Social Media

The article that I read recently is about the use of Social Media in and outside of the classroom which offers many opportunities for engaging students in learning process.

Using social media as a tool to engage students in classroom may be a good idea. I believe that it promotes lots of beneficial opportunities and a better engagement in learning. All we know that today’s students are very interested in technology.  Almost every one of them uses Facebook or Twitter to be more active and social in their lives. When we think about some new strategies and methods to provide a better environment and learning process, we can definitely consider using social media for our classes. On the other hand, following technology probably may cause different problems that we might not think of. As written in the article, teachers should be more cautious to apply social media forms in appropriate way. First, students should be worn about its responsibilities and the circumstances that may occur because of not using it correctly. Also they should be informed about copyright Law which is very important.

After reading that article, I searched some social networks for educators. Personally, I avoid using Facebook and Twitter. I don’t think that this kind of social networking provides a good friendship and social environment. I am not going to justify my thoughts about these sites here. However, I believe that using technology more than enough cause loneliness and artificial relationship among people. On the other hand, I might think using social network sites for my classroom. While searching a site, I found TEACHADE.com. It looks so helpful and beneficial for teachers and lets them share their documents, blogs, and any kind of resources with their colleagues. I would be interested in using it in terms of activating and educating my students better.

As I mentioned before, students must be informed about an important policy “Copyright Law” . I would definitely explain my students its importance by showing them some videos about it in order to create a safe environment for them. For instance; this video about Copyright Law, created by a professor at Bucknell University would literally accomplish my goal.

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/trends-in-higher-education/understanding-the-potential-pitfalls-of-social-media/

No Child Left Behind (chapter 6)

When I was studying for my Psychology final, I realized that one of the chapters were totally discussing “reliability, validity and standardized”. Then I remembered the chapter 6 from Ravitch book and wanted to talk about it.

On January 2001, when the new presedent George Bush presented his plans for school reform, everyone got really excited. Later on, the NCLB was accepted describing its principles: first, that every child should be tes helped every year in grades 3 through 8, using state tests, not a national test; second, that decisions about how to reform schools would be made by the states, not y Washington; third, that low performing shools would get hel to improve; and forth, that students stuck in presistently dangerous or failing schools would be able to transfer to other schools.

However, today there are so many contreversial opinions about NCLB. For instance, some say that testing is necessary to measure student academis performance and to determine whether it was moving forward, sliding backward or standing still. Some realized that the quality of the tests is crucial. Others think that tests are good enough what they are supposed to do but thet don’t give much thought to such technical issues as validity or reliability.

The majority want “accountability”. Because by accountability, schools are supposed to measure whether students are learning and they want rewards or punishments.

do NCLB work? According to the reading, it doesn’t. Furthermore, it doesn’t even bring about rapidly improving text scores.

Because…..

“Good education cannot be achieved by a strategy of testing children, shaming educators and closing schools” from RAVITCH.

Chapter 7: The story of an idea

In Ravitch book chapter 7, the author talks about why families should not be able to choose their children’s schools the way that they choose their place of residence, their line of workd, their shoes or their car. I agree with the author in a certain point of view. Even she is right to say that people should choose it and send their kinds to the best school for them, why is going to happen if the majority of the people want to sent their kids to the same school? This caos had happened in my country many years before. After living such a tremendous complex, the authorities changed the system and hopefully managed to be able to take it under control.

The other point that I agree with her is that she wants to help the schools. She feels so enthisiactic about helping the schools that were unusually successful in educating minority children. According to the passage, it is said that the students who go to those schools are most likely to take advanced courses than their peers in public schools, more likely to go to college and more likely to continue to graduate school. Those schools are basically Catholic schools and cannot afford to afford multiple tracks to all students. This was really interesting to read that she was so willing to help them. She worked so much to gather information about those schools and make a change.

to be continued….

