21st Century Learning: “Art Smart” TeachersWe have several generations of teachers currently leading the classrooms of the world. These teachers may have been born as early, for arguments sake, as 1930 and as late as 1985. It’s quite safe to say that all of these generations of teachers have experienced eras in time that are all far different than our current era – the current era of our youngest students. This phenomenon is only going to advance at a more rapid pace and the adaptability of our teachers to this learning curve will determine the value (or lack thereof) of our academic systems worldwide. Call it “reverse education” whereby we are seeing for the first time in history that many students are more technologically educated than those responsible for teaching them, hence . . . it’s the students (whether they know it or not) educating or “raising the bar” for the teachers worldwide. So in fact, the term 21st Century Education is more self serving than anything. It’s a buzz word for teachers to share amongst themselves in order to propagate higher learning, Ed Tech and in no uncertain terms, provide themselves with a sense of assurance that they’re getting with the program but more importantly . . . employable. It’s inevitable that the Board of Education, on a global scale, have no choice whatsoever but to have their hands forced into a 21st Century Learning mentality or else face worldwide scholarly criticism of being archaic in and of their own profession.
The Tail’s Teaching the Old Dog New TricksThere’s a fine line, a cutoff point at which any one teacher can truly understand the generation of the students they’re teaching. This is nothing new. It’s always been this way. The only difference now is, and it’s a very BIG difference, that technology’s changing the world at a rapid rate and has a direct effect on A) a students ability to learn and B) a teachers ability to teach. While we’ll never be walking parallel lines in unison , we do need to wake up and smell the coffee. Hard as they may try, a lot of teachers are still trying to “wrap their heads around” these new concepts and who can blame them? Change is hard for a lot of people to adapt to whereas, kids ARE change. They adapt without even realizing it. It’s a fact that the older generation is “square” and always ridiculing the younger generation and comparing themselves as kids. We should recognize by now that this is irrelevant and has absolutely no bearing whatsoever other than the fact that is makes older people appear selfish and lonely, failing to go with the flow and progress. While older people, teachers, parents, politicians etc. are here to guide the young, we’re not here to thwart their progress or to pass judgment on how different our lives were than theirs are now. This, in my opinion is the number one stumbling block that educators must avoid at all costs. Would it be so embarrassing to have younger teachers educating the elder teachers? Sometimes the only thing standing in the way of progress is our ego. Music teachers needn’t feel threatened by the introduction of iPads and electronic music into their classrooms. Classic music lessons will never be replaced nor will the students desire to play a piano or violin, yet there needs to be accommodations made for the “New Musician” – the musician that taps on a glass screen to achieve the results they’re hearing inside their heads.
B.Y.O.D. in 21st Century language meaning, Bring Your Own Device.With the budget restraints in the public school boards these days, the concept of BYOD is one that most school boards should be thankful for. Three hundred iPads per school, per city, translates to a massive unforeseen budget increase. While it seems like the perfect marriage between school boards and the households, we can’t help but be reminded of the needs of the underprivileged. Not all households can afford to purchase iPads or laptops for their children. Some are on welfare, have low income jobs and are feeling the pressure to “compete” with the Jones’ on many other levels let alone purchasing social devices. Kids will be kids. They see their friends with all these desirable devices and want one too. Who could blame them really? Combine that with most children’s nonchalent attitude regarding their care for their belongings and you’ve now got parents who are hesitant to purchase expensive, but helpful items for their children in the first place, coupled with the reality that they may lose them or break them within a matter of days. Our son loses everything: sweaters, gloves, USB keychains, his lunch bag . . . He has no regard for his belongings no matter how much we impose our suggestions on him as to the proper care of them so, the thought of sending him to school with an iPad or a laptop is very unsettling to us. Whether or not a family can afford to send their children to school with iPad’s and laptops is one thing. The students accountability is yet another. I see this as a good problem to have but one that needs a combined effort from the parent and the teachers (it is after all a collaboration, isn’t it?) to expend more effort on teaching the children about personal accountability in tandem with staying competitive as an academic entry.
