Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Internet Safety Reflection

*****795000000-- population of those interacting with cyberspace
20 % feel safer online than in the real world
50% identify anonymity with freedom online
81% spend at least 1 hr online a week
risky behavior online (giving personal info) increases with age
* Porn pages-- 270,000,000
90% of 8-16 have viewed pornography online, mostly unintentionally
* Companies target kids with pop-up ads and purchase domain names (typo squatting) to intentionally deceive= Truth and Domain Law
20% of children's sites allow gambling ads
* Hate sites are showing up faster than pornography sites and are meant to attract kids.
50% of high schoolers plagiarized from the internet in 2001
30% of kids say it is easier to chat online than in person. 15% have recieved mean or hateful messages.
* Cyber-bullying-- "the new bathroom wall..." with sometimes deadly consequences of murder or suicide
* Cyber Predation

* Educators might be in a better position than parents to know what kids are doing on the internet!

I chose to read Elder Bednar's talk "Things as They Really Are." We also watched the video about the stats of the internet-- it also discussed cyber-bullying and -predation, and how involved kids are with the internet.
My most important realizations from the talk and the movie were that technology is everywhere, critical to our lives today, and an amazing tool for good or evil. It is not a question as to whether or not we will use it; it is a question of how we will use it. Kids need it, especially if we are going to teach them effectively. Hence, we need to learn how to use the internet safely and responsibly, and teach our kids how to do the same. There is no avoiding it, so we need to make the most of it and educate our kids.
I talked to my brother and mum about the "doing" experience-- both my mum and brother had read the talk, and had thought a bit about it. Our family is not way into the technology scene, so it kind of surprised them but the agree with it, as do I. I think this has helped me, my brother, and my mum think how we need to be more educated about technology and especially the internet so we can teach others and so we don't run into something stupid ourselves. It really made us think about how we need to use all this technology, and especially use it in a positive way.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week 9

We as teachers can tell if we have successfully integrated technology into our lesson if it simply teaches the kids what we want them to learn in a fun and constructive way. The technology should not detract from the material being taught, and it should be relevent. If the class gets out of control or the students become bored or confused then those are pretty good indicators that our technology was not as useful to our lesson as we would have hoped.

In order to be a constructive and useful addition to my lesson plan, I would want the technology I use to relate very well to the lesson material, interest the kids without disrupting the learning process, and motivate them to continue learning about or using both the technology and the subject matter it was meant to help teach.

Week 8 -- TPACK

Problems with learning TPCK skills-- (First of all, there is a problem learning what TPCK even is, because the article we were told to read seems as if it is almost trying to mask the meaning of this process-- one has to wade through a large amount of unnecessarily wordy vocabulary and badly-structured sentences in order to discern how TPCK can be used by the teacher. But that is merely my opinion, and neither here nor there...)
A potential problem with TPCK is that it emphasizes using technology as a learning resource and for activites, but there are schools with such limited funding and support that one might not have a lot of access to technology as a teacher. The article also points out that the possible learning activity types are countless, and therefore teachers might be overwhelmed when it comes to integrating this in their classroom. However, for the most part it is pretty logical (TPCK, not the article) and seems like a very effective mode of teaching.

Main idea of article-- How TPCK came about and how it is useful in the classroom.

Ideas that lead to main idea-- Since technology is "not yet well-integrated" in most classrooms, two birds can be killed with the single stone of technology. Using educational technologies both introduces and familiarizes students to technology, and learning activites integrating technology can be used to accomplish curriculum-based learning goals.

How TPCK is important to me as a teacher-- The idea makes sense. Students nowdays really can't afford to not learn about and use technology. If I, as a teacher, integrate the use of technology in teaching the curriculum, it will teach my kids both the curriculum and how to use the technology, while keeping their interest and providing fun and interesting activities.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Week 7 PLE

Technology allows us to make our teaching more dynamic by giving us a plethora of resources we are able to see and therefore experience so much more! We can see kids in Africa, see how a cell functions, and access information easily and quickly. It's pretty incredible what we have access to becuase of technology.
However, in some ways technology can detract from learning. Observe our class every Tuesday, for example... with the internet at our fingertips, it is difficult to keep listening to one person talking when Facebook or email is up. Also, because of the huge amount of info available to us, sometimes the quantity of information overwhelms the quality of information. Also, our human connectedness (necessary for learning in public schools) can be neglected because of technology. For example, how many kids have more interaction with other kids around the world they have never met and never will meet playing computer games, than they do with their own teachers, classmates, or parents?
Effective technology can be tricky, because it all has potential to be both effective and ineffective. On my mission I was very grateful for technology like phones, that allowed us to waste less time-- in theory. Of course cell phones could be abused, and waste huge amounts of time. Most of us use email every day-- a very effective form of communication. Also, I am starting to realize how much cool technology is available to people with special needs. Different computer programs and the like are extremely effective in helping people learn in their own ways.

Week 5 and 6 PLE

All right-- we are playing catch-up. So, about Google Earth. The most basic things it allows us to do is to see terrain and location. Which is actually pretty cool-- it's almost like flying in a plane all over a map that you are able to zoom in and out with. This would be a pretty darn cool tool to use in the classroom. I myself am directionally challenged, and seeing things in relation to each other, in 3D, no less, greatly helps me remember my geography and directions. For Special Ed kids, this tool gives them greater visuals, complete with texture and relativity that would make it easier for them to make connections and hence remember the material... plus, getting into the pictures, videos, slideshows, and articles would make this experience much more than just a boring lecture to them. They would be able to interact with it and see exactly what they wanted to see.

Week 6

In using a virtual tour, other sensory experiences would be very useful. For example, if I were taking a tour of Aboriginal Australia, I could play didgeradoo sounds in the classroom during the tour. If we were going to a chocolate factory, I could be making an easy chocolate treat in the classroom during the field trip, allowing them to smell the chocolate. Then, they would have a little treat at the end. ( I remember in 2nd grade my teacher made no-bake cookies for us in the classroom. Why, I do not know... but I remember it!) Or, if we wanted to go to India, I could start the class out by organizing a ginormous Bollywood musical number!! The possibilities are endless... :)

I really liked the James and the Giant Peach fieldtrip. I never would have thought to do Google Earth after a book. Using the ruler to see how far the peach traveled was a good idea....

The Celebrations around the world was also cool-- a lot of places could be done with that one. I liked all the movies of all the crazy celebrations. I think kids would like that one alot.

World wars are explained very well with Google-- students could see how far the influence of war was felt, and how each country participated, and how those events have influenced borders, terrain, and people today. I liked how the WWII presentation used Google earth to teach about the different theatres of the war...

Google Earth is very useful for all the reasons stated above: it is versatile, it can take kids all over the world, and hard places to see, like Aushwitz, could be viewed and the reality understood, but without the intense stuff that would come with actually being there-- which would be hard for kids to understand. Pretty much, the whole world is at our fingertips. However, a downside of Google earth is that sometimes the pictures are merely computerized renditions of buildings, and can be blurry and unclear. Also, in the case of historical field trips, we can't go back in time and see how the world was back then. We get only modern renditions and pictures. So of course there are restraints and a few drawback to something as amazing as Google Earth.