The recent NY times article talks about Viki Knox, who has been teaching in special education classes for 12 years and now is being investigated by her comments on Facebook about Homosexuality.  When I read the article, my first reaction was how a teacher could share this kind of thought in the social media, knowing that anybody can see it. As we discussed technological benefits and deficits before, posting even a small sentence in social media can ruin someone else’s life totally. That being said, Ms. Viki is literally having the opposite behavior of the desired likelihood that we want our children to have. As teachers, one of the main characteristics that we want to educate to our students is to respect other people. Even you have different opinions or thoughts about school policy and system; you should keep them for yourself rather than sharing them without caring its consequences.

As Mr. Barocas, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in New Jersey, said in the article that they certainly should investigate her previous manners to conclude whether she acted that way even in classroom before. It is said that she had been having a very clear teaching state until that incident. Was that the first time she wrote this kind of things on her facebook page or did the post keep attention of the people just because of its anti-homosexual concept? If she had written something else about school policy, would she have faced with the same investigation? For instance: I am wondering if she had written a post just stating that she didn’t like the display in the school about homosexuality rather than writing directly such a hurtful post, would she have been investigated because of discrimination?  Sharing this kind of inappropriate and rude sentiments in an open social website is not an acceptable and understandable behavior. As I mentioned on my previous post, people is doing something to prevent bullying in schools such as ANTI- BULLYING law. Based on that law, every member of the school is supposed to inform any kind of bullying incidents. When I look back at the Viki’s situation, I clearly see that she is doing exactly the opposite thing. Even she doesn’t like homosexuals, lesbians or gays, she is not supposed to declare her thoughts in an open area.

This is a very controversial situation. Even she did such a mistake, executing her from the classroom permanently shouldn’t be the best solution. Based on her clear teaching state she could be considered and given a second chance to be able to work again in public schools.

On the other hand, I definitely cannot accept that these kinds of comments should be tolerated. Facebook, Twitter or etc. These sites are not the places for sharing important and personal thoughts. Everyone should be careful on what they are writing on public sites about religions, politics, nations and et cetera.  

All in one; when it comes to teaching students everyone should have responsibility and tolerance. You just cannot post your sentiments directly or share it with your students without thinking. Technology is a tool which facilitates someone else’s life for some reasons if you know how to use it. However, you can ruin your own life if you use it for your personal goals or insignificantly. It is up to you!

A vision of K-12 students today

Today I have watched a video of 21st century digital learners. Here is the link you can check it out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A-ZVCjfWf8

The video is about not using technology enough in class or in school projects to let students be creative. There has been always a controversy about that since we began to use technology in every part of our lives. I think it is a common problem of today’s students.

Firstly, I want to summarize my reaction briefly. To be honest, I cannot say that I am impressed by the topic of the video. I also didn’t find the statistical examples accurate. However, I certainly agree that the use of technology in classrooms provides huge opportunities to reach higher levels of creativity. Technology allows students to think differently and to develop their thinking, creating and presenting skills. On the other hand, I really liked the way that students used to give messages during the video. The only thing I didn’t understand was why all the students seemed unhappy during the video. They were like being forced to capture this video. 

WIKIS, BLOGS and PODCASTS: There are also mentioned on video. I absolutely know what they are and why they are used. They are web sites to state opinions, thoughts or web pages of information written by someone who may not be professional in that area. Because of this, I don’t think that they are useful for students to benefit and get some real facts from them. I also don’t find them beneficial for school projects or correct for a class material.

According to the experiences I had during student teaching in my country, I figured out that technology brought students an interactive class where they could enjoy and learn at the same time. During my student teaching, I had opportunities to use smart board. I was demonstrating some grammar points on board and let them write on it.  As soon as I had smart board, I tried to use it in my every class so that students could learn better and have fun in class. I was lucky because I was working in a private school that supplies a lot of resources, electronic devices, documents and et cetera. Due to this, I was able to reach these kinds of materials whenever I wanted. In the future, I have no idea whether or not I could be able to have similar standards.  I would absolutely use technology as much as I could to make learning activity fun and to engage students.

I  know it is not always possible to engage students even if the topic is really interesting for them. However, putting activities that may be done by using devices  and breaking the standards a little bit can help teachers make their curriculum rich. 

