For my C4T Assignment #3 I was assigned the blog Cooperative Catalyst. This blog is unique because it does not just feature one teacher or classroom. This is a cooperative blog by over twenty educators that post regularly on this blog. A majority of the bloggers also have their own individual blogs that they post frequently to as well. This blog has definitely made it on my PLN. The vision of this blog is "Passionate educators challenge one another to propose sustainable solutions and structures for re-imagining schools and education, supporting one another to enact and refine the ideas." When exploring this blog I realized that many of the educators that post of this blog and have their own blogs are ones that we take a look at at some point in the semester through C4T assignments or blog post assignments. For instance one of the most recent blog posts we did was to take a look at Mr. John Spencer's work and he is one of the regular bloggers through this blog. I enjoyed reading the blog post on here, but what I found even more interesting was the discussion below. This would be similar to our comments section, but instead it is discussion based. In many posts the educators themselves have discussions on the blog post topic, but this also allows readers to join in the discussion. For instances if I had a question about a project Mr. Spencer commented on, many times the other educators, along with Mr. Spencer, would input in their tips and suggestions. I thought this was really neat. If you explore this blog or any of the posts, be sure to not just read the post itself, but also pay attention to the discussion below.
The first post that I commented on was Meaningful Education: Not an App Not Rote. This post was written by Joshua Block Humanities Teacher at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. Mr. Block talks about the balance that he has in his classroom of using technology and also having meaningful discussions based on a written journal entry in his students' composition books. The statement that stuck out to me the most was: "I use technology not because it is fancy or flashy but because, when I successfully integrate technology into my teaching practice my students are able to research, collaborate, and create in exceptional ways." Many on the outside world of education and even many within education believe that technology is all about playing games that are educational and make learning super fun. Using technology is actually about expanding students' knowledge base and resources. Technology opens up many more possibilites to education. When I commented on this post I included many of the comments I have posted above, as well as, my appreciation for an educator that is preparing students to be well rounded students that can easily adjust in higher education and in the career world. Because pen and paper is still used in some subjects in higher education and in some careers, it is important for students to be able to have both skills. As our society sifts completely to using technology in everything we do this will loose importance in our education system. I believe that if our education system properly trained students to use technology in a helpful and resourceful manner, then the rest of society and the career world would make a complete switch. Because we do not have students that are taught to use technology appropriately then employers do not want to spend the time teaching them so we are causing ourselves to fall behind. The education system needs to take the lead in equipping students to use the world of technological resources.
The second post that I commented on was a post by Mr. John Spencer, Why I Won't Be Neutral. This post was a reflection of a situation Mr. Spencer encountered in his classroom recently. One of his students and the student's family was forced to go back to Mexico. They had come to America after their village was hit-up by drug violence and the student's dad had worked every job he could to support his family in America. He worked in the construction business. Although Juan had worked just as hard, if not harder, than most of the other students in his class he was being forced to go back to his home country because of immigration laws. Mr. Spencer commented on the fact that it is hard to be neutral when these situations affect your student's education. I applauded Mr. Spencer's courage to stand up and address this issue on his blog. If I am placed in a situation similar to this in my career as an educator, I am not sure how I would deal with it. I think that I would be very torn. I have really enjoyed reading the Cooperative Catalyst blog these past few weeks. This is another blog that I have added to my PLN.