Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Digital Citizenship Inside the High School

Digital citizenship is essentially is the "norms of appropriate, responsible technology use" (Ribble). This encompasses all aspects of using technology, especially the internet. It includes learning how to protect your information online, staying safe online, recognizing cyber bullying, and online etiquette. All of these skills are important and necessary when accessing the the digital online world. In high schools students and  teachers alike are plugged into the internet and use it daily, both in and out of school.

Its important to also teach these elements and skills not only to keep the students and their information safe, but to also expose them to the proper etiquette that needs to be used when accessing the digital world. In a high school setting digital citizenship is important especially when students in this age group are constantly "plugged in" to technology. In today's society when communicating via electronically is one of the major forms it is crucial that students learn how to properly communicate with others. Instead of teaching students how to follow the nine elements of digital citizenship (listed in the Prezi) schools are instead turning to bans, firewalls, filters, and strict policies in attempts to "protect' their students from the risks of using a digital world, especially when so many children are facing cyber bulling these days, especially at the high school level (Digital Citizenship Definition)
Teachers can help educate their students on digital citizenship by putting up posters with the nine elements around the room. Also, the teachers could incorporate videos or lectures made by professionals into their lessons to help lay out the reasons for digital citizenship. The "Teacher Hub" website also has some tips to incorporate the importance of digital citizenship into their lessons. Videos like "Digital Citizenship" help show the importance of teachers educating and talking to their students about digital safety and etiquette and says that by teachers talking to their students about it will increase the students talking about it among each other and their families. 
With the growing availability and incorporation of electronics and digital media in the classroom and in society it is increasingly important that teachers and schools begin to teach what and why digital citizenship actually is. Not only will this help protect the students, but it will also educate them in the proper ways to communicate and use the technology available to them, which will help them in further education and when they go to get jobs in the  future. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Learning to Unlearn

As a student we are taught and educated a certain way, and those ways we are told will be how we will always do things. However, this is not the case. As the times change we begin to realize the methods we were taught when we were students are not the same as they are today. These are changing on a regular basis for many reasons and they will keep changing and developing. As many new and advanced forms of technology are introduced to today's society and schools it is making old methods become null and void. This is why learning to unlearn is so imperative and a necessary part of being a teacher and a student in someways.

When you are a teacher you teach the same curriculum just about every year and your goal is make it new and exciting and fresh, both for you and your students, but when your given a new form of technology you have to use in your classroom you have to unlearn you previous methods and learn how to incorporate this technology in the classroom. Some teachers are hesitant to do so, but it is important to do so. If you don't learn to unlearn your job and your students may be at risk.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Interactive Whiteboards in Today's Classroom

One of the latest trends in classroom technology is interactive whiteboards (IWB). With any new technology, or any technology at all, it is important that we look and see if they truly are beneficial to teachers and students or not entirely necessary. Personally, I find that like all things it has its pros and cons. Certain aspects about the IWB are great while others, not so much.

First lets take a look at the benefits and pros of the IWB. In "The Journal" they talk about how certain features on these IWBs allow for recording lessons and changes on them in a video format, which can be extremely useful for students that may miss class, or even for teachers who are absent and wish to know what the class did if they used the IWB. With the technology basically at the fingertips of the teacher and students it enables the lessons to be taken in many directions. For instance say that a student has a question about what actually a session in the British Parliament is actually like, the teacher is able to immediately pull up YouTube or another video search engine and project a clip of it on the IWB.  These interactive whiteboards also cater to every type of learning styles, whether it be auditory, visual, or kinaesthic. This allows for a teacher to incorporate differentiation into his or her lesson plans and teaching methods. In "The Journal" it mentions that the ability to use the IWB for games and interactive activities with the students was a plus, that students also reported that it helped to increase some students' self-esteem.  The IWB encourages and promotes classroom interaction, especially in the lower grade levels. With all of these pluses to using the IWB in today's classrooms, its cons tend to get overlooked.

While the interactive whiteboards are all the rage in schools that doesn't mean it doesn't have its fair share of drawbacks.The first drawback simply being that they are expensive and not exactly feasible for all schools to put one of these in every classroom. While they can allow for greater interaction and more resources, the "Washington Post" warns that the use of these may not really open new doors to teaching in a different way, but simply regurgitating old lessons in a digital way. These also are not the easiest to use all the time, they tend to need realigned frequently which is quite a process to do.This is something one has to be cautionary of, I know in my high school many teachers used it for little more than projecting videos or PowerPoint on it simply because they could do that without having to take 10 minutes out of class to align it and get it set up. Not to mention that when using it there was always a shadow of the teacher because of the projector, now the newer ones fixed that. In all reality though, like the student quoted in "Washington Post," there is really nothing that different than white board or a projector. Is the cost worth it?

