I agree with a lot of what Alan November is saying in his video, but I don’t know if I would go so far as to say he needs to weigh Iran’s viewpoint as if it were an American journalists viewpoint either. I do agree in principle with what he is stating, and I do think there are many ways to utilize the universal classroom that we are only beginning to see and think about today. Even locally, I have been videoconferencing more over the past year, and without COVID-19, I don’t know if I would have done that until I was somewhat forced to do so.
Another point that I completely agree with is Alan’s point on youth and their relationship to technology. They are nowhere near as savvy as they are made out to be in the media, but it is no fault of their own. In the world of programming there is a concept known as layer of abstraction. I relate this to the above-mentioned relationship of kids and technology, meaning they have just come into the world of technology at a much different point than you or I did. They know how to use technology and have different relationships with technology, but they do lack certain skills, like critical thinking, that prove to be needed in the world of computers and beyond. But in fairness, I did not have great critical thinking skills as a young man either (sometimes I still don’t). I do not think that 21st century skills and Web 2.0 skills must be intertwined. There is certainly benefits to thinking logically and in computational thinking, but do we want all young people to think the same way? I personally do not. I do think that basic computer skills are helpful and will be helpful to our society, but not all young people want to spend time with computers. I have many students that just want to draw, or play basketball or the bass guitar, and I like that. I think critical thinking is extremely important, but as a middle-school teacher, I honestly think it is overused. Now creativity, collaboration, and communication are another story. I feel they are all vital to everyone, young people included. I also think we have an obligation to try and instill this into young people at a young age, so they can use it to make their lives more fruitful. Communication is important every day in so many ways. Creativity too is crucial, and I see it manifest in music, art, and engineering. Everyone can benefit from using creativity. Humans are drawn to it. Collaboration is the Achilles heel that I see with young people. Not all young people of course, but many are overly anxious, trepidatious to speak to others, have issues with authorities, just to name a few. I think where we find ourselves socially is amplifying this. I really try to find ways for my students to collaborate, and I also struggle the most with getting my students to collaborate, but I feel it is a fight that needs to be waged.
Lastly, I certainly feel technology helps support a diverse range of students. From assistive technology, to accessibility tools, to gamification, there are so many ways to reach students. This is a world that I have had experience with in the past and continue to work on as a teacher. It is exciting to see what is available, but I think there is so much work that is still left to be done regarding exceptional students. Personally, in my classroom, I have been using gamification to help unify and level the “playing field” and it has provided some exciting results. Some students that excel in virtual worlds are ones you never hear from on other days. Some love to share what they know as well, which is always an interesting experiment. I am excited to see where a lot of technology that exists comes together within the classroom and beyond!
November, A. [The Brainwaves Video Anthology]. (2014, May 5). Alan November - Who Owns the
Learning? Preparing Students for Success in the Classroom [Video]. YouTube.