Apr
28

Making my way around Ning this morning, I’ve noticed a couple of things. One, I have not heard back from the 20 some people I sent messages to about a week ago. It makes me wonder whether they are busy with their daily work or maybe they’re just not using Ning anymore. Kind of frustrating. Also, I have noticed that there are some social networks where you would think a lot of people would like to join such as the “Creative Teacher’s Network” but come to find out that only a few members are apart of the network.

I did come across a forum that I found very beneficial.  In the Fireside Learning: Conversations about Education network, I came across a forum entitled “What advice would you give a student just beginning their journey into becoming a teacher?” that immediately caught my interest. I began looking at the replies searching for some comfort as I began teaching in my first year I came across one reply that said to be “zany”. I thought, what in the world does “zany” mean? I got my answer when she described it as keeping laughter in the classroom. That makes a lot of sense because laughter makes the feeling in the room upbeat and helps you cope with some the uneasiness you may have about being in your new position. There were other helpful posts who spoke about what to do and what not to do that will help me deal with the stress of my first year.

I wonder if there are any publicity tools in Ning to promote your network and entice more people to join? Facebook and MySpace are pretty much household names at this point, so for the “mom and pop” networks, how do they put themselves out in the public eye?

Advertisements
Apr
28

My latest excursion into the house of Stoll first explored the issue of exposing students in Kindergarten to computers.  He states that kids can pick up on things a lot quicker these days, especially computers.  We do not need to have kids at such a young age learning how to use them.  It is an age of learning how to socialize with their peers and exploring their imagination.  Stoll mentions an example in the chapter about art.  There is a big difference between playing with the application Paint on a computer and finger painting.  One, finger painting is so much fun.  Two, making a mess in an artistic manner develops a person’s creativity.  Three, the students will have a better time.  Also, students who create drawings about different things in an crude manner hold some sentimental value to them and are very original, instead of creating them on a program like Paint.  Save the computers for a later point in their lives.

A Question of Balance discusses the issue of balancing the amount of computing with the amount of interaction between students and teacher.  Sometimes we may want to put so much technology in our classrooms that we forget about the human element in teaching.  That part of education has always been there since its birth.  We have to know when we are over doing it with technology and consider how motives for its involvement.

Calculating Against Calculators discusses the use of computers in a Math class.  The calculator has become a crutch for most students and even college students.  I tutor college students as a side job to earn a little extra money.  Some of my tutees are so attached to their calculator they use it to solve simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems.  Kind of a sad thing really to see.  A calculator can handle those situations with ease, but what are those students going to do when a problem calls for a more complex approach where you cannot simply punch in numbers to find a solution.  I love what he says about how good algebra teachers always make their students show their work.  Made me feel good to read that because I always ask for my students to show their work.  I’m not a mindreader and I can not see what they are thinking without seeing it on their paper.  With their procedures wrote down, I can find out where the mistake is in their process.  Students should have a solid foundation in the basic aspects of Math without having to rely on a calculator.

Apr
25

As many who’ve experienced Twitter, I have been struggling with trying to find the value of this SNS.  Then, I came across this story.  A graduate student was covering a story in Egypt about anti-government protests when he was arrested along with his translator for suspicion of being involved in the rallies. En route to the police station, he whipped out his phone and began using Twitter to send one word messages like “Arrested” to the Twitter community.  The message spread like wildfire to his Egypt blogger friends and colleagues in the United States.  The college he was from hired a lawyer to defend him and get him out of this sticky situation.

It’s amazing how one world was powerful enough to save him from any physical harm or even death.  The power of Twitter goes simply beyond talking about what you are doing.  It can save lives!

Apr
25

I wish they had included the original study too.

I have always found that concrete examples paint a picture of how the concepts relate to student’s lives and triggers prior knowledge.  Using those visual examples may work for some while the symbols work for others.  I think it should be more about knowing your audience and determining the best course of action to take.  Each group is different.

Apr
25

I have used RateMyProfessors.com before and feel as though the website provided somewhat accurate reflection of the teacher’s teaching style and professionalism.  However, some of the students who get on that website have had a bad experience because they feel the professor pushed them too hard when they were used to coasting through their educational experiences.  That’s a problem with IDEA Evaluations too.  A student who completely loathes a teacher for only pushing them to think in a different manner give a poor evaluation and create misleading data.

Apr
22

Revisions to NCLB are starting to reveal themselves to the public with statements from Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. She is calling for all states to come up with a uniform way of calculating the number of students who graduate from high school by 2012-13.  According to their research, students who do not finish on time or obtain a GED do not perform well in college.  I don’t know if that is necessarily true.  I know of several people who have receive their GED and performed at a high level in college.  What kind of institutions were they looking at for their research?  Did they include vocational studies?

