,000 hours watching TV, email, Internet games and cell phones. He paints a dismal picture of classrooms as a place where students text during class, check their Facebook page, and guess at what the teacher wants them to say. He says most college students don't know what they want to do and that they are academically adrift. Wesch is pushing for change. He quotes students in the video saying that traditional education need to die.
What does this mean for my future classroom? How am I going to convince kids that the mathematics we are doing in my class will benefit their future? It seems that I have to find a way to bring media into the classroom. I have to appeal to my students' interests and try to prepare them for a world that I am not familiar with. Can I call myself a teacher? You Tube is the teacher. We are apart of a new culture where everyone has a voice, everyone wants to share something, and we are all looking for the next video clip or tweet that will grab our attention for 4 seconds. What do I have to offer my students?
Currently, I am taking a class at CSUSM titled "Secondary Education in the 21st Century" which focuses on technology use in the classroom. Twenty percent of my grade is a project based on Google's "20 percent time", which allows Google employees to take one day a week to work on side projects that surround their passions. I am getting ready to start my 20% project, which requires me to blog about the process of teaching myself one of these skills. Below are some ideas I have for my project. Please comment and let me know which one sounds like the best activity to pursue.
1. The Rubik's Cube: I love puzzles and games, so I was thinking about teaching myself how to complete the Rubik's cube in under 4 minutes. I would have to practice a lot and teaching myself would be easy because there are plenty of tutorials and instructions online. At the end of the 5-6 weeks I will spend on this project, there will definitely be a risk of failure if I cannot complete the cube in under 4 minutes.
2. Blind tasting wines: I have always loved wine and wine education. I have worked a lot with wine and I realize the more I learn about it, the more it seems there is to know. One skill I think is impressive is when sommeliers blind taste wines. For this project I would study 5 white varietals and 5 red varietals. At the end of the 5-6 weeks, I would be able to blind taste the 5 white and 5 red wines and identity the varietal and which region the wine is from. My reservations with this idea is the fact that I will be blogging about an alcoholic beverage and I'm pretty sure that is faux pas in the world of public education. Obviously, the element of failure in this project is if I can't correctly identify the wines after 5-6 weeks of studying.
3. Planning my next dream vacation: Traveling is a huge passion of mine. I have been thinking about a particular adventure now for a while. It includes flying to China and staying for a couple weeks then hopping on the Trans Siberian Railway all the way to Moscow. After that I would transfer trains through Eastern Europe and all the way down to Spain, cross the Straight of Gibraltar and spend a few weeks in Morocco. My project would include a lot of research on the adventure to determine the major sights I would see, how much time I would need, where I would stay, and how much money I would need. There isn't a huge element of failure here.
4.Learn how to ferment food: I am also passionate about food and gardening and I started to like fermented food when I taught English in South Korea because fermented food is a huge part of their cuisine.I like the way fermented food tastes and I know it is really good for a healthy gut. This project would include me learning about how to ferment food and ideally taking cabbage or other vegetables from my garden and fermenting them. Learning about it would be easy to do on the Internet and I would consider myself not failing if I am successful at fermenting some food and I like the taste!
5. Create a painting to hang above my bed: I have never been too artistic, but I hear it is a healthy activity. This project would require me to buy a canvas big enough to put over my bed and to create a piece of art using oil paints (is that even how to say it? That is an example of how little I know about creating art). I would watch videos online to give me ideas and tips on painting techniques. Success with this project would be a completed painting that I like enough to hang in my room.
The primary question Seth Godin invites his listeners to contemplate in the TED talk above is "What is school for?" He paints a great picture of how, historically, the primary focus of public school was to teach obedience. We sit in straight rows, we answer the teacher in unison when she says "Good morning class" and what was created at high school graduation was interchangeable people to use in the factories of the industrial age. Thinking of school in that way makes me cringe! Have I been duped by my public education upbringing?
Godin goes on to talk about our current culture and he says "As a culture we say, the only thing that is important is interesting, then we spend all of our money and time to teach people how to not make things interesting." This point resonated with me because we are a culture that is only captivated by spectacular ideas, videos, pictures or whatever else the media can throw at us. How can we create classrooms that teach kids how to explore and investigate what excites them, and then create something that passion. Even Albert Einstein said "the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."
