Monday, April 25, 2011

Journal #9: Teaching Green (NETS-T I, IV)


Waters, J. (2011). Teaching green. The Journal, 38(4), Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/research/2011/04/digital-edition_april.aspx
Summary
            This article lists a number of resources educators can use to cultivate a greener classroom environment.  One such resource is a website called Classroom Earth. Classroom Earth is a website which gives educators ideas about how to make students more environmentally conscious. Classroom Earth provides teachers with lesson plans that incorporate environmental education in high school classrooms.  Classroom Earth is current, and is always updating itself to include relevant news issues regarding the environment. Along with daily news, students can also navigate to a page, which gives them ideas on how to reduce their carbon footprint. This website is interactive and will help kids become excited about making a difference.
           
           
Questions
Q1. Can encouraging students to access a website which encourage lifestyle changes be seen as invasive?
A2. The key to encouraging a lifestyle change is to allow students to explore the benefits themselves. Students should be made aware of the benefits a green lifestyle has, but in the end, they should decide whether or not to adopt a greener lifestyle. As educators we should encourage critical thinking. We must help students be confident enough to take their own stance on important issues such as these.
Q2. Will emphasizing a greener lifestyle take away from the current curriculum?
A2. No. The lesson ideas provided on Classroom Earth are mean to tie in with what students are already learning. Ideally, tying in environmental ideas will enhance lessons.  Integrating environmental topics will help keep lessons more relevant, which will help keep kids engaged.

Journal #8: Should Schools Be Held Responsible for Cyberbullying (NETS-T IV, V)



Bogacz, R., & Gordillo, M.G. (2011). Should Schools be Held Responsible for Cyberbullying?. Learning and Leading with Technology, 38(6), 6-7
Summary:

          Renee Bogacz, a middle school English teacher with twenty years of experience, believes it is the school's responsibility to stop cyber bullying. According to Bogacz, it does not matter where cyber bullying takes place, it still disrupts the school environment, and therefore it is up to the school to interfere in cases of cyber bullying. To effectively deal with this problem, educators, administrators, parents and students must all work to eliminate cyber bullying. These groups must know how to recognize the signs of cyber bullying and must be equipped with tools to prevent the problem from going any further.
          On the other side of this argument is IT director, Miguel G√≥mez Gordillo.  According to Gordillo, parents have the biggest influence on children, and it is the parents who can prevent and stop cyber bullying. Cordillo believes cyber bullies are a product of loveless homes; therefore it is up to parents to provide their children with a loving home environment. Gordillo does however believe it is the school's responsibility to support the values that are instilled in children's homes.
Questions
Q1. Why might involving parents in cyber bullying prevention be problematic?
A2. Parents will have different levels of involvement in the cyber lives of children. As a result, some children will be more supervised than others. Some parents may be more computer savvy than others, making it easier for them to detect cyber bullying. Furthermore, parents who work full-time may have more difficulty monitoring their child’s online activity.  
Q2. Why might having the school be the main source of cyber bullying prevention be problematic?
A2. Schools cannot monitor children’s online activity as closely as parents can. Schools do not have access to controls that can detect what children are doing online.  Schools will discover cases of cyber bullying only if students chose to involve them in it. When schools are finally made aware of an instance of cyber bullying, often times large amounts of damage have already been done.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Journal 7: My Personal Learning Network


          My personal learning network (PLN) is a network where I can interact with teachers and math professionals to learn about different resources, as well as share resources I have discovered. I can also receive input from my PLN regarding questions I have about teaching.

          I have been using Twitter as a PLN to connect with math teachers who have a strong desire to improve the way math is taught. Many of the articles they share address why kids are having such a hard time understanding different math concepts.
          
          Since I am most interested in teaching algebra and geometry, I have chosen to include algebra and geometry teachers in my network. I also have a few people in my network who specialize in technology. I have added them to my network because I am curious about learning how I can incorporate technology into the classroom. 
          
          On April 4 at 3:30pm I participated in a math chat. I found this chat by searching Twitter for the keyword #mathchat. My experience was very positive, and it taught me that a twitter chat is an information gold mine. Generally, chats are more active than the twitter homepage.  Members participating in #mathchat shared many useful articles. One such article that caught my attention was called Khan Academy-Algorithms and Autonomy. This article discussed the importance of focusing less on finding the correct mathematical answer, and more on the process of solving the problem. 
     
