What does the 4th of July mean to you?
As I recently found out not everyone is aware of the text of this document that has helped shape the course of events that have allowed this small group of colonies to become one of the most powerful nations in the world. NPR shared the complete text of the Declaration of Independence a document written over 200 years ago, but some saw it as an attack on the current Trump administration or a call for violent revolution to our current government. Here is the article with some examples of responses to NPR. What should we make of the responses to NPRs posting of the Declaration of Independence?
This week I like many others enjoyed time with family and friends. We watched some fireworks and took a break from work to enjoy the experiences that were available to be present with others. What I found myself conscious of was the fact that I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about why we have the 4th of July as a day off of work and a day we celebrate as a National Holiday. I didn't think about the events that lead up to this day, or the sacrifices that people made to allow us to celebrate our Independence from a government that was tyrannical and unresponsive to the needs of the people. I realize that I didn't take time to reflect on the meaning of this momentous occasion.
Tonight I have just a few questions that don't have to be answered right away. I hope you will take a few minutes or hours or even days to contemplate your responses. We are not in the normal 1 hour time slot as I want to honor the meaning of Independence Day with reflection.
Tonight our chat is going to be just a couple of questions posted and allow you to respond with video responses. This could be you creating a selfie video, or creating a voice over of images that represent your answer, or videos you have found that represent your ideas, or links to resources that fit the situation.
Q1. What does the 4th of July mean to you?
Q2. How do you honor the ideals of Independence Day or the sacrifice others made to allow us to have our freedom?
Q3. Are we, as a nation living up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution?
Q4. How do we instill the ideals of America especially Independence and Freedom into our students so they understand the value of these concepts and act to ensure them for all?
To share your videos - you can create a flipgrid video. This is the first time I am attempting to use Flipgrid, so let the adventures commence! Here is the link https://flipgrid.com/7b976d
Here is the flipgrid for Q2 https://flipgrid.com/2640fd
Q3 and Q4 you can create additional posts to flipgrid, or just create videos or text posts to share your ideas.
You can use flipgrid to create your video, or upload one that you have already made. Join the conversation about what the 4th means to you.
I went to a conference a year ago or so and remember someone posed a question about the value of youtube to education. They had asked how much do we learn ourselves from watching youtube videos. A few years earlier than that I might not have had the same response, but I have found the power of youtube in my own life. I have included a few examples of the things that I have learned from watching youtube videos. While many of these are about home repair, the list would be immense if I included all of the videos I have watched to learn something new. These would include TED Talks, Khan Academy, and a multitude of science videos, and others including many created by students making videos on their own time centered on their own interests.
I learn a lot from watching these videos. I am a visual learning who understands things better by seeing them done. I know many of our students utilize youtube to learn the things they are passionate about, sometimes it is how to do a new trick on their skateboard, bike, with a fidget spinner, or to pass a level of a video game. Others turn to it for opportunities to learn about books, movies, celebrities, they are interested. The list of interests and opportunity for viewing and more importantly creating content are endless.
Youtube is one potential way to tap into student learning. We can leverage it as a place to house content for students, but it can also be a great example to inspire students to create their own content. Students can demonstrate their learning through the creation of videos, tutorials, and other projects that demonstrate their mastery.
Beyond Youtube, we have the opportunity to move education forward through more individualization of their learning. If we offer students choice in how they will present their mastery of learning, we will be more likely to engage their interests and allow them to shine. If we provide them more choices in the topics they will study, the more likely we will see our more reluctant learners engage in the activity. This could be as simple as allowing students opportunity to choose which book or story they will read.
Another example of this is our High School Social Studies teachers are approaching history in the 11th grade through various perspectives. Students are able to choose which path of study they want to embark upon. They can choose from War and Conflict, Culture and Religious studies, to several other perspectives that they will explore historical events from. This allows them choice in the way they will explore events of our past.
The idea of individualized education takes planning and foresight and effort, yet it is a path we must begin the journey forward. Our students have access to information on a scale we have never seen before. They have opportunities to learn anywhere anytime. This should be embraced as a positive in light of the potential to change the structure of education.
I have participated in the Twitter chat #Whatisschool several times and each time find inspiration that there is a powerful force at work in attempting to rein-vision education and especially public schools. There have been conversations about Homework, Grading, and so many other topics that I think need to happen in order to move us forward.
Today I listened to a great TEDx video by Seth Godin. Here is his post that accompany's his video. In his video, Seth asks What is School For? As part of my Administrative coursework I am reading a book "American Education" by Joel Spring. The book illustrates the ideas of Horace Mann and others in shaping public education as a way to prepare our children for lives beyond school. I think that vision continues today. However Mann and others, and many today don't necessarily want to see a free thinking citizenry ready to question society, government, parents or other authority figures. There are those who view education as a pipeline to create workers who will be subservient to the CEOs or bosses of the companies who are focused on profits. A lot of this I already understood as someone who taught History and Sociology. What I came to realize is the large scale efforts and by so many different groups to achieve very similar results at work behind the scenes in public education. What stood out to me about this post and the video was the fact he was not only brining to light the issue, but also looking at ideas for change. We need to get rid of memorization and factoid knowledge and replace it with inquiry and individual choice. Some of the things he discussed would be so revolutionary for education that the way school looks and operates would forever change. It might be a lot more of a blended model of education where students access content online and engage with instructors face to face later. It might be difficult to have schools with the traditional brick and mortar buildings in place as students can chose from a variety of courses that suit their interests and needs.
I like his comparison between work and art. The idea that we will work tirelessly and go well beyond expectations for things we are passionate about is absolutely true.
There were so many interesting points. I encourage you to take a look.