Technology, Sesame Street, and School

What is the traditional idea of school nowadays? To me, when I think of traditional schooling a few things come to mind: all straight rows, no technology, writing notes off of the chalkboard, mad minutes in math, big booklets about nouns, verbs, adjectives, and tons and tons of tests. Instead of viewing Sesame Street as undermining traditional schooling, we should view it as a positive step forward. It helped bridge some cultural gaps and made learning engaging. I can still recall a song I learned in grade 1 about vowels…. “A, E, I O, U… sometimes Y, oh me oh my, these are vowels and they are fun, each word has at least one!” This is incredible that I can still remember it and it helped me throughout my elementary years when spelling words and understanding what vowels are. On a website Bright Horizons, there is an article that supports music in child development. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills.

Why wouldn’t we as educators want to reach as many students as we can? The website also highlights that music isn’t just about academic intelligence but it ignites the development of children socially, emotionally, linguistically, as well as creates a sense of readiness for school. Sesame Street was viewed as parents as a way out of educating their children. Rather they could use Sesame Street as a method of engaging their children in the learning process. In addition, Postman talked about how, “anything worth learning can take the form on an entertainment, and ought to”. No matter the classroom, school, or students we are teaching, as long as we can engage them, that is where the best learning can take place.

Now what is the importance of AV in schools?

Far too often people who are not in the ‘education world’, will critique teachers who allow phones or “too much” technology. But just as the article The importance of audio visual technology in education states, “…AV creates a stimulating and interactive environment which is more conducive to learning”. Another reason we should expose students to AV in schools is because it is extremely relevant in their futures. Perhaps they want to engage in a business venture, become an engineer, or even work as a broadcaster. This is supported in the article through the statement “…There will be an increasing need for employees to possess higher level IT skills to cope with the demand for producing more innovative IT products”. We as teachers are at the forefront. We can empower students to become future leaders with technology by teaching our students and learning alongside them with the use of AV! AV in school cannot be what we may remember in our schooling. Teachers rolling out the TV cart for an educational video or wheeling out the overhead projector. We have the power to lead and show students a variety of technological apps and resources to help benefit their learning. Thea article also states that “Not exposing children to different forms of technology is depriving them of vital learning opportunities that could benefit them in later life for example through increased career opportunities. AV lessons should not just consist of children working in pairs on a PowerPoint presentation or rewriting a piece of work using Word, ICT should be challenging, exciting and fun.” This statement couldn’t ring more true to me.

Elizabeth Hartnell-Young, formulated a study about ‘How Mobile Phones Help Learning in Secondary Schools’. The results demonstrated students could be more imaginative and phones could be used for photography classes, recording science experiments, or even just recording yourself reading so students could analyze their own reading abilities or share with peers who were absent. I think we need to come to realized that phones can be used as an educational resource in our classrooms. There are always going to be downfalls or downsides to using technology, but if we teach our students in an informative and engaging way, they will be able to make good choices when it comes to tech use. We will never be able to monitor their music choices, if they go on social media, etc. But what if we include social media in our classes. That has the opportunity to engage students and make learning relevant!

As far as the format of schooling, there are more opportunities for students to take online classes throughout high school. There are a few reasons I support this. To begin, students who are independent have the opportunity to work a pace that is pleasant for them and for others, perhaps they are an elite athlete and usually miss school for games, tournaments, or practices. This is a flexible learning space for them to engage in. Even in this class, it demonstrates that we can use technology and meet online while still benefiting from engaging in learning opportunities with our peers. Having zoom breakout rooms allows for those small group interactions that can be built into classroom discussions. Therefore, for those who do not enjoy speaking in front often larger group, have the opportunity to share their voice through smaller breakout groups.

One thought on “Technology, Sesame Street, and School

  1. Pingback: How does Technology change the Classroom? – ottenbreitblog

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