          Diigo is another very useful networking tool where members can share websites they have bookmarked. When I log onto Diigo, I can see sites that were recently bookmarked by members of my community. Like my Twitter account, my Diigo Network consists of math teachers specializing in algebra and geometry. On my Diigo account, I have tagged three websites as “PLN”. The first two sites give examples of practical math lessons, the third website is a blog that discusses the benefits of intergrading technology in math classes.  
          
           Another resource I use is a discussion forum titled Educator PLN. On this site I was directed to a video titled: “Get the Math in Video Games”. This video featured Julia Detar, a video game programmer who explained that all programming languages are mathematically based. When the video was over, the site directed you to one of the games Ms Detar created. It was a math game where the player is asked to plot linear coordinates. This video and this game would both be very useful in an algebra classroom.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Journal #6 Grow Your Personal Learning Network (NETS I, III, V)

Warlick, D. (2009). Grow your personal learning network. Learning & Leading With Technology (36)6, Retrieved from http://istelearning.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Grow-Your-PLN.pdf



Summary

          Personal learning networks (PLNs) are a way for us to grow in our knowledge about the world through interacting with people and resources. Today it is commonplace for people to participate in digital PLNs. Some examples of digital PLNs are twitter, Google voice, Skype, Second Life, Mailing Lists, Diigo, Ning, Delicious, Google Talk, wikis, and blogs. A person wanting to start a PLN can use these sources to gather information about a particular topic of interest. When creating a PLN, it is important to remember to include sources of varying perspectives. Challenging our own point-of-views is the best way to grow in our understanding of the world.

Questions

Q1. Can’t this overload of information be detrimental?

A1. A properly established PLN will not overload you with information. The best way to start a PLN is to keep things simple. Start with just a couple sources. From there you can add additional sources as you see their benefit. If you feel a particular source does not properly fit into your area of interest, you can delete it from you PLN. Your PLN will constantly change as you maintain it. It is an on-going process, and if done right, will have many benefits. 


Q2. How can a well-established educator benefit from a PLN?

A2.  All educators can benefit from a PLN, regardless of their professional experience. The benefit of a PLN is that it offers new perspective. Many established educators may have already exhausted all the current resources around them. A PLN can connect them with someone who may have undergone recent training in their subject area and who has a new perspective about how things should be done.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

All About Me Survey

Classroom Newsletter

Nets I, II

Using Microsoft Word, I created a classroom newsletter to share with students and parents.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Journal 5: “BLOGGERS BEAT: ARE WE GETTING DISTRACTED FROM WHAT REALLY MATTERS?

Fingal., D. (2011). Bloggers beat: are we getting distracted from what really matters?. International Society for Technology in Education, Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/issues/Bloggers_Beat_Are_We_Getting_Distracted_from_What_Really_Matters.aspx

Summary
            In this article, Diana Fingal writes about an article she read about technology causing attention deficits in today’s youth. Fingal points out this is an argument which has been going on for centuries. She offers the idea that maybe students are distracted from their studies because their studies are just not relevant, interesting, or engaging. She says high school students were bored with school long before the Internet. If kids are free to explore the Internet, they can foster their passion by researching topics that interest them. Fingal points out technology is empowering. The world is changing, and there is no need to fight it. New is not bad.  It is time we start embracing the digital age.

Q1. Do you agree with Diana Fingal?

A1. Yes. Fingal makes a great argument. I recently read an article that said the Baby Einstein series is detrimental to young children because it could potentially foster Attention Deficit Disorder. Some people believe if kids watch these videos, then it will be difficult for them to learn from other sources. But here’s an idea: Why don’t we try to make other sources as engaging as Baby Einstein videos?

Q2.  Do you think technology could benefit some children more than others?

A2. I believe technology will benefit everyone. However, I do believe technology will be especially beneficial for kids who have had difficulty learning. I believe there are many kids who are unfocused in school simply because they have not found an area of study which interests them. If these kids are encouraged to explore the Internet to learn about any topic they chose, I think they could unlock their potential to be very successful.