Thursday, April 28, 2011
Teaching Green (NETS-T1-5)
Waters, John. (2011). Teaching green. The JOURNAL, 38(4), retrieved from http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/1105/journal_201104/#/12
In this short but packed article the author John Waters discusses the evolution of green in education. He begins with explain how green began with the development of Earth Day over 41 years ago. Since that time education has embraced the idea of green and now is focused on making green a priority in every student’s education. The article provides a number of online sites to use for green education for children of all ages. It also provides information for the educators to ensure the sources are not only available but useful. As parent and educator I am extremely excited about these types of resources. As funding has become depleted, time restraints more compacted and standards higher, students are not taking field trips and exploring the world at school as we once did. Additionally, as life is more demanding at home and many times, social settings not as safe as they once were, children are not exploring at home either. With resources provided by Waters in his article, children can begin to explore beyond our current restraints. Through using these sites, students can first explore online, then determine where they want to physically explore, creating their own learning experience. I am not only excited to use these sites with my students but my own children. Any tool that promotes learning and excitement about learning, nature and life is great and useful in my view.
Question 1: What are the benefits of the green education movement?
I believe that through the growth of green education students may be able to reconnect to what life was years ago. In many ways I hope that green education will allow students to use the tools and technology of today to enjoy the beauty of nature year past. In many ways we have destroyed our surroundings and environments, hopefully with these new teaching focuses, we can restore nature to what it once was.
Question 2: What is the value of green teaching to you?
As a parent and educator I have many times fallen short in my role as an advocate for nature. I have been “too busy, not had enough space” or a number of other excuses as to why I wasn’t recycling, reusing, reducing. Only in the last few months have I embraced the green movement. This is not to say I was polluting the world before, but I didn’t go out of my way to fix things. I have found that through listening to my own children, the lessons in the schools about being green and making an effort, as a whole we really can make a huge difference. Additionally, green teaching is promoting social awareness and involvement by our youth. While the cause may change, creating awareness, action and involvement for our future leaders in any productive cause is a wonderful learning experience in itself. It is great that the cause is so wonderful to benefit us all too, though…
Point/Counterpoint: Should Schools be Held Responsible for Cyberbullying? (NETS- T 4 & 5)
Bogacz, Renee, & Gómez Gordillo , Miguel. (2011). Point/counterpoint: should schools be held responsible for cyberbullying?. Learning & Leading with Technology, 38(6), retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/issues/Point_Counterpoint_Should_Schools_Be_Held_Responsible_for_Cyberbullying.aspx
Point/ Counterpoint is a quick read asking the question if schools are responsible for cyberbullying. Whether the reader agrees that schools hold some responsibility or are not at fault, the article provides a number of useful suggestions for teachers, administrators, parents and students. It is identified that while the action of cyberbullying may not take place on campus, educators need to be aware of the students’ needs concerns and the laws protecting students. Additionally, the article identifies that raising children starts at the home and is continued in the school system, therefore a team effort is needed for success. Finally, the article identifies appropriately that many parents today are not intentionally lacking in preventing cyberbullying and other cyber issues, but that parents themselves do not have the knowledge to help or prevent issues. The article promotes not only open communication with parents and schools, but that the educators educate the parents in areas of such importance. While the counterpoint of the article states it is not the responsibility of the school system to raise children, as educators, it is the school system’s responsibility to protect children, foster a positive learning environment and assist parents in educating children. This is a complex issue, but as times have become so much more demanding for our youth, it takes a village to raise a child. Placing blame on one group, rather than placing the responsibility on all is flawed and does not prevent the problem or help the children.
Question 1: What is your role of an educator? With this in mind, does responsibility lye with the school system and educators to prevent cyberbullying?
I have always considered my role as an educator as a guide, helper, role-model and at times a caregiver to the children I work with. In some of my teaching experiences, I know that the classroom where I worked was the only “safe” place for some of the children. They had no parents who cared, understood or were able to give them positive guidance in life or education. With these experiences in mind I firmly believe it is at the very least partially the responsibility of the educators to educate about these issues as well as protect those who cannot protect themselves..
Question 2: How can the schools help parents effectively monitor student cyber activity? Why would these suggestions be helpful?
I believe that the schools could initiate a few simple steps to help prevent cyberbullying and promote more productive learning for students. First, the schools should create a newsletter for parents to read not only about upcoming events, but issues of importance within the community and school itself. Parents should know what is taking place in their children’s schools, provide the information. Second, there should be an open door policy for parents to contact a school official when concerns arise about bullying of any type. Parents should know who to contact and know what the procedures are to ensure action/investigations will take place when a concern is expressed. Finally, schools need to educate parents about current issues of concern. Times have changed greatly since today’s parents where students. The concerns, challenges, and pressures are in many cases more different than they may expect. As a result of so many social changes, parents need educated on not only what their children are learning, but what to look for in behavior, technology, and current social pressures. If we as educators expect parents to create a strong foundation to build upon, it is necessary to keep those parents informed.
