Welcome to Modern Educator

Here on this blog I hope to get a conversation going amongst students, teachers, administrators, and parents about who, what, when, why, and where we should teach technology skills for the 21st century. I am technology teacher at Truckee High School in Truckee, CA and currently teach classes like digital media, e-learning, applications, and keyboarding -- yes...still important! :) Please Join the Conversation!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Viral Videos - Modern Day Job Skills

The Today Show on NBC is featuring what it takes to make videos that go "viral" on the web all this week.  http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/40193433#40193433

In my Digital Media class students create original video content and learn how to upload it and share it on YouTube.  But I take it a step further by having them explore how by using social media and sites like YouTube content creators can can develop and establish a fan base (subscribers, viewers) which can then be utilized for other purposes later on.  I really encourage my students to move beyond looking at their education as "feeding" them the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a career someday and start looking at it as an opportunity to create their own opportunities for career/advanced ed futures.  The Internet provides an avenue to accomplish this like nothing in past history.  I show them examples all the time of how everyday people like us create content that ends up having millions of viewers.  I explain how that kind of marketing and distribution would have taken 30-50 years by radio and around 15 years or so by TV and cost thousands if not millions of dollars.  Now, with sites like YouTube and Facebook anyone in the world with the access to the net and necessary computer/hardware can reach this size audience in 1-3 years and it is FREE! 

In conclusion, I am trying to get my students to see that they can use these kind of skills and knowledge to create their own exciting and rewarding future!

Here is an example I showed today of a guy who remakes hit songs with nothing more than his voice.  His videos have gone "viral" and today he was a guest on the Today Show on NBC.  I can only imagine the opportunities he has awaiting him.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Leadville 100 - "Stupid Hard!"

Have personal memories from sleeping in the back of my pickup truck in this town in June 1994 to awake to snow and brutally cold temps.  Luckily the local baker/owner of 27 years in the downtown bakery let us in early at 4 AM to warm up with a cup of Joe. 

So, when I saw this trailer I just had to share it.  Great intro ideas for students in my Digital Media Class.  Don't think I am up for the mt. bike race but it sure would be fun to visit and watch and then explore the trail on my own pace.

Race Across The Sky 2010 from Citizen Pictures on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Jersey to Vote on Strictest Anti-Bullying Law in the Country

Bullying is a serious problem and the Internet and social media along with cell phones and other mobile devices have intensified the affects of this societal problem.  Kids can no longer escape the harassment by staying away from the perpetrators.  Now, the bullying follows them online and on their phones causing much more harm and pain.

As with so many hateful and cruel issues like this, education is probably the key to reducing the affects of these problems.  New legislation with tougher punishment for this kind of behavior might help too but the kids must be taught and informed about this issue.  So, this New Jersey law, if passed, requiring anti-bullying classes to be taught in schools might be a good thing but it will also result in lost time for instruction in other academic areas which are already stressed due to lack of time and ever increasing standards of proficiency.  Kind of has similar tones to the debate around teaching sex education in our schools.  Who's job is it?

In conclusion, I think this is an important conversation for students, teachers, administrators, and parents to keep having.  And, in the end, we adults need to model good behavior and take responsibility to teach those youth around us.

Read about this New Jersey Legislation

Fresh Start!

New classes began for quarter two today at Truckee High School.  It is always fun to meet new students and reflect on my last quarter classes.  What went well, what went wrong, what did students like, did they learn what I wanted them to learn, etc.?  Then, learning from my reflections I get to try new techniques and refine my previous lessons to make them more effective.  I think it is crucial that every educator who is committed to being the best teacher they can be go through this reflection process and assess our own practices.  Only by doing this can we continue to improve and evolve to our students needs.  Their needs ARE different than our students from 5, 10, or 15 years ago and we must constantly self-assess whether or not we are providing them with the education they need and deserve.

On a completely side note.....we were discussing in class today blogs and how traditional journalism has had to evolve to the new web 2.0 world for their audience.  We were looking at http://www.powdermag.com/ and read an article where kids could comment and then watched this video.  It seriously gave me chills!

California General Election Results|November 2, 2010|California Secretary of State

California General Election ResultsNovember 2, 2010California Secretary of State

Education has a big day today! The election results will have definite affects on the future of education in the state of California. Technology has made it easy to follow the polling results and to find all kinds of other information regarding the elections. I have to think that today's voters must be the most informed voters of all time due to the easy access of information on the Internet. However, with all the negative ad campaigns still flooding TV, radio, and the Internet; it still makes me wonder if the majority of voters actually read any of this information to get informed or still just vote along party lines and out of fear from negative media campaigns. Regardless, the Internet and social media web 2.0 sites have transformed the way candidates and other political advocacy groups get out their message. I also think it has leveled the playing field financially speaking since the Internet allows for so much networking and communication for so few dollars. It has also allowed the regular folks to easily combine their small financial donations easily to compete with large corporate interests. California's Governor race should be another interesting test on this since Meg Whitman has invested a record setting 140 million plus dollars of her own money. Jerry Brown's supporters have been using social media sites extensively to combat this financial blitzkrieg by Meg and all polls so far suggest that this defense worked. The Internet might prove to be the ultimate equalizer in politics!

Click the link above to get polling results for CA.