To Be or Not To Be….a Digital Native?

In this week’s reading, there is a notion that students today are considered “digital natives” because they have grown up surrounded by computers and video games. It is believed by one of the authors, Prensky, that the students of today (the Digitial Natives) have different “thinking patterns” versus previous generations, such as the Baby Boomers.

I am of the generation that is considered “Generation X.” There were not many computers when I went to school. My first computer lab was in 8th grade and “Oregon Trail” was da bomb! LOL  My school still had a Typing Class, not a Keyboarding Class….and yes there is a difference! So, to suffice it to say I did not get much training on computers until my college years and beyond. Therefore, more of my teachers and my own learning required me to use actual books and dig for answers.  Now, I say all of this because I don’t think today’s students have a different thinking pattern they just have a new way of gathering answers. This is why it so important for teachers to change their instructional strategies in the classroom. Not because they think differently but because their way of searching is different.

I know this to be true just from observing my own classes. Students would much rather scour several different websites versus sit in a library and find books on their subject. Also, there is the instant gratification that is prevalent in today’s students….thank you Google. Many strategies have a kind of “entertainment” value. I know for my own classrooms I have looked for such items as a YouTube video, Powtoons, or something else animated to use in the classroom versus me just handing out the information for them to copy.

So, on the notion of Digital Natives…I agree and disagree. I disagree with Prensky when he said, “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” (2001, Pg. 1). I think our educational system is designed to teach all students no matter what generation they were born. I do think they are digital natives because of the different instructional strategies that need to be employed by educators to reach today’s students. The use of more technology whether it is different hardware, software, or applications replace yesterdays pen, paper, encyclopedia, dictionary, etc.

Comment below and let me know what you think!

 

References:

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants – Part II: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon, 9(6). Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

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Are We Hurting or Helping Our Students? (Commentary Entry)

Ok..touchy subject up ahead. You have been warned.

IEP’s, 504’s….these are generally set in place to help out struggling students that need a little something extra to succeed in the classroom. I, personally do not have a problem with that scenario. What I do have a problem with is the fact that many school districts, in fear of lawsuits, want to make sure the students pass, NO MATTER WHAT! Meaning, the teachers are told, “Make sure these students do not fail.” This is a problem. Are we not supposed to help our students become successful productive citizens? Are we not supposed to make sure they know and pass (legitimately) the same standards as the general education students? Then why is it ok to pass them when they have clearly not mastered the standards? In my experience, it appears to be a numbers game with the administration and it’s frustrating to teachers, at least the good ones that care! This past school year, my partner had given every opportunity in the world to help her struggling students, many of them with IEP’s. However, these students already learned, by 6th grade mind you, that they could do whatever that wanted and STILL PASS! So, what is the point of my job? What is the proper solution here?

I don’t think it is right, or fair, to anyone involved. I feel if the administration had more backbone many parents/guardians would get on board. I understand that many parents are not home to help their student and this is one of the many reasons why I think we need to work smarter in helping them to master the standards instead of letting them “just pass.”

What are your thoughts?

EdTech 533 YouTube for Educators Reflection

YouTube for Educators is an elective course I chose to take to meet the requirements for the MET program at Boise State University.  This course proved to be more challenging than I ever thought it would have been. I learn a lot and plan to implement as much as possible into my classrooms!  The following is my reflection on the course that I submitted as part of my final grade for the course. At the end is a link to my YouTube channel where my artifacts from this course can be found.

As the fall 2016 semester ends, I think back to what I have learned and gained from my EdTech 533 YouTube for Educators course. Overall, I loved this class and would not mind taking another one if possible. Dr. Snelson made it easy to follow in Moodle by having due dates stated in easy to find locations and by providing guidebooks for every lesson. For me, the guidebooks are what helped me get through this course. With the inclusion of video tutorials and step-by-step instructions Dr. Snelson was highly methodically in providing everything a student will need and/or encounter in the course.

In the final essay, the class was asked to answer a few questions. Here are the questions with my answers:

  • What were the three most important things I learned this semester?

The three most important things I learned this semester were:

Copy Rights – learning about how important it is to obey copyright laws in creating videos and how to find a license to determine if I could reuse it was one of the most beneficial things I will take away from this class. I have already begun incorporating it into my current classroom.