Bullying again

For more information, please check this out: http://mloredo.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/12-11-11-bullying-awareness-week-bullying-awareness-campaign-bullied-bully-or-bystander/These days I have been looking for some sources that may be helpful for  my inquiry project. Among the blogs that I found, I think the most interesting and informative blog is the one that talks about national anti-bullying week in Canada, the UK and many other countries.Bullying is one of the most important issues in almost all around the world and In Canada they organize a bullying awareness week in November. I think it is a good start to provide a safe environment for all students.

In this blog, there is a lot of information that aims at developing the awareness of people on bullying. The videos that are posted are really nice and show that everyone should be aware of this problem and stand by the people who are bullied.

To be honest, this issue scares me too much. In my counrty I had never witnessed such a problem or was bullied by others when I was a child. Bullying had never been a problem or an obstacle of education for us. However, at 2002 two researchers made a survey to examine different aspects of bullying in schools  in Turkey. According to this survey, almost all of the participants reported having been bullied.  I think this issue is grown up every year by some reasons, such as technology, economy and health problems. This survey also talks about not having a policy at the central level to deal with bullying. With that said, bullying is getting worse every year. In the past, this was not even a problem for all of us and we totally respected to our friends no matter how they are. However, we couldn’t teach it to our children and students well. I really feel myself lucky to have been such a safe environment before.

In the blog, there is also a bullying awareness quiz. You answer the questions and select the best statement that represents your feeling about bullying.

Finally, I want to talk about the most common and newest form of bullying in today’s world. Internet, mobile phones, blogs, social networking sites etc… Even though all these tools provide great oppurtunity to get any information that we need, they also  open the gate for Cyberbullying.

I hope we can get rid of this problem sooner and provide a better environment for our children so that we no longer see any news about a bullied child’s suicide.
 

Technology, Democracy and Classroom

We live in a world that is growing so fast as a little baby. We are struggling to control what is going on around us sometimes. In ten years, it is so obvious that we have seen so many changes because of technology: televisions,computers, mobile phones, appliances, etc. As technology develops, we need more information and experience to use it effectively. Otherwise, we never know what is going to happen.

Technology creates great inventions and great tools for Education as well. We don’t use the same tools or materials that we would use in the past any more. Knowing that children are more willing to use technology more often than adults, we, as teachers, should do something matters to integrate our students into classroom. What is more beneficial and helpful to educate a child? What can we do to make our lessons more interactive and fun? How can we motivate our children and ask them to participate in class more often? I think that the answers go to the same direction : technology. We all know that only presenting our class and letting students listen us while sitting quietly is not a good way to teach them. We all know that students only can learn if they understand what is taught and use it in the real life. Basically, it is called ‘ active knowledge’.

As a future Spanish teacher, my purpose on integrating technology in my classroom consist lots of great tools: such as presentation editors, google docs, Ipads, etc. The reason why I am so interested in using technology in my classroom  is that I know its benefit. As a temporary student now 🙂 a lesson with computer, slides, videos, or any kind of interactive activity with internet makes me more enthusiastic. I realize that I learn better while using electronic devices. As a result of this, I definitely would do whatever I can to use technology in my classroom.

The only thing that I should consider seriously would be the privacy. I have seen so many incidents and mentioned them in my blogs about how wrong use of technology ruins someone else’s life. Because of this, it is the fact that teachers should be more aware and cautious about any kind of issues regarding technology  while using it at class.

Finally, The way that teachers present their class is very important. Our students deserve better lives and education. We must provide them this opportunity and develop our classrooms by integrating technology into them.  I know that it would help students be more achieved in all content areas.

Sad Story…

When I was looking for some blogs and articles about my project “bullying”, I found a website that was created for a bullied son Ryan. I read and read the every part of the website that was created by his parents and felt so sorry for poor Ryan and the children who suffer the same pain inside their little hearts. I deeply felt the pain of his parents and their tremendeous lost.

The most heartbreaking part was to learn that Ryan was an IEP student. My other project is about IEP students and services and I know how difficult and long way is to receive this remedial service. I don’t understand why children do such things to their peers. I believe that every child is born as an angel. However, something changes them while they are growing up.

