Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blog Assignment #1

What I Want My Students To Know

I feel somewhat enlightened after learning about Krissy Venosdale and Sugata Mitra. I must admit that I feel like a victim of being spoon fed information through a lot of my schooling rather than learning on my own. The blog Krissy wrote about her dream school immediately made me start to ponder what my dream school would look like. "The Innovation Zone" would be amazing, and if it actually existed I wouldn't mind going through school all over again. The idea of changing grade levels from age based to readiness and ability really intrigues me because human beings are not robots who are all the same. Every student is different, and some may be ready to move on to advanced subject matter quicker than others. Reading Krissy Venosdale's ideas on Venspired helped me to dream the dream so to speak, but I was still skeptical of it being successful. Then I watched Sugata Mitra's video. The Hole in the Wall experiments gave me evidence that Krissy's dream school would be successful. I see why Sugata Mitra won the 2013 TED prize.

What I Want My Student's To Be Able To Do

As a future teacher I can imagine my classroom and I can't deny a sense of fear that comes over me. Not the fear that I won't be knowledgable of the History classes I teach at the high school level, but a fear that I will teach the way I was commonly taught through high school. We all know the saying, "History tends to repeat itself" and I hope I don't repeat the same mistakes my teachers did. However, the good news is I am taking Dr. Strange's class and I believe what I learn this semester will break me from the norm of today's teaching. As simple as it sounds, I want my student's to be able to learn!

What Do I Want My Students To Know?

I don't want my student's to just learn history, I want them to be fascinated by it. I want them to have the passion where as when they learn something new they keep digging deeper for more. I'm not bashing science or other subjects, but some things we have to learn from history. We can't do a scientific experiment to learn if the Civil War took place. Many times we have to rely on historical knowledge to learn and I hope my student's will see the importance of that.

What Do I Want My Students To Be Able To Do?

I want my students to be able to ask questions about the past and find answers. It's impossible to know everything, because often times we don't get everyone who was involved's view of the story when it comes to history, but with all the resources we have thanks to technology my students will be able to know as much as possible. With iPads and internet access they'll be able to do all the research themselves and see as many view points of the story as possible.

What Will Be My Primary Method Of Teaching My Students What I Want Them To Know And To Do?

My primary method is to get students passionate and interested in the subject matter. If I can get my students to see the importance of the subject matter for themselves the battle will be won. Letting students get together and learn hands on together seems to show promise. Sugata Mitra's experiments are evidence that having peers learn together is more successful than individual learning. I can personally remember learning a lot in group projects and I will utilize groups for my classroom.

What Tools Will I Use In My Classroom?

The greatest tool I can use in my classroom would honestly be technology. Digital interactive books, websites, and applications on the iPad all come to mind. This may surprise some people, but video games could be a tremendous asset in the field of History. A great example would be the game series Assasin's Creed. The latest game, Assasin's Creed III, put's you into the shoes of a Native American assassin who witnesses the birth of America. The game designers did a tremendous job of being historically accurate and you encounter famous people such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Samuel Adams throughout the game. War video games also come to mind. It would be important to make sure the video games are age appropriate, but I have no doubt it could be a great asset in getting student's interested in History.

What Role Will Students Play In My Classroom?

Students will play the most important role in my classroom. They will be just as successful as I at doing the "teaching" after attending my class. I can't stress enough how enthused I feel about having student's learn together in my classroom. The Hole in the Wall experiments by Sugata Mitra convicted me of the importance of learning with peers.


  1. Wesley,
    I completely agree with you saying every child is different when it comes to the learning environment today. I as well will have to admit to being spoon fed curriculum through school, mostly upper level. And your primary method of teaching also favors what I would like to do in my classroom. Getting students passionate in the subject your teaching will only help them to learn. Also you brought up the fact that video games could be used as a tool for teaching History. I had no idea games like Assassin’s Creed III, were based on actual historical events. That’s a pretty cool thing to learn, and makes me feel better about video games and children today. My only concern is that the video games are age appropriate and do not put more violence in school today. I really enjoyed reading your post!

  2. "...but a fear that I will teach the way I was commonly taught through high school.": You certainly should be afraid of that!

    Thoughtful. Interesting. Well done!