Video Captions – an educator I need to make sure that all of my students have the same opportunity to be able to understand and learn from any and all methods I use in my class. Providing captions is just a small thing to add to all videos to help ensure I reach each and every student.

Creating a playlist in YouTube – I absolutely love how I can find videos for a certain subject or lesson and curate them into a file that will house them together. I have already used this option several times in my current classroom.  In teaching Language Arts I can find videos for all parts of speeches, on fiction and nonfiction information, elements of a plot, etc. and share the list with my students as supplemental material or use them in class!

  • Has my opinion of YouTube in education changed or remained the same? Describe three or more specific examples.

The short answer to this question is Yes! Before this class, I could “kinda” see the relevance of YouTube, but due to some content not being suitable for some students I was highly hesitant to use. My opinion has changed because I can see how I can actually incorporate it into my classroom. A couple of examples would be to create a page for each class. This would create a space for the students to be able to upload their creations throughout the year in one location. Students would then be able to use a shareable link to possibly distribute to a bigger audience. Another example would be to pick out a video and stop it before it ends and have the students create a new ending based off of what was previously shown. A final example would be to use YouTube to compare and contrast two different dragon videos or to pick out traits of the characters.

  • What have I learned about media literacy and how will that information impact me as an educator? In your response, discuss three or more core competencies of media literacy: access, analyze, evaluate, reflect, or act.

What I have learned about media literacy is allowing for options in a classroom is key. In providing access to many types of media, the students can then analyze each option to determine what would work best for them. By giving the students the responsibility of evaluating the media it provides them the opportunity to think in a critical manner to help themselves be prosperous. Developing critical thinking skills in using all types of media is essential to being college and career ready.

  • In what specific ways will I use the projects, skills, or ideas from this course in my teaching or training? (If not currently a teacher how might you use what you have learned?)

I will be utilizing what I have learned in this course in many ways. I have already incorporated the short-form educational video in my classroom. My students recently had a biography project where they had to complete research on an author of their choice and then create a presentation on them. Many of my honor students chose to use Powtoons because of the animation ability it provided. I can absolutely see how my skills I gained with the mini documentary will and should come into play. Stressing the importance of being a good digital citizen by checking copyright licenses and practicing safe use strategies alone will be most beneficial to them.

I would like to incorporate the use of a Vlog, whether by me, in the form if a daily or weekly newsletter-like item, or by my students where they have to keep a vlog about their daily or weekly assignments (I am thinking more along the lines of a video journal). This will help accomplish many underlining items such as confidence in front of a camera and speaking and enunciating clearly.

Our media literacy assignment gave me several ideas on how to get my students to think in a more synthesized manner. By thinking outside the box I could use videos to help teach such things as characterization by having them identify indirect and direct from an excerpt from a movie; elements of a plot, have them fill in a plot diagram identifying where the different elements take place in a short video, and compare and contrast internal and external conflict.

  • Select at least three of the projects you created this semester and read the description of the related AECT standard. Then answer this question: How do these projects demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?

The mini-documentary and short-form educational video demonstrates my mastery of the AECT Standard 3 in Ethics because we had to provide attributions on items such as video footage, pictures, or text we did not create ourselves.  It showed how plagiarism can be very easy in video creation if one does not take the time to take the proper channels in ensuring sources were cited correctly.

Vlog with captions demonstrates my mastery of the AECT Standard 3 in Diversity of Learners because it was created with a certain level of students (6th graders) in mind and that was intended to be able to reach the many different ways a student can learn. It is an excellent method to use for those learners that are more visual and hands-on ordinated.

The media literacy assignment demonstrates my mastery of the AECT Standard 4 in Assessing/Evaluating because I had evaluated videos that would fit into my topic of study. In evaluating the videos I had to keep in mind my topic and key points I wanted to convey to my students but I also needed to keep my target audience in mind. Meaning, I needed to find videos that would keep my students focused whether it was through animation and/or music and pertained the correct content.

My EdTech 533 YouTube Channel

Sylvia Plath mini-documentary

 

 

 

Acceptable Use Policies

Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) have become a necessary evil in today’s environment. Schools, companies and organizations have to layout what they expect and how they expect technology will be used on their premises and/or with their equipment. Roblyer defines an AUP as a policy “…that stipulates the risks involved in Internet use and outlines appropriate, safe online behavior” (pg. 66). Schools have to maintain a safe environment for all students and employees, this also includes the virtual environment. The Internet, in general, gives a plethora of information, however, not all of it is suitable for the classroom or work environment. This is why an AUP is written up. An AUP is a set of guidelines for students and/or employees to learn how to be responsible with their privilege of using the Internet at school or work. These guidelines layout exactly what can and cannot be done along with the consequences if they choose not to follow.

