“Beam me up, Scotty!”

In 1999, Disney released a film called Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century (IMDB rating of 6.5 by the way; although, my pre-teen self thought it was way better than that!) I was enamoured by the concept of living and working in a space station. The year was 2049 and the film showed technology of the future such as tablets and video calling. The children went to school by entering these rooms where computer workstations were clustered together and, in the middle, a hologram of the teacher would appear. Lectured lessons would continue from the previous day and students were able to research on their computers at the same time. The protagonist, Zenon Kar, inserted an ear piece and changed her computer screen to watch and listen to music videos. And thus the movie begins. . . Hologram teachers, what?!

Fast forward to today and we have the ability to Facetime or use Google Hangouts to hear AND see the people we are speaking to – like Zenon! I love it! I use it often so I can have Facetime dates with my puppy back home! 

Will education as we know it change because of technology?

You mean changing – present tense. It is constantly changing and we have to keep pace. As a student, I loved library days because I was able to search for answers using the colorful encyclopaedias. But now, if we are curious about a topic or have a question about anything, we have Google at our fingertips. The information is instant! I have a Pinterest board dedicated to music education. There are numerous Facebook groups where we discuss pedagogy and share lessons. Twitter, although I’m still a novice, is a great space to share the latest and greatest. Curious: I find the timeline for learning a bit condensed. I sometimes wonder whether or not we truly have a deep understanding of our content because there’s so much out there, we’re always on the receiving end and there’s no time for contemplation. Do I sound crazy?

Where and how will you be teaching in 5, 10, 15 years time?

Considering my nomadic tendency as an international teacher, who knows where I will be teaching in a few years time. However, one can dream that in the future, a fine arts department would have private, soundproof practice rooms where instructors are beamed via hologram – wait. Do holograms “beam” like in Star Trek? But it’s my dream, so, yes! – and provide lessons to students who do not have access to professional instructors who already work in the building. If an ensemble were to play a piece of music, each instrument’s part, through some fantastical tech device, would then be transcribed or notated so that it’s written. I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators of Tapspace would be the first to create such tech. From my experience as a performer and using their software Virtual Drumline for composing percussion ensemble pieces, the idea doesn’t seem so far fetched. I mean, go check out the movie Drumline and watch the scene where music is written and printed by some sort of “machine” after only being played by the drummers. Someone HAS to be thinking of this tech already!

No child left behind

No, not THAT one. But think of places such as the far regions of the Amazon rainforest, where, as it stands, they have limited to no technology at their disposal. They live in what we consider an antiquated lifestyle, and yet, they seem content with their way of life. Do we have the right to impose technology? Maybe the introduction of a mobile device like a cell phone is what they are willing to embrace even though everyone else is light years ahead in terms of technology. How will we cope with this world wide technological divide?

Just some food for thought for the week. Happy April, everyone!

… – – – … (Course 2 Final Project)

Image via Pixabay

Course 2 has come and gone in a flash! There were great discussions of copyright and plagiarism; I learned so much and gained resources for images via Pixabay or Pexels. We spoke of online privacy and yet leaving positive digital footprints. Furthermore, we reflected on empowering connections among our students. The bottom line? Be a good person – on AND offline. And then all of a sudden, there was the final project. SOS! Where did THAT come from?! Help! I sent my very own SOS via Twitter. But first, I had to YouTube HOW to use Twitter (facepalm). Huge thanks to Carolin (@carolin_escobar) and Nick (@NicholasKGarvin) for coming to the rescue!

Final Project: Option 3-Responsible Use Agreement (RUA)/Responsible Use Policy (RUP)

Our group collaborated on modifying and updating an RUA from Nick’s school, UWC Thailand. The school currently does not have a Tech Director and any documents pertaining to technology was outdated. We opted to enhance the existing RUA by creating something more accessible for the students. Considering Nick and I both teach lower elementary students, I thought that it would be appropriate and valuable.  As a result, the language written in the student contracts were more age appropriate, and in addition, we created a resource for teachers to use to introduce and discuss proper use of equipment and fundamental aspects of digital citizenship – I present to you our Digital Citizenship Ebook for K-2.

The Ebook was created using Google Slides as the main platform. We collaborated on each slide by making comments, adding photos, videos, and additional resources. The Ebook can be easily customised by any teacher at any school, and it can also be shared with parents. The language, photos and videos were appropriate for K-2 students (including ELL students).

The Ebook has a corresponding Google Doc called the Digital Citizenship and and Responsible Use in the Primary School (K-5). The document restates the student behavior, proper use and fundamental aspects of digital citizenship under the headings of Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be Responsible – the school-wide essential agreements that students are already familiar with.


Google Hangouts (credit to Carolin Escobar)

The Course 2 Final Project was enlightening to say the least. We had to overcome challenges such as, how can we find a common meeting time to conduct a Google Hangout if we are in four different time zones?! Thanks to technology we were able to make this work. Comments on our Google Doc and Slides made it relatively easy for us to maintain contact in order to ask questions and receive feedback. Messages via Twitter also kept me on my toes. It helped me REMEMBER to check Twitter once in awhile. I am so thankful for my team for their knowledge, insight and patience during this project. 

Shukraan jazilaan!