Growing Your Personal Learning Network (NETS-T 3 & 5)
Warlick, David. (2009). Grow your personal learning network. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(6), retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/digital-edition-march-april-2009.aspx
This article written by David Warlick discusses the changes taking place in professional and personal information gathering. Not so long before this article was written, the process of gathering new ideas, helpful tools and resources was a long and tedious process. Many times we needed to research books, friends and mentors to find the answers. With technology, this all changed. Warlick discusses that while the idea of creating a resource pool is unchanged, the methods used to contact those in our pools of resources has changed. He first discusses that we still use friends, co-workers and others we come into contact with. What has changed is that now we have differing methods of how to remain in contact with those we deem beneficial to our growth. We now maintain relationships in three differing methods. The first being personally maintained synchronous connections which may use Twitter, Skype and teleconferencing. The second are personally and socially semi-synchronous connections create discussions that are maintained by the individual, but may not be real time, tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and texting. The final method to create a Personal Learning Network (PLN) is with the use of dynamically maintained asynchronous connections. These tools allow the user to specify guidelines to a chosen site or tool and have the “researched” information delivered to them, rather than searching personally. Warlick then discusses how to begin creating a PLN of your own without becoming overwhelmed. Most of the tips he provides are smart, organization based and easy to follow. He advises to first start small, create lists, devote appropriate amounts of time and find individuals who filter data well to do some of that work for you. Overall, the article is a brief discussion of what PLN’s are, how they have changed and simple unintimidating steps to follow for a novice PLN creator to follow.
Question 1: How has the use of technology based PLN’s changed education?
Answer- As a result of the changes in technology, teachers and students are now exposed to many more ideas and topics to discuss. As a result of the vast amounts of information, educators are able to create more dynamic meaningful lessons without spending the huge amounts of time needed to research and create them. As a result learning can be more enjoyable for the students and educators.
Question 2: What are some ways a beginning educator or student of education could use a PLN?
Answer: From my experience in this course and exposure to the social networking tools available, I plan to use sites such as Twitter and Diigo to help in finishing my Master’s thesis. I have a huge amount of data to collect and using others to help me gather promising information is a great use of technology and my time.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Schaffhauser, Dian. (2010). It's Time to Trust Teachers with the Internet: A Discussion with Meg Ormiston. the JOURNAL, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/articles/2010/12/01/its-time-to-trust-teachers-with-the-internet-a-conversation-with-meg-ormiston.aspx c_lang=en
It’s Time to Trust Teachers with the Internet: A Discussion with Meg Ormiston
(NETS-T 4a, 4b, 4c, 5a, 5b)
In this candid discussion Meg Ormiston answers questions about many frustrating challenges educators face when trying to access technology for their classes. Dian Schaffhausser first provides a brief resume about Meg Ormiston is and how she is qualified in the area of technology. Then very quickly the article takes a turn and focuses on the issues at hand, the challenge for educators to use the tools available on the market today. OrmistonOrmiston also discusses the effects of districts and schools limiting access to sites and many social networks. First she states that it is very challenging and deflating for the teachers. They are expected to have current practices, using technology, but are not provided the tools to do the job. How frustrating!!! Next, she states that many times the reasoning for the limits are shallow, and if true limits to access exist, schedules can help with this challenge. Finally, she states that students do not have filters or parents at home limiting what they read on-line or with their cell phones, so there is a disconnect between the attempt to create responsible Web guidelines and actual practices in most students’ lives.
As an educator, who has worked with students in the classroom, I agree with Ormiston in many ways. While I do understand certain information on the Web is not appropriate for the class, so many things are. In my own experiences I have found that student learning opportunities have been limited or lost due to filters, and I have personally been frustrated by not being allowed access to sites I found during lesson preparation. Additionally, I have found that IT departments in some districts use antiquated methods of service and do not provide service in a timely fashion. Ormiston also has issues with the IT processes within districts. Why can’t teachers make changes to their computers, or access programs that have a function for their individual classroom? Also, why does the IT “guy” have to physically come to the location to fix computers or make changes? Aren’t we in the 21st century using proxy servers? If we had the majority of issues being resolved by the IT employee, working through proxy, money could be saved on time traveled. Then teachers could request the use of programs, have tools assessed and have them approved within a timely fashion. As things stand today, it can take weeks to merely change logins, computer formatting glitches and many other silly computer issues we all encounter every day.
Question 1: Is there a viable reason for IT practices to remain as they are within education or are the practices outdated as Ormiston indicates?
I believe similarly to Ormiston that many of the reasons are flawed and even the true challenges can be addressed if one took the time to find the value in the possibilities.
Question 2: As the current methods of filtering and IT assistance are not working, in some districts, what suggestions could improve technology access and IT assistance?
First, teachers should be trained on basic computer maintenance along with all the other teacher-in-service courses. With this done many of the silly and easy to resolve issues can be done by a teacher when it needs done. Second, IT personnel should be able to work on all district computers from one remote master computer. If IT could remotely access a computer with a problem, it would save time and money. Finally, there should be a process for teachers to submit requests, have them reviewed within a timely (1-2 week) fashion, and then have access to use the tool for the class. Allowing educators access to tools like Voki not only make learning fun, but provide additional access to learning for some individuals with disabilities. Many times programs created for these purposes are extremely expensive. By using tools available on the Web, teachers are helping their districts save money and time.
