Wednesday, April 13, 2011


   One of the most important lessons I have taken from this semester at ECU is trying to be more aware of what is happening around me and paying attention to how these new awareness's affect me.  From my EDTC class, I have learned to pay attention more to what I am reading and viewing.  This affects the capacity of my learning.  Also with this class, I am more aware of what the Internet can offer me.  There are millions of resources I can use for my daily life to my professional life.  I am also more in tuned with the products available to me.  I see the fun new gadgets on television, and can now tell you what their function is, and possibly how I could use the tool or app in the classroom. 
   From my Diversity class, I have become more aware that life is not just about, "this or that."  Life is about, "this, that,"  and everything that falls in the middle.  Every aspect of our diverse culture is important.  We do ourselves and community a disservice when we don't recognize our differences and have discussions in order to promote a broader awareness of the world around us.  There is more to our world than just our neighborhoods.  (Thank you, Web 2.0 for making this even more possible today than ever!)
   From my other four classes, I am aware of what affects the proper order and harmony of a classroom.  Have I mastered these skills?  Absolutely not!  I am just aware of them now.  Classroom management is going to be the biggest struggle for me.  I know it will be different when I can actually have my own classroom and start fresh with clear expectations on the first day of school with my own students.
   I am so thankful for these opportunities to gain wonderful knowledge that will help me to eventually make my future students more aware of the world around them.  They can become a part of something greater and bigger than the "boxes" they may limit themselves to, unknowingly.

Cell Phone Use in the Classroom

   One of my fellow classmates from EDUC 3010/3022 was telling me that one of the teachers she is doing an observation under allows her students to use their cell phones during class.  However, the use has to be for classroom assignments and discussion.  There are not enough computers in the school for her students to use on a daily basis.  The students are so thrilled about being able to use their phones for educational purposes that they don't want to be bothered with the frivolous texting. 
   I don't know if this could be done with all students.  I know that some will abuse this privelege.  They will not only text in class, but will try and find inappropriate items on the Internet via their phones and share this with their classmates.  I have seen students try and do this with the school's computers in the classrooms.  I walk by, and they are pulling up VERY NEGATIVE images and videos.  These are the bad apples that spoil the possible use of cell phones for educational purposes for the rest of the students.

Explaining the Computer to Grandma

   So in an online meeting tonight, I received a phone call from my grandmother.  I asked her if I could call her back, and that I was in a meeting.  Sweetly, she said, "Certainly."  When I returned her phone call, she asked if I was at home.  I said yes.  Then she asked how could I have been in a meeting while I was at home.  I tried to explain the fantastic use of the Internet to her...she wasn't thrilled.  She is real cute when she gets frustrated.  If I could have been in the room with her, I know her hands would be flung over her head, accompanied with some cute little saying and maybe a word that can't be repeated on a public blog.
   Her comment is always about how she doesn't understand any of "that new stuff."  She was a teacher in the 1960's.  She says how she didn't have to learn what we are learning now in order to teach.  All she had to do was teach in a school for a year, and then she would receive her teaching license (she already had a degree in music).   I tell her every time I visit that schools and education  are much different than they were fifty years ago.

Bi-Partisan Proposal

   There has been rumor of a bi-partisan proposal which will possibly give $1,000.00 dollars to each parent/family per child for doing well in school.  I do not know the specifics of this proposal, but I do have some pro and con thoughts concerning this idea.  Yes, money always helps to persuade people to do better work, but I feel very saddened when we have to pay people to help motivate, discipline, and assist their children.  This should be done automatically.  However, for those of us who have been in some of the school systems lately, there are a lot of fundamentals lacking with the students...especially with respect!  I really would not like seeing my tax dollars going towards the payment to parents for "doing their jobs."
   However, on the other side of the arguement, if there wasn't an economic crisis and money grew on trees, I would say this is a great incentive for students to do well.  The thousand dollars could be put into an account for each student to have once he or she goes to college.  If the student decides to take another career path other than going to college, they should be able to access the money at age 25.  Yet, at the age of 25, there should be a penalty for not using the money for furthering their education.  If the student decides to use the money at a later date for education, they can access the money later on in their academic career.
   Again, this will be a much debated topic in the political sphere.  But my most important thought and stance would still be for parents to really try to be the best they can be for their children.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Students Using Blogs

   A few years ago, my then 10 year old nephew decided to deep a blog while he and his parents were living in Washington DC for a few months.  With this blog, he was able to stay in touch with his friends and family.  Not only that, but he was able to post on his daily adventures.  He wrote about the museums and monuments that he visited for that particular day.  His friends would write him back with questions, and he would respond.  This made him feel important because he was able to share and teach about his own experiences. 
   My sister homeschools my nephew, and this was to be part of his technology, language arts, and history grade.  Even three years ago, she was incorporating the TPCK strategy (she probably didn't know that term, though...).  I think that students should keep journals, and write in them everyday; however, I believe keeping a blog would be just as useful.  The resources for typing in their blogs during school may be limited.  If just one day a week, the students could post a journal entry via the Web, that would be better than not using this tool at all.  Students could also do a blog concerning a synopsis of the topics of their paper journals for that week.  There are many ways to incorporate a blog into the classroom and in students' lives.

Reteaching Civility in the Classroom

   We, as a society and teachers, need to readdress the courtesies, politeness, and good manners which should be a common standard of all people.  It is necessary, with the proof of the progression of community hate and bullying, that is exacerbated with the faceless threats through the use of the Internet, that respect, acceptance, and positivity need to be reiterated in the classroom.  Privacy, orientations, religions, and political affiliations are a few of the issues that need to be taught how to respect.  The lack of acceptance, and in turn, the actions taken upon those who are less accepted into our "clicks," should not be tolerated or repeated.  Many doors can be opened for those who are the victims of bullying, and also those who are the bullies, with the use of education.  Students need to address and practice positive thinking, moods, and attitudes when approaching new and different situations from what is different from their own, personal, inner world.

Advertisements for Software

   Would students, parents, and even more teachers be more curious and aware of what technology could do for our students' futures if we are able to see it on television.  I know that we see commercials for the latest technology, and we are seeing what some of the apps can help us do in our everyday lives, but I would like to see more of what particular software can do to help motivate students.  Granted, I don't watch a lot of television; however, I would like to see a Googledoc commercial where students are home in the evenings, working on a project with their classmates.  The parents don't have to leave home...they can sit and read the paper or whatever they normally do, while their child is working on a class project.  Also, Wii could do commercials advertising their possible benefits in the classroom.  We know how the game can help motivate people with exercise, but what else can Wii do?  How can it be manipulated in the classroom?  A SMART Board commercial would be excellent, as well.  Parents will see these tools, and hopefully try and persuade their local school boards to find funding to provide these beneficial learning tools in the classrooms.