The Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality Revolution

There are two technologies that have really captured the attention of educators as well as futurists. These are artificial intelligence and virtual reality. What are the implications of these new technologies in education? Quite simply they can revolutionize our educational system. The question is, at what cost to the educator? There are many articles that state that technology will never replace a teacher, but I am of the opinion that technology might not replace a great teacher, but technology is already replacing the traditional, average teacher. Let’s consider a classroom of a traditional teacher: Students come into the classroom and begin to work on a worksheet. The teacher then delivers the content for that class. It might be a lecture, video, or reading from a text. Then the students do an activity with that newly learned content. Then the teacher offers more work to practice the content usually in the form of homework. Generally this is a standard day in a classroom of a traditional teacher. Do you see anything in this example that cannot be done by Artificial Intelligence or a Virtual World? Here are five things that an AI/VR school system can do just as easily as a Read More …

Teach the Future, Guest Post by Peter Bishop

When should students begin to learn about the future? Should they learn about the future at all? That’s a rhetorical question, of course, because the future is not yet part of any curriculum that I know of. Nevertheless, the South Park Elementary Center is one of the few schools that have actually taught the future. Jason Legg, a technology teacher, taught three lessons on the future last year with the concurrence of Dr. Furman. Does not sound like much, but it is a big step forward. Before describing the lessons, let me sort things out. First of all, we all know that history is one of the core subjects in school, from Pre-K through the general education requirements in college, but there is virtually no mention of the future in schools. Why is that? One simple reason is that teachers have not been taught about the future so they cannot teach what they do not know. Another, more complicated reason is that teaching the future is different from teaching most other subjects. Most teachers focus on the content in their subject, the stuff in the textbook. History is about the periods and events of the past. So students learn about Read More …

Dr. Rob Presenting at #PAMLE2017 in State College, PA

Register for the PA Association for Middle Level Education (PAMLE) / PA Association of Student Assistance Professionals (PASAP) State Conference here:  http://pamle.org/conference2017 Dr. Robert Furman will be presenting two sessions on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at The Penn Stater Conference Center, State College, PA 1:45 – 2:45 PM Motivating the Reluctant Reader Through Technology In this exciting presentation, Dr. Rob delivers a fresh approach to integrating modern technology and reading, making them completely complementary. Dr. Rob presents many technological resources that can easily be introduced into the 21st classroom; from websites, to video conferencing, to ‘apps’, in order to bring a new, refreshing approach to reading. Further, Dr. Rob discusses practical applications for each of these resources, bringing to light ways educators and schools can use these resources in an appropriate, budget-friendly, effective manner to see a shift in active reading among their students. 3:00 – 4:00 PM Are You Future Ready? Education is the wild west of the 21st century and I could not choose a more exciting time to be in education. This presentation will discuss various ways to look at change and the necessary skills needed in the 21st century. Might it be time for an Education revolution? What Read More …

The History and Future of Public Education in the US

The concept of history repeating itself is an interesting notion when considering what the future may hold for public education. Right now, in the United States, I would say that Public Education is in quite a precarious position. Let’s take a look at our past to see if we can predict what might be in store for the future of public education. Public education, as we know it, was created by the Committee of 10 during the industrial revolution. This committee used three major organizational systems of its time to help create public education: the factory, the church, and the prison system. The committee took from the factory the orderly rows, 40 minute schedule with breaks, identical outcomes and an assembly line mentality with no need for creativity or “outside the box” thinking. The jail brought us punishment with no thought of learning through consequence, top down, heavy handed management with order and conformity. The church gave us our teaching style- the lecture. The church also gave us the concept of “sit quietly and listen and I will tell you everything you need to know”. It taught us that there is only one person that holds all the knowledge and Read More …

A Teacher who gets it!

I was wandering around the educational blog world and I found this really simple looking site about math. As I looked around I found this post: http://new-to-teaching.blogspot.com/2016/06/clash-royale-and-unit-rates.html The person who wrote it is named Trevor Reech. Congratulations man! You get it! This article is about using a video game called Clash Royale. He uses this game to not only have students working with math on their interest level, but he gets them to think and problem solve. He makes them defend their decisions based on math and results of the game. He makes them WRITE!! OMG!! If anyone ever wants a real world example of how to use video games in a classroom this is a prime example of a job well done! Thanks Trevor for doing it the 21st century way. Share your thoughts with us by posting on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook using the hashtag #DrRobAnswers!

Warning! Music Class Will Never Be the Same!

I have never been shy when it comes to asserting my opinions about the need for educators to “get with the 21st century program”. My recent post on the need for a video game curriculum met with a very positive response. This post is along the same lines and deals with accommodating students in the field of music with a video game curriculum. One of those video games is titled Rocksmith, and being a former music teacher, I found this to be a very exciting and innovative approach to teaching music. Rocksmith has its roots in the rhythm-style games of the late 90’s, such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Many gamers who were enjoying games like Guitar Hero were probably wondering, “Why don’t we use a real guitar to play these games”? Just imagine if kids were spending hours playing these rhythm games, and learning to play an instrument at the same time. I would venture to say that these kids would be rock gods! Used with Permission Ubisoft (the company who created Rocksmith) saw an opportunity to take these rhythm-style games and offer gamers the opportunity to become musicians. Thus Rocksmith was born. This is significant because for Read More …