Light, Daniel. (2011). Do web 2.0 right. Learning & Leading with Technology, 38(5),
Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-
Do Web 2.0 Right
(NETS-T 1a, 1c, 1d, 2a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4a, 4c)
The article Do Web 2.0 Right, serves a resource and reminder to educators who are transitioning from the older paper and pencil classroom to a technology driven class. The article was extremely useful in many ways. As most educators know, there are certain procedures that are followed to promote constructive and effective classroom assignment. These basic rules are that the teacher creates a safe and appropriate learning environment for the students, promotes daily practice of the skill being taught and uses modeling and reinforcement to ensure student success. This article helps the educator remember that many of these basic principles hold true when using technology tools for class assignments as well.
The article identifies three basic necessities for creating an effective technology tool for class use. These needs are daily practice using the tool, careful consideration of the assignment to the audience and the teaching and reinforcement of appropriate behaviors. As with all lessons and classroom skills daily practice is vital for students to gain a full understanding and long term usefulness. Just as teachers have been doing for decades in the paper and pencil classroom, teachers using Blogs and Wikis are eliciting prior knowledge, creating interest in topics, supporting peer interaction and review as well as instructor review. In the past these were the main components to a successful lesson plan. This article effectively reminds that those principals hold true in the virtual classroom as well. Additionally, Light writes that the second item for educators to remember is the audience. While teachers have always done this, being aware of the audience as being either student-teacher, the class or the world when using Web 2.0 makes a huge difference for two main reasons. First, students are inherently self conscious about what they create or publish. If the educator wants trust and honesty, the smaller the audience, the safer the students will feel. Second, as students are self conscious it is important to determine what tool will be used, personal Blogs, class Blog or Wikis, and what assignments will be posted or discussed using the tool. The idea behind using technology in teaching is to motivate and promote learning not shut learning down due to fear of embarrassment. The final factor to success using Web 2.0 is digital etiquette. As in any physical classroom treating others with respect and dignity is mandatory. With this in mind the article discusses and promotes effective methods for allowing positive, open and constructive learning through Web 2.0.
Question 1: As a student from elementary through high school, what is your most memorable assignment and why?
The assignment I will never forget was given to me by Mr. Rossman in either 5th or 6th grade. The students were asked to create a map of the world, to scale at 1 inch per 100 miles, and name all the oceans, seas, continents, countries, country capitals, US states and state capitals. It took almost two months, but I knew every country in the world… at least until the USSR dissolved, which caused many changes. The project was also a culmination of all the skills I had learned in the school year. It covered math, history, geography, and language arts. It constantly made me think reflectively, ask questions and problem solve.
Question 2: In that favorite assignment, did you use technology? If so, how and if not, how could technology improved the activity?
I did this assignment in 1985 or 1986 so technology wasn’t available. I had to use an up to date atlas, ruler, pencils, lots of erasers and any help my brother may give. Technology would have been a great resource for this project. As it was, I not only had a huge book to use, but I had to measure out and hand draw a grid on the maps I was using and tag board to create my map. While I think technology may take a little of the fun in discovery out of the project, it would have definitely helped with the math.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Riedel, Chris. (2009). Top 10 web 2.0 tools for young learners. the JOURNAL, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/Articles/2009/02/02/Top-10-Web-20-Tools-for-Young-Learners.aspx?Page=1
Top 10 Web 2.0 Tools for Young Learners
(NETS-T 1, 2, & 3)
In this article Mr. Riedel provides a quick and easy to read synopsis of Gail Lovely’s technology presentation at the FETC 2009 conference. He begins by stating Ms. Lovely’s stance on the use of technology tools should be directed with the students in mind, then the educators, essentially a bottom up rather than top down method of technology introduction. Riedel then provides quick links to Lovely’s top educational technology tools. The sites are Kerpoof, Voki, Create-A-Graph, Yack Pack, Animoto, Skype, Glogster, Voicethread, and Blogs and Wikis as platforms.
Riedel provides a brief description, and for most tools a link so the reader can personally assess the usefulness of each tool. In reviewing the tools I personally liked Kerpoof, Voki, Animoto, and Glogster. As a parent and future special educator, I love that these tools allow children to not only learn but use Multiple Intelligences to allow personal learning preference in the process. Additionally, the Voki tool is wonderful for individuals with language disabilities. Many times these tools and programs are extremely expensive so it is wonderful to see a useful and practical tool for these individuals. I can see the usefulness for Voicethread in older grades and Create-A-Graph for any age, as creating and understanding graphs can be challenging. I was unable to access Yack Pack as the tool is experiencing technical difficulties and the use of Blogs and Wikis is so commonplace in my opinion, little description of their use is needed. Overall I found the article useful not only for future classes, but for my own children, as I am sure they will love using some of these tools.