Hello GPP

As the end of the semester approaches and the Global Perspectives Program is nearing, I find myself excited about all of the opportunities this program presents.  I am finally able to see past all of the assignments that have bogged me down all semester, and looking ahead to GPP is getting more enticing by the minute.  Being able to immerse myself in the European education system is an experience that I hope will help me make a positive impact wherever I find myself in the future!

The last GEDI, I think not!

So this may be the last GEDI blog post for the semester, but our work is far from done.  I can see the parallels between 21st century education and the newest wave of (our namesake) Star Wars films.  It has been nearly 40 years since the original Star Wars movie, and even though it is still an amazing story, it has been time for an update.  In watching Episode VII, the recent edition to the epic saga, one can see how similar the story is to the original 1977 plot.  But the newest edition to this saga allows for much more inclusion and diversity.  I’ve heard people say that movies with minority and women as the main characters don’t tend to be as popular.  Well, Episode VII was the highest grossing film of all time!

 

Just as movies can be updated to the times, the same must happen for education.  The ways that teachers worked in the past do set a good a framework for what we do in education now, but we have a much more diverse population and meeting their individualized learning needs can be done.  The former “one size fits all” form of education has now become outdated.  We also have a whole new set of technological facilitators to learning that didn’t exist in prior teaching.

 

One quote that really stood out to me from Parker Palmer’s article A New Professional: The Aims of Education Revisited was this:

“Education in mathematics is a prime example. It was long assumed that females failed at math because their brains were structured differently than men’s. Then came a generation of pedagogues who saw the secret hidden in plain sight: Women are told early on that “girls can’t do math,” so they come to class with minds paralyzed by fear. Today, as many math educators pay attention to emotions as well as to the intellect, women succeed in math at rates similar to those of men” (p. 10).

This shows that it is time for us to update the way we see education.  I’m in Counselor Education, so focus on feelings is at the essence of what we do as educators.  Granted this is more specific to this field, but the whole point of being a GEDI is to learn from how other disciplines emphasize education.  I am excited to see that we have a female lead in the most recent couple of Star Wars movies that have come out.  The time has come for more inclusion and diversity in our culture, film, and especially education.  This may be “The Last GEDI” post for this semester, but the legacy of it will continue for years to come in all that we have taken away from this class.  We are the next generation of educators and therefore we have the force to make education all that it can be.  Let’s continue to improve education for the 21st century and more!

Attention! Can I have your attention please!

Ok, so attention and multitasking…  I am horrible when it comes to multitasking.  You all know by now how I Google big words that I don’t know when I’m in class.  I hardly ever just work on one thing at a time.  I’ve never been diagnosed with ADHD, but it’s probably a pretty fitting diagnosis.  I’m qualified to diagnose others with ADHD, but I don’t think I could do that for myself.  Anyway, (my point exactly) multitasking…  I will start on one assignment and then think about something that needs to be done on another and soon find myself bouncing between 3 or 4 different projects at once.  And the worst part is that I know the inefficiency of multitasking (aka polyphasia for those who also like to google big words).  I know that for each additional task added on to your workload that performance in each significantly decreases.

 

We can see in The Myth of the Disconnected Life the dangers of paying attention too much to the wrong things, such as focusing so much on one’s phone that you trip and fall into a fountain.  It would appear that the obsession with technology is not a new phenomenon.  I appreciated the story of how obsessed people were with the Kaleidascope in 19th century England.  That article talks about how people were mesmerized by it.  If you are interested in the origin of the word “mesmerized,” it has somewhat of a similar origin based on Franz Anton Mesmer.

One of my favorite videos for attention is this one:

So as you can see, sometimes we need to be more aware of how much attention we are paying to the events in front of us.

 

As I’ve been looking at these articles for the week and writing up this blog, I am reminded of where our blogging started out this semester.  We started with networked learning and how technology affects education and then moved on to mindful learning.  We have also covered methods of engaging the imaginations of digital learners.  It would seem to me based on this week’s readings that finding a good balance among these topics is important.  Technology can greatly facilitate learning, but focusing too much on technology (i.e. not being mindful of our surroundings) can lead to someone walking into a fountain!  I’m in favor of taking a digital Sabbath now and then because I greatly appreciate being disconnected now and then.  As much as technology is an integral part of my daily life (especially being a student), I appreciate disconnecting from time to time because I find myself noticing so much more about my surroundings.  The last vacation I was able to take was a cruise, and I was amazed how many people bought the internet package and were on their phones the whole time.  For as much as I multitask, I go on vacation to get away from the rest of the world!

 

I can see how the majority of the topics for this semester are related to attention in one way or another.  Inclusive pedagogy in itself requires quite a bit of attention to detail.  Taking time to recognize and be accepting of diversity does require time and energy, but it can create a learning environment well worth the extra attention.  Critical pedagogy really seemed to be an adjustment to attention on the part of the student.  Instead of having to sit and listen to the professor lecture for hours (hard to pay attention), students are more engaged with each other and thus able to better pay attention.

 

Ok, so true to my own multitasking, I was able to tie in how many of the different topics of this semester are related to attention (and add in a few tangents as well).  I think the main item I’m taking away from this is that technology can be a great tool that helps us accomplish so many tasks at once, but BALANCE is still an important concept to rely on.  We have to be able to take some opportunities to pay attention to ourselves, our own well being, and take a break from all that is out there for us to focus on at once.  As seen in the video, trying to pay attention to too much can cause you to miss out on what may be more important.