All we know that states requiere new laws, intervention programs etc. We may witness bullying cases or experince it personally. No matter what happens, we should be aware of this issue and help our children.

In this website, his parents put so many information, sources and links to help other parents be more cautious and determine their children’s situation before ending up with suicide.

To read more about it, please check this out: http://www.ryanpatrickhalligan.org/index.htm

Charter Schools ( Chapter 7)

What is the secret of successful chartes schools?

It is said that charter schools have higher scores and this is the result of many factors; such as dedicated teachers, motivated students, excellent curricula and outstanding leaders. And also they may be a result of peer effects. Because motivated students may be more successfull when surounded by other motivated students.

But who is going to study in these schools?

If you couldn’t win the lotery, what are you going to do? You are going to return to your public schools in poor neighborhood. You will probably attend classess with mix of peers, including some who don’t want to come to school and some of them who just want to get by. As a result of this, your are going to lose your motivation and interest.

So what is the solution?

Maybe: The public schools should create more creative lessons in order to hold on to motivated students, or they can seperate students by ability to prevent the unmotivated from negatively affecting the performance of the motivated.

Here we can align several solutions to prevent this from happening in public schools. However…

The solution of this dilemma is to determine the fate of public education.

 

PART TWO:

1. What is the major theoretical position of the theoretical article you chose? How does the theoretical lens help you to connect (or not) the project to the larger goals of this course? How does the theoretical lens help to organize your thinking about your topic?

I chose the article “the framing project: a bridging model for media research revisited”. According to this article framing means structures that draw boundaries, set up categories and define some ideas as out and others in. Framing is also explained as a theoretical idea whose major principle is bridging parts to one another. Another important way that framing provides is to put together strange bedfellows that differ in important philosophical assumptions. The author of the article especially highlights that frames are structures of meaning made up of a number of concepts and relations among those concepts. Moreover, he adds that these concepts must select certain aspects of reality and emphasize them. After that, he gives an example for framing cases with the terms of War on terror. By this, he states that it would be easy to jump up to other ideas and concepts to consider topic deeply. All that said, the topic can be discussed largely within the boundaries set by the frame. While reading this article, I understood how framing could provide different types of discussions in every article. I believe that framing will be very helpful for me to determine the most effective method for my project. The example that the author gives (war on terror) literally helped me to think Bullying at school with different aspects and frames.

 2. What is the major argument in the empirical piece? In what ways does it point to how you might explore your topic?

 The article that I chose to read is “Teachers in the Hood; Hollywood’s Middle-class Fantasy”. The major argument of this article is to search what messages these films give to the people. The author makes a survey about high school genres and separates them into 3 groups; urban, suburban and private school films. In these films, it is shown a classroom that is filled with socially troubled and low-achieving students who dramatically transformed by the singular efforts of a teacher or principal, an outsider who is new to the school and often new to teaching entirely. In these three kinds of genres he discusses the teachers’ role, students’ problems and their being transformed by singular efforts of a new teacher. According to the comparison that he made, there were dramatic differences among them in the ways in which the theme of individualism plays. For instance, in the urban high schol genre films the poor and mostly non white students must change their behavior and accept middle class values and cultural capital in order to achieve academic success. In the films based in suburban high schools academis success is not a central focus of the plot. There the hero is not a teacher or principal but a student who is able to overcome the conformity of teen society. However, in the private school films students must conform to the wishes of their parents and the school in order to protect their social status. The hero of these films is mostly an outsider who challenges the culture of privilege. The major argument starts at this point. After comparing films, he discusses the purposes of these films. They are more than entertainment and expression of the director’s vision. He argues the idea of presenting a teacher who doesn’t have any teaching experience as a hero in these films. Moreover, he doesn’t agree with the statement which declares that students in urban schools have no potential. All they need is a right type of person who would apply the right methods. I found this article very interesting. I think it will be helpful for me to see the differences of bullying in different kinds of schools. By looking deeply to the topic, I will probably get different conclusions. However, making this type of comparision and thinking critically about them promote a better research. In short, this article helped me to consider bullying with different categories.

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