Friday, July 6, 2012

Blog Post #11


I love Skype!

After watching First Graders in Ms. Cassidy’s Classroom and Ms. Cassidy's Skype interview with EDM310 students, I was amazed at how well she has implemented technology in her classroom with such young learners. There were some major key points from the interview that she’s used in her approach to technology that I think could benefit any teacher.


 They Will Find Ways Around It

I am going to take Randy Pausch’s advice in The Last Lectureand go ahead get this one out their – I have gone on and on this semester about how I feel “social media” should have a limited role in the classroom. I think that I am hesitant to incorporate sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to some extent into the classroom for safety reasons, and it might have something to do with me being a mother. While it is a cause of great concern in the elementary classroom, I think that risk only becomes greater with high school students. Why? High School students are going to be the students that click on that “shiny link” outside of the assignment that I have given to my class. They have also been around longer, and they are going to be the ones to find a way around the firewalls the school board has set-up. There is also going to be a greater risk of these students giving out personal information (i.e. last name, city name, etc.), because they are not only more inquisitive but more defiant. These kids also have a great chance of meeting someone they have met online outside of school, because they can either drive or have friends that can drive. They are your rebellious group. I think there needs to be stricter boundaries set-up with the older a student gets. That’s just my opinion and it could be wrong.


Help them See the Stars

Ms. Cassidy said that the best way to approach becoming more involved with technology is by beginning in your comfort zone – I couldn’t agree more. I’m not saying that a teacher should limit the use of technology in the classroom based on individual students’ wishes. For example, Kelley, my 9th grade World History student, may be comfortable using Facebook, but that doesn’t mean she should only use Facebook in her PLE. Kelley should START with Facebook and expand from there. Let’s say that Kelley is also interested in theatre and watching herself perform on the stage (through videos her mother or others have filmed). I think this would be a great place for a teacher to start. I have been thinking a lot how I could implement class blogs into my classroom or a blog for counseling. Hypothetically, my class could be studying about the Renaissance. Having already established the classes’ initial first blog, I would already know some of their interests. If Kelley seemed hesitant to participate in blogging, I could ask her if she had ever done any Shakespeare. In all likelihood she had probably done a little at her age, and I could ask her to share some of her work on Facebook. She already has an established comfort zone with Facebook and videos of herself on stage. I could suggest she post some of it to Facebook. Hopefully, it would spark some interest with her classmates. Now, she can include her feedback from her Facebook posts to her blog about Renaissance culture. With positive feedback and a little more self-confidence, I can probably successfully suggest that she expand into YouTube.


The Golden Rule

I thought the way she addressed inappropriate commenting was great! A technique that I often used with my students I carried into my career as a mother. How would you like it if Joey pulled your hair? How would you like it if Ashlee borrowed your book and didn’t return it? How would you like it if Kalen locked you out of the bathroom? Turning a situation around on a student always seems to get through to them, and I think it is a great way to implement successful peer editing. I also think that you should also prepare students for retaliation – although, you should always stress that two “wrongs” don’t make a “right”. The fact is that it is going to happen – Ms. Cassidy said it was inevitable. You can’t get away from it, and I think it’s something that should be addressed by a teacher at the beginning of every school year or semester.

I think there are some problems that are going to arise in every new technique that is introduced into the classroom:

It Wasn't Taught to Me During my Student Teaching

1. There are always going to be “bumps” in the road. Like Ms. Cassidy said, we are continuous learners. It’s our job to prepare our students for their future, and in return, we are gaining knowledge in the process.

2. There are going to me Administrators and fellow teachers that don’t like the change. They are also not going to be interested in how well it’s working for you. It’s not that they don’t agree with you necessarily, but it’s more like they aren’t ready to accept change. I don’t think we should push it through ignorance – show them that it works and be proud of what you accomplish.

3. There are always going to be students that are not going to accepting of technology. It could be for many different reasons. It is our job to prepare them. We should do what Ms. Cassidy said – find them an area that they are comfortable in beginning with.

4. Online Predators and unsafe sites! They are there. They aren’t going anywhere. It is our job as educators to protect our students. Do it! Do whatever it takes to provide a safe environment.

5. There are always going to be naysayers. Prove them wrong.

The Road Less Taken

I may go back into the classroom or become a full-time counselor, and I plan to use blogging in whatever path I follow. It’s obvious that I would use a class blog in my classroom, but I have been thinking about how I could use blogging as a counselor. I have already begun developing ideas, and I think that I am going to begin by setting up a Counselor’s Corner Blog at the school I am assigned. I think it would be a great mediating point between teachers, counselors, administrators, students, and parents. I could post information about ACT AND SAT Testing dates, information on the test’s best prep classes, information on remediation classes offered at the school for any subject, set-up an online tutoring system that kids could access from home from students at their actual school, and also have a way for parents to set-up conferences with teachers through the counselors (this is my own little baby, because so many teachers are reluctant to make those calls home). The ways to design this blog are endless, and I am super excited about it! I am sure that I am not the first, but it’s the first that I have encountered.

In closing, I would like to say that Ms. Cassidy’s discussion of Facebook was a little ironic, only because Facebook started on the campus of an Ivy League school.

 The Facebook

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