Another major announcement is a federal review of state policy regarding exclusion of test scores from racial groups who did not have enough people to consider it statistically significant.  If the title of the law is “No Child Left Behind” then wouldn’t you think they would include every test score?  Also, are these students purposely being left out to obtain money for the district?  I’d like to see the results of the review conducted on this issue.

Apr
22

After doing some networking activities last night on Ning, I wanted check for some replies to the many messages I sent out.  I typed in the URL for ning.com and to what did my wondering eyes see but an error message.  The status of Ning as of 12:30pm today is “We’ll Be Right Back” like it’s one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons taking a break from the wacky antics of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.  When I checked the blog for Ning to see what is causing the hold up, I discovered that there was an issue somewhere among some of the networks and the administrators had to shut down the website temporarily.  While I’m patient enough to wait for the people behind the scenes to fix the problem, it does limit my opportunities to check out the networks I’ve joined and continue with my experience in Ning.

Apr
21

The third chapter in the book entitled “The Hidden Price of Computers” discusses increasing price of computers whose life expectancy is only around 5 years.  Throughout the chapter, he mentions the subject of Science and how the cost of putting in computers could be used to build a nice physics lab or chemistry lab.  I’m not a huge fan of science by any means, but I am a fan of hands on learning.  I would consider the labs to be a higher priority than the computer when you are making the decision on which one is more practical.  However, the computers do serve as a means of gaining access to information that may not be available in your school’s library. The library is only as good as the books it is outfitted with and there are some subjects that may require to go outside of it. Enter the computer and the Internet.  When schools are making the decision of what they need to purchase with their budget, they need to analyze their needs first and then focus on what they would like to see in their schools second.

The fourth chapter in the book entitled “Loony for Laptops” discusses schools who are attempting to outfit their students with laptop computers. The idea that computers are the answer to the textbook epidemic of dealing the high cost.  While the computer may provide more up to date information to obtain for the class to use.  Both the the textbook and the computer information are used as resources for the classroom.  The textbook seems as though it may be easier for students to take home and use as oppose to laptops.  There are going to be some cases where students may need a laptop to help them complete tasks in class as well as homework, but I don’t think it is necessary for every student to be outfitted with one.  Money allocated for purchasing laptops may be better spent on other areas of the school building.   Although, if students were given laptops I think they would be more responsible with them say their textbook.  Their textbook is more than likely old and boring, but the laptop is something they are going to be more interested in and take better care of.  Sure accidents are going to happen and maintenance is going to be required, but I don’t think we should completely rule out the possibility of student learning some responsibility with their laptops.  Schools just need to be sure they can trust their students with these pieces of technology before they go out and buy a bunch of laptops.

The fifth chapter of the book entitled “Multimedia Comics” talks about how comic books provided a snippet into classic books.  I don’t know if I necessarily agree with him on this one.  I didn’t read comic books that told the stories from classic books, but I do remember watching the television series “Wishbone”.  For those of you who don’t know about this show, Wishbone would get into adventures with his owner and for half of the show it will play the events, while the other half of the show would tell the story from a classic book.  Stories like “Tale of Two Cities”, “Treasure Island”, “The Count of Monte Cristo” etc. were used on the show.  These productions on the show would not tell the entire story, but just the basic gist.  After watching this show, I got curious about what the actually book might be like.  The same thing occured when I would watch a movie rendition of a classic tale.  While movies and comic books provide condensed versions of the actually story, I don’t think they deter people from actually reading the published tales. I agree with him though that reading books on the computer is very hard on the eyes and something I do rarely.  You just don’t get the same experience reading a book on a computer that you get with a book.

Apr
19

Ning is a third party medium that serves as a global community for social networks created by its members.  Anyone has the ability to create a social network pertaining to just about any topic they want to discuss with others.  The website provides opportunities to empowers its members with creating these social networks and starting conversations they are interested in.  Most of the services provided by Youtube and Flickr are available for use within their social network, so the number of tool available to them are endless.

The rules for Ning are some of the things you might consider to be common sense found in Acceptable Use and Conduct of the Terms of Service page.  Things like avoiding threats, misleading information, and harassment are unacceptable resulting in a ban from the service.  In later posts, I’ll go more in depth on more rules.

Anybody can create an ID on Ning and be apart of the social networks.  The only limitation comes in the form of those creators who restrict access to their networks to keep unwanted people out and only allow the individuals to which the network was created for in.

If you have any experience working with Ning, I would appreciate your insight.

Apr
18

So, I’ve worked with Twitter for a bit, but I think I’m going to change my SNS to Ning.  It just looks like you can do a whole lot more with it.  I know I said I was going to look for more things to do with Twitter, but I don’t think I would find a whole lot of things.