Archive | November 2013

Personal Learning Networks

This past week has helped shed a lot of light on the student afterlife.  So, once we can check the Master’s Degree, Certification and Student Teaching off our to-do list, we’re done with all the books, theories, technologies and discussing our (future) trade with our peers.  Right?

Nope.  I think I’ve heard somewhere in this class that learning never stops.  We are supposed to be professional learners and in fact, model learning for our students.  Furthermore, teachers in New York State need over 125 hours of professional development in the span of 5 years.  How are we supposed to do that?  Conferences?  Workshops?  Twitter?!?!?!

That’s right.  Technology can facilitate the learning of educators as well.  Think about this.  If one teacher goes to a conference, they can tweet out different events, exercises, new technologies, or even instructional strategies they learn about.  Then, their technicapable colleagues can search out the designated hashtag, and they transcend time and space to benefit from the conference almost as if they were physically present.   Furthermore, personal learning communities can be created utilizing other Web 2.o applications that we have studied and utilized in our graduate classroom.  Want to share an idea with your peers, but want more than 160 characters to do so?  Try creating a Ning for your school.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost instructors a dime, but the school district might have to pick up a small tab for yearly usage.  This fee is likely still much smaller than the total bill for sending educators to these conferences or workshops.  Technology allows us to work smarter, not harder, by exponentially increasing the wealth of knowledge available to instructors and making it accessible anytime, anywhere.

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Teaching, Technology and Language

In today’s schools, a large issue that schools deal with is bullying. Especially on the technological front, cyber-bullying is hard to monitor, but the ramifications are endless.

bullying

When students are confronted with issues of bullying, the best case scenario is that students report the issue.  Teachers and administrators should confront these issues as they happen, and hopefully (as I’ve experienced), they handle them with patience and sensitivity.

How can students handle such situations when they have bad media influences? Students who love football have this problem to face especially. This article discusses the issues surrounding the use of the n-word in locker rooms.  From different stances, the use of the n-word falls into both positive and negative lights.  Obviously, the word is loaded and has a highly contentious background. I do no suggest discussions of the term in the classroom, unless teachers approach such a discussion with kid-gloves and extensive sensitivity. The history and negative connotations of the term are extensive. However, sports and other activities that claim to be color blind have different approaches use the negative term subversively as means of in-group association.

What are your ideas? Is it ok to use such a loaded work to conotate in-group association beyond the classroom?