So, what should be included in an AUP? The following, from scholastic.com, are components that are commonly found in an AUP for an educational institution:

  • a description of the instructional philosophies and strategies to be supported by Internet access in schools;
  • a statement on the educational uses and advantages of the Internet in your school or division ;
  • a list of the responsibilities of educators, parents, and students for using the Internet;
  • a code of conduct governing behavior on the Internet;
  • a description of the consequences of violating the AUP;
  • a guide to what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable use of the Internet;
  • a disclaimer absolving your school division, under specific circumstances, from responsibility;
  • a statement reminding users that Internet access and the use of computer networks is a privilege;
  • a statement that the AUP is in compliance with state and national telecommunication rules and regulations;
  • a statement regarding the need to maintain personal safety and privacy while accessing the Internet;
  • a statement regarding the need to comply with Fair Use Laws and other copyright regulations while accessing the Internet;
  • a signature form for teachers, parents, and students indicating their intent to abide by the AUP.

One negative side of an AUP is that is it usually written up, distributed and then forgotten about until something bad happens and lawyers have to get involved. Only then it is pulled out and dusted off. I believe that those who need to sign it also need to be taught what it means in order to fully understand what they are agreeing to uphold. Especially for middle and high school students that can be lead astray too easily. If every teacher in every subject area took one day out of their schedules to teach the policy I believe there would be less occurrences of non-acceptable issues.

Examples of Acceptable Use Policies

Madison County Schools

Huntsville City Schools

Madison City Schools This AUP is included in the student handbook. It is located in section 6.24

Morgan County Schools

University of North Alabama

Calhoun Community College

Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Scholastic. (n.d). Why have a technology policy in your school or library? retrieved February 28,2016 from http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/tech/techpolicy.htm.

What is PBL?

This week in my EdTech 542 class we learned about what is PBL or Project Based Learning and concerns surround a PBL environment. We had to choose one set of discussion questions to answer and then respond back to three other classmates. I chose to answer the Group 2 set of questions.  Here is my response:

  • Describe qualities of a successful project.  In my opinion, successful project qualities are student engagement, students asking questions of each other, and their overall grades. When students are engaged in a project they lose time, they forget they are in a classroom, and they are open minded to what may come at the end of the project. Engagement leads to the students asking questions and WANTING to find the answers; and I am referring to the questions not asked being asked by the teacher. Then finally, the overall grade. Students that are engaged and ask questions typically perform better on the tasks that are graded.

  • What issues must a teacher consider that are specific to PBL instructional strategies? One of the most apparent issues is placement of students. There are many factors that need to be considered such as, the student’s learning ability, and does the student have a take charge personality or more of a follower. Then the teacher has to take in to account if the students will get along at all or TOO well. Knowing their students is imperative for a teacher before they implement a PBL environment. 
  • What types of students will be successful in PBL environments? All types of students can be successful in a PBL environment. It is a matter of placement. Students thrive when they do not feel intimidated. However, the teachers have a big issue if they place very strong students with some that are not as strong. Depending on the type of roles the teachers want the students to take on in the group, will ultimately determine the success of the student.

I feel it is highly important to keep the students’ personalities and abilities in mind when trying to implement a PBL. Other considerations are what outcomes are you, the teacher, seeking; what is the purpose of incorporating the PBL. Many factors are in play when determining the success of PBL, remembering the students, to me,  is the most important.

Internet for Educators—EdTech 502

In this course I am learning how to create and design webpages using HTML and CSS. The software I am using to do this is called Dreamweaver CC  and Fireworks.

Now, let me be honest, at the beginning it was not smooth sailing. But as I continue, things are becoming more natural and enjoyable. There are times when I feel like things are not going my way and that is when I know it is time to step back and take a break. After I do so I am good to go!

After being out of the classroom, as a student, for thirteen years I have had to remind myself how to study and persevere. I am extremely grateful and appreciative of my instructor Lora Evanouski.

Click Here to see my webpage! Each link will lead to to the other webpages I created throughout this course.