The Youth of The Nation

Greetings to Friend and Foe alike,

I don’t know it it’s the old age (I’ve been officially a non-teenager for 2 months now ūüėČ ), or education taking its toll on my life outside university, but I notice a changing in my attitude to, well, everything. But the most noticeable change is in regards to the young people¬†(including the people my age, so let’s¬†say between 12 and 25)¬†I observe in everyday life, or more accurately; the negative aspects of them.

Example #1: WindscreenWiper Dude

My route home includes the Manning Rd off-ramp onto Canning HWY, a favourite hangout for youths who offer to wash your car windsheild for a few bucks. I normally remain impassive to these kids, as that is what they are, and because once they get the “No thanks” signal they move onto the next car. Except for 2 Fridays ago, when one of them darted around the back of my car unnanounced and unninvited, and lathered up my windscreen with as much detergant as he could as quick as he could so there was no time to say for me to say no. So naturally I wound down my window and said “Sorry mate, but can you clear that stuff off my windsheild? I only washed this beast (sarcasm inserted here – I drive a Mazda 323 from the same year I was born)¬†yesterday“. This was met with “But man, look, huh, I’ve started! Gotta pay up man“. I went for the the teacher voice and said “Sorry, but you started without asking¬†me so I won’t be paying you. Just wipe it off for me”. This request was greeted with “F*** off, c***” and then he started to walk away, leaving my windsheild looking like Sinatra’s White Christmas. At 6ft 6in I have a pretty imposing height advantage over most people, and he did notice this when I got out of the car and said “Mate, you have 2 choices: Either you wipe that crap off my car, or I make you lick it off. Your choice”. (I’d like to make a note here that I am not violent or aggressive in anyway. In fact I probably need to be moreso. I’m not a fighter, I’m a bleeder).

Anyway, he decided that it was in his best interest to wipe the stuff off, muttering a string of curses and doing the worst passable job he could. The fact I wonder is this: Who the hell are this kid’s role-models? From the way he dressed I would assume it was 50 Cent, and the fact that he used the term “Thats so gangsta!” to one of his friends makes me pity this poor misguided kid. We used to be able to follow the example of high-profile sport stars, but with the Ben Cousins and Jana Rawlinsons of this world leading our kids the world would be ruined by 2020. The last truly inspirational Australian political leader was Gough Whitlam, and since then we’ve been burdened with sneaky, corrupt weasels and nerds who¬†either care more about their own social and economic positions than the people they govern or are so boring you would chew your arm off after 3 minutes of conversation with them. The most economically stable and affluent people in society are drug-dealers. Pop Tarts like the Pussycat dolls disgrace themselves but make millions of dollars by catering directly to pre-pubescent girls’ dreams of growing up to be¬†“The number-one chick when I step out on the scene“.¬†People kill and maim on the streets of Northbridge and Fremantle over everything from the wrong look to the wrong girl. And these are the people that this generation are most exposed to. As teachers, how much can we hope to accomplish with all this to contend with? However hard I’ll tell you this: Its definately something worth fighting for.

C

Inspiration

Rarely do we think and reflect on what inspires us to be who we are, on what and who alters our lives and passions.

On Tuesday morning, a good friend of mine called Emu (he runs like an emu)¬†from CBC Amateur Football Club passed away after a miraculous 17 day fight with an extremely rare type of pneumonia that has been diagnosed 5 times previously in the world. For this to happen to a compassionate, gentle man at the age of 25 is of course extremely sad, and makes it hard for me to believe in a higher power who clearly thinks that this is acceptable but allows the users, the corrupted and the evil to not only survive, put prosper. A good thing I’m not religious. The inspiring and important part of this story is that 15 days ago, Emu’s parents were called to the hospital to say goodbye as the doctors believed he wouldn’t survive the night. To the medical staff’s disbelief, he fought on through the night, and then 14 more nights, showing strength, courage and resilience to rival any previously encountered. Unfortunately he faded quickly over the last 24 hours, and his family turned off life support early on Tuesday.

To think that 3 days ago I would have been having a whinge about a mild workload at uni that was getting in the way of work, cricket and, to be honest, drinking time, seems laughable to me now. To look at it that way when there’s a bloke trying to beat something that is eating his lungs puts so many things in perspective for me, highlighting the importance of doing the best we can, while we can. If even once in my life I could show the courage and strength that Emu showed over the last 2 weeks, I could die a happy man.