” . . . companies may face regulatory obligations, and they’ll certainly have security concerns.”In a classroom consisting of Grade 2 to Grade 8 kids, it’s a pretty smooth marriage. Enter the corporation . . . Consider, for example, data access. Users want easy, immediate access to business information, from a wide variety of devices. But at the same time, companies may face regulatory obligations, and they’ll certainly have security concerns. So businesses will invariably want assurance that their data resides where it is supposed to, and any risk that it may be compromised — say, via a stolen device — can be eliminated. While it’s a huge financial advantage to businesses and schools to have their employees and/or students subsidize their operating costs, we inevitably run into the grey area of “who’s the boss” of these devices (iPads, Cellphones, laptops). When a company demands that they have complete access to your device and insist that corporate passwords be in place before you access personal emails, or Facebook posts, it’s easy to become jaded.
“We can’t rely on secular strategies to solve social inconsistencies.”Do we then teach our children that this is the new “norm”, and they should acknowledge corporate/academic demands or, do we say, “Just wait a second here . . . I’m (collectively) saving you thousands of dollars with this BYOD (savings) strategy, and you want what?” While it’s so convenient on both sides of the spectrum, what’s right? In my opinion, business is business. If you want to compete, belly up to the bar. Provide your employees with the hardware necessary to get the job done. If you’re the employee/student, leave your personal device at home and subscribe to the mandates of your employer. It’s as simple as that. Evolve with the times or get left behind. The employer doesn’t ask you to bring your own desk, chair, computer or telephone to the job. They’re subscribing to your ability to do what THEY need in order to be successful. Why should they request you to BYOD? Convenience is the Mother of disaster in this case. Let’s refocus. With respect to those who cannot afford their own devices, should there be separate rules? i.e.: the school provides those who can’t afford an iPad with an iPad BUT they can’t use that device for any personal data. Seems reasonable, no? NO. This breeds segragration in the classroom and identifies those whom are not in the same class. We need to have hope. Hope that those whom are not as fortunate, someday become more enabled to participate. We can’t rely on secular strategies to solve social inconsistencies. As usual . . . I’d love to hear your opinions. Please login to leave comment…
When I was a kid in school, the only hope I had for ever becoming involved in the recording end of the music business was to land a job in a recording studio, and the average kid’s chance of that ever happening was about 1 in a million. The only other possible option was to get a huge loan from the bank and build your own however, without the experience necessary to run a recording studio, banks didn’t look to favorably on this option.
Even as technology advanced toward the days of the home studio, companies such as Teac/Tascam began making 4 track open reel recorders but for a young teen, these too provided many financial woes. It wasn’t just the recorder that you needed in order to make recordings. You also needed a mixer, microphones, keyboards, guitars, amplifiers, speakers and the list goes on. The kicker is that, none of this high tech, expensive recording equipment guaranteed you with a “hi-fi” result. The equipment was only as good as the operator.
Assuming that you’d made a decent recording, how were you ever going to get it out there to the masses? There were no YouTube or Facebook sites for you to boldly solicit your awesome recordings. You were at the mercy of record companies, managers, publishers and the like. Once again, as a recording engineer, producer or songwriter, you were in the “dime a dozen” category. Millions were trying to do exactly what you were doing but without the assistance of social media.
There were no schools at that time specializing in Recording Engineering or Music Production. You were pretty much on your own unless you happened to know someone in the “biz”. By the mid 1980’s it became even more complicated. Digital technology was introduced. All of a sudden, and in the matter of a couple of years, analog technology was being weeded out in favor of the new digital technology. Vinyl recordings were being replaced with CD’s and computers were being introduced to the recording studios. If you didn’t embrace them, your days were silently numbered.
More and more recording facilities were using a digital recording system called ProTools. The majority of seasoned professionals scoffed at the idea of using a computer to record “high quality” records with and to this day, there are still many who are hanging onto that the theory that analog recordings are still the way to go. Unfortunately, those professionals are now mostly unemployed.