Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Digital Citizenship Inside High School

Digital Citizenship is an important behavior to be taught at every level of schooling.  Generally, it refers to behaviors that are acceptable and correct among the internet community (Ribble).  It is  "a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately" (Ribble).

The Nine Elements of digital citizenship is a good source to gain knowledge on what exactly digital citizenship is and why it is important to promote and teach (Ribble).

Among high school students, digital citizenship is a matter of knowing what to keep private.  The most common issues among America's adolescents deal predominantly with the internet.  Cyber-bullying and inappropriate pictures shared via the internet, social networks, and cell phones is a norm in today's high schools.  70% of teenagers report seeing someone be cyber-bullied online and 90% say they have seen it, and ignored it (Do Something.Org).  This is the exact reason we must work towards educating our youth against these problems.

Another recurring issue in the high school community is posting, texting, sharing etc. inappropriate pictures.  Common Sense Media graphically depicts how adolescents should choose what is or isn't acceptable to post:

Some teens have very poor decision making skills.  Equipping them with simple go-to tools such as this picture make it easier for them to make the right decision, even amongst peer pressure. 

With the growing technologies, there are many resources to help prepare teachers to educate their students on digital citizenship.  The Nine Elements by Mike Ribble is one such resource.  Common Sense Media also has an entire section of their webpage dedicated to curriculum and activities for teaching different age groups the ins and out of being a good digital citizen.  Live Binders creates a data base of different school districts and their lesson plans for each age group.  Teachers can bounce ideas off of each other using this tool.

There are many other things a teacher can do inside the classroom to help students become successful technological citizens.  Tactics include:
1. Require source citing or creating a bibliography so that students know what is and isn't plagiarism.

2.  Promote using social network cites in a mature fashion.  Educate students on the dangers of releasing too much information.  Cites such as twitter can be very helpful in review activities or in notifying students of homework or tests.

3.  Make students aware that cyber bullying is a threat.  Teach them to stand up for those who are being bullied.

4.  Use new forms of technologies in daily lessons within the classroom.  Take advantage of the teaching tools that exist; a white board is always available.

Although all new and upcoming technology is exciting for today's youth, we must ensure that they are educated to properly use what is available.  The proper use of digital commodities will allow for even more technological advancements in the future.

Works Cited

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Learning to Unlearn

     To be educated, and an educator, one must be efficient at relearning, which inevitably involves unlearning.  Personally, unlearning and relearning is extremely significant since I am studying Math and Chemistry.  There are constantly new developments in the math and science world that disprove previously accepted truths.  Also in teaching math and science concepts, teachers typically will teach a particular concept that might be wrong but will later get corrected by a more complex concept.
     I think the hardest part of the learning cycle is not relearning something but unlearning that something in the first place.  It is very hard to let go of a concept and replace it with a new one.
     Within the education field, there is a lot that I still need to unlearn and relearn.  The methods that were used to teach me and peers in my classes through the years are no longer completely accepted.  There are also a plethora of guidelines and standards that must be met today that were not in place when I was going through grade school and high school.  Technology is also used more than ever before in classrooms today.  Teachers not only have new standards to address but also are expected to use new methods to teach these standards such as IWBs and computers.  Although I do think it is a challenge to unlearn and relearn, it is very important to be a successful educator.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Interactive Whiteboards in Today's Classroom

In my opinion, Interactive White Boards are highly overrated.  While no one can argue that they are helpful in organizing a lesson, I think that this is the only real advantage to them and that schools can use their money in other more useful ways.  Students nowadays are so accustomed to new means of technologies (iPads, iPods, laptops, etc.) that the technological advancement of IWBs is no longer entertaining or a significant contribution to the learning experience.  I also think that an IWB is just another tool to help a teacher.  A good teacher that enjoys his job does not need a fancy white board to help students learn a given concept.  The article "Interactive whiteboards: boon or bandwagon?" relays both the pros and cons associated with the booming IWB industry.

