Quality Reflections

From Jared:

A couple things from the reading really stood out to me. the quote “experience in not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.” i’ve always thought like this, but when you put it in the context of teaching it has a whole new meaning. it’s our jobs to learn to create experiences for others and create environments to help others reach their full potential. the way we can better do this is through _learning_ from experience, not just experiencing it.

David:

An interesting thought was brought up in a recent discussion: How do you know if your students are really listening to what you are trying to teach? I gave the first answer that came to my mind: test them. But others in the discussion brought up interesting possibilities. Some of these suggestions included incentives, assigned roles in a role-playing scenario, make it a contest, word bingo. Throw in tricks was my favorite. You (usually) announce to the class that, now that you have explained everything, you will then work through a problem on the board, but that you will purposefully do something wrong, and it is the students’ job to figure out the error. Brilliant.

Corina:

Today we had a quiz about the Moral Dimensions of learning. I want to reflect on (number 1 and number 4) a little bit.

1. Enculturating the young in a social and political democracy
Foster in the nation’s young the skills, dispositions, and knowledge necessary for effective participation in a social and political democracy

I think that this could possibly be my favorite moral dimension. I love it because it encourages people to be contributing members of society. Not only is it important for us to make sure that we are informed about laws and different things happening in our community but it is our responsibility to be law abiding citizens. It reminds me of something we talked about in Relief Society the other day. It was about the commandment to multiply and replenish the Earth. The commandment isn’t just to multiply, but it is to multiply AND REPLENISH the Earth. We talked about how it is our responsibility to make sure that we are bringing children into this world who are of substance, who are of value. People who can contribute to society. I heard Sister Beck say once that she wanted to make sure that she was raising children who could talk, she wanted to be able to have children who she enjoyed talking to and having conversations with.

4. Ensuring responsible stewardship of schools
Ensure educators’ competence in and commitment to serving as stewards of schools

This is also an important thing to remember. My husband had a professor here at BYU who said that we need to make sure that we are getting the most out of our BYU experience because part of our tuition is paid by tithing from members of our church. He said make this experience worth while for that widow in Chili who has 6 kids who is scrimping and barely making it, but who is 100% faithful in paying her tithing. Learn all you can! If not for you, for her!

Kylie:

I think we can learn a lot by learning from each other. I know that no one is particularly fond of teaching in front of the class to their peers, but it also helps us once critique comes around. It’s hard to get critiqued especially by classmates, but they are trying to learn as well so it’s really just helping everyone out…Even though some people feel like it may not be “realistic” I think it’s definitely helping. Yes, our peers are trying to help us out by participating, but we need to start somewhere don’t we? We are learning what works and what doesn’t. What activities students respond too and what to do in certain situations. This is what it’s all about! Once we get this down we can move on to more “realistic” approaches and continue on from there. There is a starting point for everything and our starting point is teaching our peers. I think it’s helpful to be carefully critiqued by those who want you to become better.

Technology Learning Adventure

As forwarned in the syllabus there is a “learning adventure” forthcoming. It will be based on each of the student technology lectures that have recently been completed. Below is an outline of things that were presented and taught by your peers/TA/the instructor. If you don’t have notes of any part/topic listed below you may talk with the associated student presenter, TA, or the instructor, or the Internet might also be a great resource.

Topics and associated questions:

1. Computer: hard drive, RAM, ROM, CPU, OS, motherboard, etc.
2. What is an intranet? How do you set up a network?
3. What is a network? How does it work? What is a client, etc.?
4. What and how does GPS work?
5. How do cell phones work? Data transfer, voice transfer, cell zones, etc.?
6. How is music compressed? What’s the difference between aiff, wav, wp3, midi?
7. What is offset printing? What is lithographic printing? What is DPI and how does it impact the quality of a print? What are common DPI’s used in printing? What is a digipress?
8. What’s the difference between RGB, HDMI, sVideo, etc. cords?
9. What is and how does blue tooth and infrared work?
10. What is DTV? How are videos and TV compressed?
11. What is whitespace? How does it impact us? Where did it come from etc.?
12. How do digital cameras work? What are the primary camera components? What’s the deal with megapixels? What are the basic principals of composition? What are the different photo formats and how do they compare (i.e., jpg, png, gif, tiff, raw)?
13. What is a web browser? How does it work?
14. How do search engines work?
15. How do you optimize a website?
16. What is and how does cloud computing work?
17. What is a bit torrent and how does it work?
18. What is and how does firewire work? How does it compare with USB?
19. What is nano technology?
20. What is rss and how does it work?
21. How does the Internet work? (Geoff’s first lecture).
22. What are the basic principles and elements of design?

A Few Notes from the Triangle Coalition

Here are a few notes from my visit to Washington, D.C., as a member of the 21st Century Leadership Academy and the Triangle Coalition.

Dr. Goldstien (the first speaker of the conference) reported that we are born with the need and desire to be on a journey (he’s an astrophysicist). He suggested that life is about satisfying the journey. Concerning this he said, “The journey and dream (of it) is written in us, in our genes; the body of knowledge(BOK) (things we learn in life) is not; therefore let’s journey – bc it’s through the journeying that we obtain the BOK.” He continued, suggesting that to be human is to explore, “Sadly, we’re beating this out of them (students) in the institutions (schools) where this (promotion of exploration) should be happening.” He suggested that classrooms should start with a journey and expectation that students will be taken on a journey where they will be exploring new and exciting events, people, things, and so forth. In addition he said that teachers should create, support, and promote student journeying and exploration – where inquiry based instruction is essential. He used Toto from the Wizard of Oz as a metaphor, saying that we should (and our students should) always try and pull back the curtain on things – to see the phenomenological perspective of things. He recognized that this is often done in classrooms by teaching the scientific method or engineering design process – however, he argued that both of those methods are too rigid. He said that as a scientist/engineer he likes to “poke things, and just see what happens” – where curiosity and exploration leads his inquiry. He ended with two quotes that summarized his slant on learning: 1.) “Knowledge is not power, it’s what you do with knowledge.” 2.) “Joyful education should (and will) lead to joyful employment.”

A panel of government and business officials were the second to speak. Susan Traiman, who was involved in writing “A Nation at Risk” among many other related reports, said that “Innovation is the life blood of business” (obviously I will be using this quote a lot in my research). She also shared some data regarding what students are studying at the top universities. She said that of the top 32 universities, only 9 of them offered technology and related majors. She suggested that we should use this data as a proxy to see/understand where people are studying and choosing careers in; suggesting that if our top universities are not even offering technology and engineering majors, it’s no wonder the American economy is behind in technology and engineering domains. What was so interesting about this panel, was that the second panelist was from 3M, and she shared a data point that was very interesting to me: “15 of the 20 fastest growing jobs require technology and engineering.” In light of this, she reported, 3M gives over $20 million to supporting education annually. She ended her words by sharing that 3M so highly believes in innovation that they give (or rather require) their employees (all 750 Ph.D. and 10,000 technicians) time to innovate (15% of their work hours are supposed to be spent working on their own “innovations”).

While in DC I also spent a significant amount of time listening to various STEM related initiatives, and meeting with various US Senators. Needless to say, it was very educational.