One idea I liked from Godin's TED talk was the idea of instruction at home and then exploration of the material in the classroom with an adult in the room to help when students run into roadblocks. This is like the flipped classroom model that I think could be possible, but comes with problems such as assuming that kids have Internet access or that they are actually going to watch the lecture at home. I agree with Godin when he points out that there are skilled presenters that give lectures online of pretty much any subject, so why recreate every lecture as a teacher? I hope to experiment with this idea when I get my own class.
As a future educator, Michael Wesch's TED talk about the responsibly of teachers to move students from being knowledgeable to knowledge-able made me reflect on what type students I want walking out the door after they take my class. Wesch points out that "there is something in the air", literally. Knowledge is ubiquitous and gone are the days where we teach our students to memorize information just to spit it back out on a multiple choice test. If the goal is to engage our students to promote learning, then we need to make them feel like they are learning something that is relevant to their life, and I'm not talking about tying every lesson to Taylor Swift. I am talking about teaching kids to take raw information, form opinions or create something new. Wesch says that we need to push students to move PAST critical thinking. He talks about the media not being a one way street anymore. The public now has a voice, so the kid that walks away from my mathematics class is one that can sift through all that information out there and create something meaningful and novel from it. As a teacher, I hope to strive to ask good questions, ones that Wesch say leads students on a quest. I hope to cultivate a learning environment where students don't ask "Is this going to be on the test?" or "Is this answer right?", but questions that show there are connecting with mathematics and that they are thinking hard in my class.
In Dr. White's video above, he addresses the ideas of two different web users: the visitor and the resident. From my understanding, Dr. White does not believe that one is more technologically adept than the other, but that their motivations are different. In summary, visitors don't see the benefit to making themselves visible in web spaces. They take what they need from the Internet and leave with little or no trace. Residents feel comfortable in web spaces and actively engage in building up their identity through these spaces.
In the continuum of visitors and residents, I feel, currently, I sway heavily to the side of a visitor. Until this week, the extent of my web presence included a few pictures and comments on my private Facebook account. Asserting myself as a person on web spaces is uncomfortable and unenjoyable....so far. I don't fear strangers getting information about me, I just don't feel like my writing ability is a sufficient way to present myself to the world. I fear more the judgement of my values or intellect based on non-human interactions. But alas, my mentality may be changing this semester as a result of an intriguing technology in education course I am taking. Maybe by May I will be tweeting, blogging, posting, and re-tweeting multiple hours a day?
I am still developing my views of social media, technology and web spaces as it pertains to education and its place in the classroom. To be continued....
"The most rigid structures, the most impervious to change, will collapse first."
- ECKHART TOLLE, A New Earth
After reading Will Richardson's essay "Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere”, I agree that education needs reform in a way that is realistic about what exactly we want our students to learn and in what ways they will be prepared when they walk out of school's gates as bright 18-year-olds. I couldn't agree more with Richardson when he talks about the uselessness of memorizing facts that could easily be retrieved from the device that sits in the majority of our students' pockets. The focus of education is shifting and that is okay. It is necessary in order to prepare students for the dynamic workplace of today. Kids are teaching themselves how to learn anything they want to via the Web, so my job as a future mathematics educator is to cultivate excitement for mathematics and to instigate students to explore mathematical principals for themselves. Teachers are no longer the "keeper of knowledge" nor the smartest person in the room, we are now the facilitators that push students to persevere and take learning into their own hands.
In his essay, Richardson outlined six unlearning/relearning ideas that believes all educators must support. Of the six, there were two ideas that resonated with me and that I will definitely implement as a teacher. One was number two, "Discover, don't deliver, the curriculum" (Richardson, 2012). I am excited to run a classroom where the responsibly of learning falls on the students! Less pressure on me....just kidding. If I could master creating lessons with meaningful activities that made the students think hard and want to get the right answer, I think much more learning would take place opposed to me trying to shove the math procedures and facts down their throats. "Do real work for real audiences" (Richardson, 2012) was number five of the ideas that Richardson believed educators must support. I want to give my students assignments that mean something outside of the classroom walls. If they could buy into a project that involves using mathematics and analyzing data, then valuable learning is sure to take place.
One idea that I find difficult to get behind, personally, was number one, "Share everything (or at least something)" Although I am learning, I find it stressful and very time consuming to share everything, or even part of what I am doing online. I admit, I use what others post online, but have yet to gain pleasure from posting my ideas and thoughts on the web for everyone to see... let's see how this blog goes... baby steps.