Video Streaming in Education

Dear those that have stumbled across this page for reasons best known to yourself (and thanks for doing so),

Last week I was able to take an idea presented in one unit of study and apply it to a strategy observed in a completely different unit, an event that I believe benifits my education regardless of the fact that it only occurs once a semester if I’m lucky. Anyway, a presentation was held in my computing class on the uses and practical implications of streaming video in classrooms, ie YouTube, Teachers.tv, Keepvid, etc. The whole presentation was nothing short of brilliant (kudos to Mat and Simon), althoughthere was an obvious lack of information on GodTube, a site similar to YouTube that concentrates on supplying teachers with religious propaganda. We need to know what to avoid as well as use ;). Two days before this presentation, our Reflective Practice tutor provided the class with an example of a teaching resource (a Bee-Bot, a weird little Bee looking thing that moves on pre-ordered commands)¬†that has limitless teaching opportunities, from graphing to attention gaining to narrative writing. The most important part I took out of that lesson was when she said; “The Bee-Bot is the tool, the resource: Not the lesson itself”. This was the first thing I thought of when streaming video was being talked about the other day. With live video in a classroom being such a powerful tool that involves all members of the class from the first second, the¬†importance of monitoring and moderating from the teacher has never been higher. Another question arises from the thought that surely teacher’s and all the filtering programs and software in the world can’t erase the possibilty of students abusing streaming video? I suppose we just do the best we can with such an important resource, and deal with the problems when they arise. To end on a rare positive: Streaming video sure has a place in my class, even if its just to start the day off with something funny.

Over and Out, C

Response to Responses

Hmm, why do I feel like I’ve just kicked a beehive? I should mention that I love this feeling. Sincere thank you’s to Jane Lowe, Toni Twiss, Miss W, Erin Freeman, murcha and Ms. McGraw; by you sharing your personal and practical experiences involving classroom blogging I’m beginning to warm to it. I don’t believe that the opportunities and implications are “limitless”, but¬†I can certainly see a place for it. I even used the idea in a recent assignment at uni, so its creeping into my practices already, and I don’t mind, actually. I would like to extend a formal invitation to Steve Masden to find somewhere else to vent his¬†powerful yet¬†unhelpful sarcasm. It takes an incredibly narrow mind to take the complete extremities of a statement and attack or revamp it for their own personal glory. Oh and I also enjoyed the way you completely bypassed the part where I actually declared my openess to change and adaptations, but hey your whole page of”Nah,…” is still impressive, although redundant.

On the same vein of thought, I ‘ve recently been thinking about the whole idea of life-long learning. I’ve always said it was part of my philosophy, but am I truly open to change? Can I adapt not only to new technology but new people and ideas? I don’t see why not, although its probably easier said than done. Its easy to learn a few theories at uni, but putting them into practice will be the real test for me, I believe anyway.

On another educational note, I was in a classroom the other day and the controlling teacher had an interesting approach to her students. This basically consisted of¬†glorifying the work and ideas of the same two students every 2 minutes, with little or no praise for the other children in the class. I couldn’t help empathising with the rest of the class; How are you supposed to feel worthy and engaged in an environment in which you are consistently brushed aside to make way for the teacher’s messiahs, who to be perfectly honest were nothing special, they just knew how to play this teacher.

Is it just me or are there more practices we need to avoid than implement? “Remain positive at all times” indeed.

C

Hi there! Convince me I need this.

Hey, welcome to the first post on this blog. The main questions I have surrounding blogging is the prevention of its abuse. Sure, there is a place for it, but unfortunately the process has been corrupted by a nation of self-centred socially awkward ego-rats that have nothing better to do than virtually scream and demand that everyone pay attention to them and everything from their pets to their ideas to their most recent trip on the bus. I really object to¬†the¬†guy we studied last week on¬†the video saying that Samuel Peeps was the first blogger because he kept a detiled journal of reflections and experiences. The difference is he wrote for himself as a method of personal development and expression, not a public example of self-promotion. If I’m to use this technology in the classroom, I certainly see a use for it in terms of social interactions between students and teachers outside of the classroom, but honestly; where is the line? It seems impossible to prevent and/or account for the misuse and abuse of blogs in the classroom. What’s to stop little Jimmy calling Freddy all sorts of things on the most public stage in the world beacuse he din’t pass the footy to him at recess? It sounds like this teaching tool has the potential to cause more problems than it solves.