Posted in ECI 833, Uncategorized

Sesame Street and Modern Technology; Is there a connection?

I never would have imagined that Sesame Street would become a topic of research and discussion in a graduate class one day….? Who knew? Ultimately, it is a very valuable topic of conversation when looking at the value of educational TV shows, videos, and apps. One thing that is consistent throughout my grad classes is seeing the world around me through a different lens. My lens continuously changes and is disrupted. One thing for certain is the importance of questioning the validity of learning through educational resources such as videos and TV shows.

Postman wrote: “…We now know that “Sesame Street” encourages children to love school only if school is like “Sesame Street.” Which is to say, we now know that “Sesame Street” undermines what the traditional idea of schooling represents.”

When I think about the traditional idea of schooling, I visualize the teacher in front of the room lecturing to his/her students sitting in neat rows. Every student is sitting so diligently listening to their teacher.

traditional-classroom

Photo source

As research, teachers and students indicate, this teaching style can work for some students but does not work as well for others. Traditional teaching practices failed to teach a diverse group of learners and their learning styles. As we discovered last week, the Behavioursim, Cognitivism, and Constructivism  theories understand learning in a variety of ways. The consensus from last week was that students learn from a combination of learning styles rather than just one.

A show like “Sesame Street,” brought a “new way of learning” to our attention and challenged educators to “step it up!” Logically, a change was needed and educational TV shows provided education for multiple learning styles via visuals, music, and fast paced visuals. In a way, “Sesame Street” did “undermine the traditional idea of how students learn at school but it was a change that was needed. It is not surprising that children responded well to it and new teaching tools have continued to be introduced to the classroom ever since.

modern-classroom

Photo Credit

Including educational TV shows and videos in my classroom has always been something I’ve considered a positive thing. I often feel sorry for my students when I’m in the front of the room teaching and end up going off on a tangent. I look at many faces and notice that I have lost the attention of most of my students. Therefore, I love the idea of adding technology via videos (you tube, flocabulary, Rover, etc.,) blogging, the classroom blog, classroom dojo, etc., to support my goals and curricular outcomes. Educational technological research aside, experiencing first hand how students learn on a daily basis, helped me to realize this before technology in the classroom was even a common experience.

Realistically, I know that I can only hold my students attention for a limited amount of time before it is time to shift gears.  I found that a quote from Andrew’s post resonated with me.

I utilize videos in my classes a lot! They are helpful aids in learning, and they are oftentimes very entertaining. But I find that they compliment what I do and what I’m teaching, but the students always continue to learn more from what we are doing in class then what they see on the screen.

This is something I find to be true in my classroom. Videos are helpful aids and I am happy to have them. I try to be entertaining, add humour, act, change my voice, etc., but there is only so much entertaining that I am capable of. I am learning to be okay with the fact that I cannot entertain my students all of the time and they might be “bored.”  Having some boredom be apart of my student’s daily learning experience is part of life. I am only one person given the daunting task of teaching 25 plus students everyday, so practicing a variety of teaching methods to meet different learning styles is a logical choice.

Krista’s blog resonated with me too. I enjoyed watching many of the shows from the 70s and 80s. I sat and watched each of the video clips she shared while reminiscing about the shows that I thought I had forgotten. Sesame Street, The Friendly Giant, Mr. Dressup, and Romper Room were part of my daily life. I can’t really share my thoughts about educational TV shows because I never had children and so I wasn’t faced with making a decision about what TV shows I would or would not want my children to watch.

As a teacher, I can comment on “Magic School Bus” videos. They have been and remain popular amongst educators and students for about 20 years now. In fact, we watched a video just last week. These videos are informative, interesting, and imaginative!

On the flip side, I found an interesting article, “Learning Styles in the Modern Classroom.” The introduction paints a bleak picture of the role of a professor in today’s modern world.

With so many personal tech devices entering the classroom and encouraging multitasking, professors’ lessons are easily in one ear and out the other, especially if one ear is occupied with an earphone.

The article goes on to explain that it is not a coincidence that “innovations in education are recognizing the potential of blended teaching styles.” It states that, “Educational tools now have the potential to be as individualized and unique as the students using them. Rather than disregarding a student’s tendency to absorb information visually, aurally, kinesthetically, or through reading and writing, new technological tools being developed meet the learning styles of all learners.

According to this article,

instructors who can apply multiple teaching styles will appeal to more students and improve overall engagement among today’s easily distracted learners.

These statements ring true to me. Although, it is referencing college classrooms, it is still a concern for students of almost any grade level, with the exception of very young learners. We are challenged as educators to appeal to students interests, keep them engaged and on task when there are so many distractions surrounding them. BYOD is something I have never attempted with my class (grade 4 & 5 age level) but I know they would love it and be engaged. How does it work in your classroom?

I know how distracted I am with my smartphone so I am interested to hear how well it actually does work.

Technology is here to stay and so are multiple innovations in technology. Changing teaching styles seems to be the way of the present and future. As educators, how do we keep up with such a fast pace?

 

Advertisements

Author:

My name is Jennifer and I am a Grade 4/5 teacher with the Regina Public School Board. I am taking my 8th class towards my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. EC&I 833 Foundations of Educational Technology: History, Theory, and Practice.

2 thoughts on “Sesame Street and Modern Technology; Is there a connection?

  1. The introduction to your post really resonated with me- I too never imagined that I would be critically analyzing Sesame Street in a blog post!
    I wanted to focus this comment on the quote that you included, “instructors who can apply multiple teaching styles will appeal to more students and improve overall engagement among today’s easily distracted learners.” I fully agree with this statement, and I think the application of multiple teaching styles happens regularly in our K-12 system, but I am wondering about the university/college level? When I think back to my undergrad degree, it was hours upon hours of lecture. Will our “easily distracted learners” be willing or able to learn this way?

    Like

    1. Good question! I guess it depends on whether or not they have a choice. Hopefully, multiple teaching styles will trickle up to university/college level. I can’t see how it wouldn’t. It grades, the curve and class averages are showing a decline, teaching strategies and learning styles would be the most logical areas to make some changes.
      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s