Youth and Facebook

March 20, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Technology in the classroom) (, )

As a teacher, I feel that it is my job to encourage students to become active citizens in our society. I will use my class to promote civic engagement and social justice to teach the youth of our future to be politically, culturally, and publicly aware of what is going on in our world.  These days, with the Internet and all the different media, there are so many outlets for students to use to talk about how they feel and what they want to change. According to the article, the author discusses the popularity of participatory media, but the lack of social engagement from these same teens.  How are we, as teachers, supposed to promote using media to encourage social justice?

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Right now, teens are using participatory media prevalently. Participatory media is defined as media such as blogs, wikis, social networking, podcasts, digital self-portraits,  mashups, video blogs, etc. These media are unique because they are often public on the Internet, and can be shared by many users. In addition, participatory media has the characteristic of uniting and relying on users. Participatory media is important because it allows children to express their ideas using an outlet that can be shared with their peers and youth all around the world.  It enables teens to connect with other users and share their ideas. Participatory media should be used as means to promote social change due to its large repertoire of users.

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So this raises the question: How do we teach teens and youth to use media to be proactive and promote social justice? I think that once we implement so much meaning and weight to something, it automatically turns kids off. In other words, once we make blogging and writing wikis assignments, it takes away from the freedom and looseness that is commonly associated with these participatory media. Once students feel the pressure to produce something that needs to be something in content, they might be discouraged and unmotivated.  I think that it is crucial to encourage students to be critical thinkers, however allow them to do it on their own time and conditions.

Throughout the years, the youth have been mega influential when it comes to changing things and raising awareness. If we look at the recent elections in the U.S. and the effects of the hype and propaganda that was create by the younger generations, we can see how significant youth influence is. Now, we have to learn how to make these same kids channel their influence and power in a positive and monumental way. The kids need to stand up for what they believe in and we have to make them passionate about more than just perezhilton.com or Britney Spears’ latest debauchery. Using the youth power through media to spread positive messages about social justice is the ideal way to use participatory media. Now it is up to us as teachers to make them passionate about and politically aware!

 

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Another bloggy blog blog

March 12, 2009 at 9:56 pm (Technology in the classroom) (, )

Social networking is a tough thing for me to stomach. Although I am an avid user of it and have been for several years, there is a time and place for it. What I mean by this is that social networking, is not, and I repeat, NOT for everybody, and to think it is totally unrealistic. Okay, maybe that sounds harsh.  Social networking is for people…hmmmm…how can I put this delicately, that are mature enough to limit and control the content used and observed. I don’t think that this can be monitored by age, because I think there are FAR too many twenty something’s that use social networking in a negative and harmful way. But it is the way nature runs its course, that, as you get older, you often mature.

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After having read Danah Boyd’s article about social networking and youth, I thought about what she had to say about the public’s view of this recent phenomenon and how this affects youth and our society. Not matter what article I read and how many lectures I attend, I do not buy the whole social networking thing for kids. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of using technology to teach and having the children use technology to learn. I think it is mega valuable in our education system. I am also no dinosaur, in fact, I might be seen as a total hipster, however I have a real hard time seeing the value in having 12 year olds on facebook. Now I’ve always been a bit old school about certain things, but I think that kids, sometimes just have to be kids. And social networking is not a way to be a kid. I think using these sites and outlets are an interesting way to share yourself with other people, and to learn about these same friends. I think the fact that you can choose what people see is a feature that was meant to be used by mature individuals, not some hormone-crazed 13 year old.

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Do you remember being 13 and not being allowed to watch PG16 movie? I remember it not making much sense to me back then. What difference does it make, I thought? I could probably just rent it when it came out if I reaaaaallly wanted to watch it. The fact is that, most of the time I did not wanna watch it once it came out. In other words, that stupid PG16 worked. I remember being 16 and desperately wanting my eyebrow pierced cause I was cool like that, but I needed my parent’s signature and I knew I would never get it. I could have easily forged it, but instead I decided I would 2 years and guess what? I never got a piercing. Partly because I am now deathly paranoid about piercing shops, but also because they discouraged me to do something potentially stupid when I was at my most influenceable and vulnerable age. I feel that social networking sites should do the same. Force kids to get their parents consent. The fittest will find a way to do it, but I think many will decide it’s not worth the effort and will grab a soccer ball and go play outside. 

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I love Smartboards.

