Concluding Assignment

What do we mean by the 21st century classroom? How do we apply technology tools in ways so that we can more easily achieve meaningful teaching and learning in the 21st century?

The 21st century is constantly changing with new developments in technology and our ability to share resources quickly and efficiently with other educators. We can make updates to classrooms around the country by installing smart boards or giving students laptops or iPads, but if we do not utilize these devices in teaching for all that they can do then we are doing a disservice to our students.Sites like TED ED have the ability to transform the way students learn outside of the classroom. Instead of reading from a textbook and answering questions as a homework assignment, students can watch videos, submit answers to questions, and further their knowledge all in less than a half hour. The teacher is then able to see the students answers before class the next day and can assess where the students are at with the new material he/she wants to cover or where students are at with material that he/she has already gone over. There is a lot of flexibility within this site, where as teachers can make a lesson that is the first level of DOK or the fourth level of DOK depending how in depth he/she wants their students to go with the material. Google+ has developed many applications that take classrooms from the bottom of the SAMR ladder to the top in an instant. Students are able to google hangout with one another to complete group readings, they can all work on one document at the same time, and they can share their documents in a folder that the whole class can access when logged on. Sites such as wordpress.com allow students to blog and talk about class topics and other students can comment and share their own ideas and opinions. Our reading in class touched on teens “addiction” to social media. Why don’t more teachers use this to their advantage? Twitter is becoming more popular among educators as a way to connect and share opinions and resources through edchats. Similar to what we did in our class this semester, classes have class hashtags that students and teachers can use to share ideas and have them all filter into one location. All of these different resources take learning to a new level both inside and outside of the classroom. As new technologies continue to develop it is important that we as teachers stay up-to-date with them and incorporate them into lessons and assignments all the time.

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Creativity vs. Education

I visited the TED.com website and watched a video of speaker Ken Robinson give a talk called How Schools Kill Creativity. I found this talk and this speaker to both be extremely interesting. Robinson gives us his own definition of creativity, stating that it is “the process of having original ideas that have value.” He discussed how schools educate students “out” of creativity as they get older and focus on other disciplines. He went on to say that these disciplines have a hierarchy with math and sciences at the top and the others falling right behind. Robinson explained to the audience that students entering school this year will be retiring in 2065, so we as teachers are educating them for an unpredictable and very far off future. He wants teachers to put creativity at the same standard they put literacy. Some students excel with course work and some students excel through creative sources and we need to provide for both outcomes in classrooms of the future. Robinson gave the audience a real life example of this. He asked the audience if they knew who Jillian Lind was, and then explained that she is the choreographer and known best for choreographing the musicals Cats and Phantom of the Opera. When she was a child she often had trouble sitting still in class and would disrupt her classmates. Since it was the 1930s there was no medical research done, but we can assume she had ADHD. Her parents took her to see a specialist to try to “fix” these problems she was having in school. After hearing her mother out, the specialist asked to speak to the mother outside and when he left he turned the radio on. She immediately began dancing by herself in the room, in which the specialist explained to her mother that there is nothing wrong with her, she just needs to dance, and asked her to take Jillian to a dance school. Mrs. Lind did that and Jillian went on to go to a ver prestigious school of dance, excel in her own dancing career, and then choreograph some of the most famous broadway musicals. This story shows that encouraging creativity through outlets such as art and dance can help to see how some students learn and where there talents can be found. Lastly, Robinson discussed the issue of academic inflation. Years ago you only needed a degree to get a job. Now people with degrees don’t have jobs, and the jobs that used to require a BA now require an MA, and the jobs that required an MA now require a PHD. This process does not allow for creative growth in schools and forces society to look at education in a negative light. Overall, I enjoyed the lecture given by Ken Robinson and his incorporation of humor throughout the 20 minutes that kept the audience in tune and entertained with his talk.

Link of video:

http://www.ted.com/playlists/24/re_imagining_school

Is there an ethical obligation for parents to be involved, or not involved, in their child’s social media life?

The question I have chosen relates to parents becoming involved, or not involved, in their child’s social media accounts. After reading this question, I reflected on my own experiences with my parents and their involvement on my social networks. I have always been open with my parents (or tried to be) throughout high school, but I did not accept my mom’s friend request on Facebook until I was in college and felt like she could now see my life developing as a young adult away from home. My parents do not have an Instagram, but I always show them mine if they ever want to see pictures. My parents also do not have a Twitter, and do not have much interest in accessing mine. The other social media account that both my mom and I have an account on is Snapchat, which we are friends on. I am comfortable with her having access to “My Story,” and I love being able to send her snapchats whenever and wherever! If I was younger I probably wouldn’t like my parents having access to any of my accounts, but I feel as though monitoring social media is very important and that parents should keep tabs on what their children are up to. In middle school and younger I think parents do have an ethical obligation to be involved in social media, and as they get older give them free roam with some things until they’re old enough to be fully comfortable sharing their lives on the internet with them.

I decided to go online and do some research. Forbes online talks about the increase in activity on social networking sites such as Facebook for kids between the ages of 9-12 years old. The site only allows users 13 years and over to make an account, but many lie about the year they were born and get around it. It also explained that the privacy settings of Facebook are different between the ages of 13-18 and 18 and over. When the child’s account turns 18 (if they did in face lie about their age) their privacy settings will change drastically and they may not realize it. What I found to be most interesting about this article is that there are apps that exist such as Mamabear that allows parents to monitor their child’s social media account. In addition, it helps parents have “the talk” about social media and the importance of keeping profiles private and not accepting strangers on their accounts.

I found a blog site called KQED that discusses the question of parents becoming involved in the social media lives of their children and how schools should partner with them. Similar to my own opinions, it talks about parents having a big involvement when their kids are young and then allowing for more privacy as they get older. It gave an example of a mom who found out her 11 year old daughter had an account on the social media site Zorpia through checking her e-mail and after doing some research about the site decided that her daughter was too young for an account (note: the mother and daughter have an agreement that allows her mother to have the password to her e-mail account). The mother then made the school aware that her daughter had this account to let them know what was going on off-campus and allow for them to let other parents know of the possibility of their children also having an account on this site. Ultimately, I feel as though schools should provide parents with the groundwork to talking to their kids about social media. They could suggest questions to ask (which this blog provides) such as: How would you respond if a stranger tried to contact you on a social media site? What would you do if you found out one of your friends was talking to a stranger online? When would you go to an adult for help if something uncomfortable happened? Why are you interested in social media sites? Where do you find out about them? What do your friends say?

Conclusively, I feel as though parents DO have an ethical obligation to be involved in their child’s social media accounts. How much involvement should depend on the age of the child and how often they use the sites. I think that we are now in a time period where all parents should have “the talk” about social media and asks their children the important questions listed above in order to get a read on how involved the parents need to be.

Sites:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2013/01/24/why-every-parent-needs-to-talk-to-their-kids-about-social-media/

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/04/how-should-schools-and-parents-be-involved-in-kids-online-lives/