My high school had several interactive whiteboards, however, they were only in select rooms and most teachers either didn't know how to use them, simply didn't use them, or didn't allow the students to.  I think this is a very common trend within schools across the nation.  Administrators purchase these tools and assume the teachers and students will utilize them in the classroom which is not always the case.  I think if they are to be utilized, their should be training involved so that the teachers know how to effectively use them to contribute positively to the learning environment.

However strong my opinion is against IWBs, I do think they could be beneficial in differentiating a classroom.  Activities could be developed to cater to the different needs of students depending on their readiness and learning style.  Their are many interactive elements associated (obviously) with IWBs.  This could prove to be very beneficial for visual and hands on learners.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Differentiation, as I understand it, includes immense teacher involvement and a passion for teaching.  It occurs when a teacher accepts that each student learns in a different way and at a different pace.  The teacher then creates lesson plans that cater to each of the students' individual needs.

I just recently experienced differentiation during a classroom observation over spring break.  In order to allow the students to work at their own pace, the teacher assigned an individual project to each student on a given topic.  The student could then choose what type of presentation he/she would like to do (poster, powerpoint, graphic organizer, short activity with explanation, etc.).  He made it so that each individual topic related to two other student's topic.  After the individual presentations were turned in, the students then had to work together in those groups to put a presentation together for the class.  This had to include at least one interactive activity with the class such as a fill in the blank worksheet or a crossword puzzle.  Throughout the assignment their were certain checkpoints that the teacher had to approve before moving on to the next step.  It was very interesting to see that the students actually enjoyed learning during these lessons and how effective differentiation really is.

Technology is very helpful in assisting teachers to differentiate in the 

classroom.  Best put by this Missouri school district, "Technology supports instructional strategies by creating new routes to learning and addressing multiple learning needs."  In the example previously described, the school's laptops were utilized throughout the entire activity.  This allowed for the students to have their data on the computers and could easily communicate with the rest of their group members throughout the process.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

All About Me

My name is Alyssa Zimmer and I am from Erie originally.  I attended McDowellHigh School and I am now a Junior here at Edinboro.  I just recently switched my major from Forensic Chemistry to Secondary Education in Chemistry.   I have a big loud family and a bunny named Clyde who might possibly be the cutest thing to ever exist.  I love painting, running, snowboarding, music festivals, my car Penelope, and especially my friends.

I think that technology is a very important aspect of teaching, however, often times I believe that teachers don't take full advantage of all the technologies that are available. I have learned more about technology in this class over the course of the last couple of weeks than I have learned in the previous fifteen years of my educational career.  I am very excited to embark on my new teaching career path and I will be sure to integrate current technology in to my daily teaching techniques.

Twitter and Me

At first, I hated using twitter.  I thought it was extremely confusing and I couldn't follow what anyone was saying.  Last class I created a tweetdeck which is much more readable and enjoyable to use.  I really liked the activity we did in class on tuesday when we completed the quiz.  I thought it was a very resourceful way to get us to work together on a quiz in a group of three, but also as a class through posting on the feed.  I think that twitter is an excellent way to expand classroom learning.  It could help students question the teacher about things they are confused on or it could aid administrators in communicating with teachers and parents of students.  The possibilities for using twitter as an educational tool are endless.  

Here is an example of some of the quiz posts:

 I'm excited to see what other ways we will use twitter through the duration of this class!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Final Frontier

This assignment's goal was to familiarize us with an online powerpoint sharing program.  I worked with three other students in the class to collaborate on this assignment.  The article was predominately about changing teachers' perspectives on technology use in the classroom.  It reflected on the fact that a lot of teachers are too stuck on old teaching methods and not willing to integrate new technology in to their teaching styles.  

Collaborating on this assignment proved to be very successful.  We each worked very well together and the outcome was a fantastic and informative powerpoint.  Here is the presentation to prove it...