While interactive whiteboards do have its pros, like allowing for easier ways to incorporate differentiation in lessons, and its cons, such as the hassle of operating it, it all comes down to preference and what will work best in your classroom and with your students. I for one do not see the hype about it, but then again my experiences with its use in the classroom haven't been all that impressive. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013



What and How and Does Technology Impact it?

Not all students are the same, some may differ ethnically, ability-wise, in family setups, and in personalities. A teacher needs to recognize and accept that their students may not have all the same needs and skill and that it  the teacher's job to alter and present lessons in a way that all his or her students will fully grasp and understand the knowledge they are being taught. Doing this is differentiation in the classroom. 
In a differentiated classroom a teacher can change content process, expected outcomes and even the learning environment to meet a child's needs. Differentiation is based on the individual children's needs, not the grade-level's. To help teacher's effectively teach in a differentiated classroom they can look to Blooms Taxonomy Questions for some guidance. 

I have seen differentiation be extremely effective in the classroom, but I have also seen it fail and/or not be used in the classroom. Teachers in my high-school have used to to help students with learning disabilities be successful in the assignments and fully understand it. I feel that the growing availability of technology to schools is important and beneficial to differentiation in schools. It opens new doors and ways to explain and manipulate content and lessons in ways that may not have been able to work before technology. For instance, a student who may miss a large amount of schools do to illness can now use a robot with a web cam to still attend and interact with their teachers and peers at school while home or in the hospital, this in my opinion a way that differentiation is being aided by technology.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Twitter and Me

While I have used Twitter personally for little over a year now, we recently incorporated Twitter into my one class as a method of connecting with professional educators and other learners around the globe. We created a professional Twitter specifically for this, to keep our personal and professional lives separate. The professor has had us incorporate Twitter in many different ways so far, he has had us have discussions on the material we have read, we have even taken a quiz by the use of Twitter. Both of these are completely new concepts that I have seen used in the classroom and I feel they have both pros and cons.

Through this method of instruction I have learned in a hands on way what a Personal Learning Network and  Professional Learning Community are and how they can be utilized, both by teachers and students. Twitter has allowed me to discover as series of new methods of communicating both now as a student, and ways that as a teacher I could eventually utilize with my future students, their parents, coworkers, and other educators. Now, using Twitter could be problematic in some ways. One way being not everyone may have access to this technology or fully understand what to do with it. Another one may be that technology is not always reliable and doesn't always work when we need it to. I feel that because of this we cannot rely on Twitter alone to communicate, but we should definitely use it as a resource, both in teaching and learning.  twitter and other sites like it open so many doors and possibilities to both teachers and learners that not using it in some shape or form would be letting this resource go to waste.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Final Frontier

With the growing availability of technology that is available to today's society it has become incredibly important that today's teachers and schools are willing to substitute their old traditional beliefs on teaching and increase their willingness to utilize these new technologies in their classrooms and teaching styles.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All About Me

My name is Krysta Kelly and I am a sophomore at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. I am a Secondary Education Social Studies major. I originally started out as Business major and then switched to History, and then to Secondary Education Social Studies. 

I believe that technology has many pros and cons when it comes to utilizing it when learning. One of the cons is that it has the ability to make some students lazy, for instance if the instructor posts their lecture notes online for the students, many students will risk becoming lazy because they feel they do not have to listen and take notes in class because they will be posted later. Another con is that because information from the classes can be posted online many students may not even attend class except for tests if attendance is not mandatory. 
Technology in learning does have some benefits and pros because the use of technology, like smart boards, laptops, and online systems like D2L, provide students, like myself, ways to further pursue the information taught in the classroom outside of it.

Teaching with technology I feel has many benefits today because the use of technology that is avaliable is giving educators new methods and ways to teach a subject and to make learning more enjoyable for their students. It also opens up more possibilities for potential assignments. People today, especially young people, are becoming more and more technology forward and technology has become a massive part of many people's everyday lives, so I feel that for education instiutions not to utilize something that has become so important to today's world would do more harm than not using technology in today's education system.