February 24, 2009 at 7:26 pm (Technology in the classroom) (, )

Last Thursday, I was asked to substitute teach in a second grade classroom.  I knew the teacher and children pretty well and felt that this would an easy day. After seeing the plan left by the actual teacher, I quickly realized that this would be a REALLY easy day for me. Why you may ask? Because this specific teacher is a techno-freak and integrates technology whenever and as often as she can, thus this made my job as the fill-in teacher easy-peasy.  Almost every activity throughout the day was accompanied by some sort of technology. And because the students were so accustomed to  this type of learning, it wasn’t difficult to run the activities. For the first hour of the day, I was to set up centers, including activities on the Smartboard, a listening station, and computers. As I supervised the activities, I watched students work on the Smartboard together with total ease and comfort, use the listening station without any problems, needless, play happily on the computers. Several arguments that surround technology are based on the fact that the set up, planning and management when using technology doesn’t make it worth it. However, in this classroom, the students are so accustomed to the routine that it was probably easier than setting up a paper activity. They knew the centers and how to use them, and when the Smartboard was causing some technological difficulties, also gave me some friendly and effective advice on how to fix it. These students were in SECOND grade and were so on track with technology, they would probably put most students in our faculty to shame…but not me of course 😉 I guess my point is, that if you implement technology in the right way, it can be extremely successful for both the students and the teacher.

 In our readings this week, they discuss exactly that. In chapter 5, the author suggests different approaches some administrations should take when introducing technology in schools and in classrooms.  One approach that is discussed in great detail is the ecological approach to technology. In this approach, media ecology is explained as how media and technology affects our environment, and which technologies have greater impacts and why. I find this particularly interesting because this idea plays with the theory that certain technologies have bigger impacts on us, such as social networking.

If we decided to integrate social networking in education, it is imperative that teachers and the administration are aware of the effects of this media on the children’s environment.

Because as per the readings, certain media can have negative effects on the users. In addition, the readings also discuss the importance of professional development in education. Referring to my experience subbing in that grade 2 class, this was an example of a teacher that decided to develop herself professionally to improve the teaching and learning in her classroom. By taking workshops and doing work at home, this teacher improved her computer skills and established a classroom where technology plays a vital role in the curriculum. 

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Techno-Friendly Chapter 3

February 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm (Technology in the classroom) (, )

I find the issue of technology in schools an interesting battle. I spent three in a half months in an elementary school doing my field experience, and I can’t tell you how many times the issue of technology came up in discussions, staff meetings and workshops. I find it’s a love/hate relationship most of the time, and it could bring out the best in and worst in teachers. During staff meetings, you could almost see the burning line drawn between the teachers that got technology and those that didn’t. And even though the staff got along great, when technology was the issue, the

tension would build. Being totally technologically friendly, I found this divide

hilarious. And it wasn’t even as clear as old school and new school

teachers. Some teachers were pushing retirement and were teaching me new tricks for the smartboard, while some brand new teachers were refusing the idea of smartboards in their classrooms.

 

 

In the reading, the author discusses the stages of pedagogical development and the hierarchy of needs, better described by Abraham Maslow. In this pyramid, the teaching and learning of technology can be described in different stages. Maslow describes these stages starting from the top of the pyramid, as cultural transformation, collaboration, authoring and lastly, content management. As a student in university, I use these stages in my everyday life; however, the idea of reproducing all of these stages in an elementary classroom seems like a challenge. More and more classrooms are being pushed towards technology, and just recently, the Lester B. Pearson school board has set up a instant messaging system with parents. This all seems like a wonderful theory, however how are the schools supposed to sell these ideas, if the staff doesn’t buy them. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I can’t see that this huge technological push from the school boards is going to be effective in the classrooms if teachers are not comfortable with technology. Even at McGill, in the Education faculty, there are teachers that are not comfortable with technology and choose not to use it.


 

So this makes me wonder: What is it about technology that makes seasoned and quality teachers refute even the mention of online discussion boards and what can be done (if anything at all) to encourage these same teachers to use technology in the classroom? Of course there are workshops and guest speakers that come in and talk about all the great things you can do with it, but instead of encouraging non-users, they often end up by just intimidating these same teachers. In chapter 3, the author discusses all the wonder of the web and how it can be translated in the classroom, however I don’t feel it is as wonderful if the teachers are nervous and apprehensive to use technology. Also, we can’t expect teachers to want to use technology if they can’t see the advantages and benefits. We need to show these same teachers what can be done that is useful to them instead of just giving them all these tools that they don’t even see as useful. Well, that’s my two cents on technology. 


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Blog numero uno.

January 16, 2009 at 3:55 pm (Technology in the classroom)

This is my first of many blogs:) This video is wonderful and hilarious. Watch as many times as you deem necessary.

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