Both of the chapters in the BEERs book reminded me a lot of what we have been talking about in Dr. Stearns’ other class: ENG 506, which is technology in the classroom. For those of you who aren’t in that class now, these chapters are good examples of issues that we explore in 506. Further, in chapter 10, there is extensive explorations of two books, one by Tom Friedman entitled The World is Flat and another by Dan Pink entitled A Whole New Mind. We have read both of these in 506, and I would recommend them to all of you! They provide a great foundation for understanding our global community and the kind of world that we and our students will soon be living in, and what kinds of skills they will need to thrive in the future. I particularly liked this chapter however, because it was from the point of view of an English teacher and instead of just reiterating what Pink and Friedman discuss, the author highlights the implications of these issues in ELA classrooms on page 153, when he writes of things that he is doing as an English teacher to ensure that his students are “effective collaborators and orchestrators” (153). Before he even got to this point, he mentioned another way that he is introducing his students to the real world: through his ACCESS class which he talks about on page 149. This is a great idea for teachers in any discipline, but I think we can especially appreciate the implications for ELA classes, as kids are developing another type of literate discourse. Kids get the opportunity to talk to people in a variety of occupations, and learn about the “literacy of adult life” which is probably going to be more complex challenging in the future, than ever before, the same future which our students will be inhabiting (149).
Clearly, the connection between these chapters is the evolving future, evolving technology and the need for kids to be able to thrive in a truly digital world. This connected to chapter 14, where Kajder talked about classroom projects and technology applications that students should be using, in order to develop skills that will aid them in the future. Chapter 14 also resonated with our goals in 506, as throughout the semester we have done a variety of projects that are mentioned in this chapter. I have already completed a podcast on slam poetry and a WebQuest, or web site with various activities, on the American Dream. Other students have done iMovies and Wikis. With these projects, kids are working for a real audience, and as Zhao Young, a technology advocate stated, “technology redefines talents.” And in the future our kids will need to be as talented as possible in order to compete in this world.