Monday, September 29, 2014

Journal Review #3

Article Review #3

Linik, J.R. (2012). Literacy 2.0: Teaching students the skills needed to succeed in our information economy, Education Northwest v17 (Spring 2012) pg 16-19.
            The article begins by saying that English Language Learners are begging to takes quizzes via various technology devices. This article focuses on the technology being utilized in the Seattle public school systems. Using these technology devices students are allowed to focus more on literacy skills and collaborating with others. These “Net Gen” kids primarily have grown up using digital tools to complete tasks every day. It is the school’s responsibility to teach children how to succeed in this information economy.
            The article states the example of Clagget Creek Middle School and its teacher, Matt Hurst, who used iPod Touches for students to utilize during classroom discussions, research finding and writing via a blog. It gives all his students appropriate wait time and the chance to participate. Some apps also give the students a chance for healthy competition.  It is a way for them to chart progress and gain confidence. These apps also give immediate feedback so that Mr. Hurst can incorporate re-teaching moments or extension activities into his lesson.
            Literacy is challenge for many of Mr. Hurst’s students, so he is using the technology to help the students with their writing. They students can connect to this format because it is what they are used to seeing when then read.
            Seattle also has a blog ( where students can write and post about social injustices, their own writing or drawing or community issues. This type of platform allows them to communicate and collaborate with others and as well as speak to the “real world.” This gives students the greater purpose of sharing their voice and that what they say matters.
            Using digital tools increases the engagement of the students and allows students to gain an interest in a topic/class. Students can hone literacy skills through reading, researching and responding. Through the create of digital story media student communicate to the community at large.
Many of the applications mentioned in this article keeps English Language Learners in mind. However, I think it is important to note that these can be applied to any student. The idea of students using digital tools to communicate to the “real world” or community is the most important idea. Students need to be able to have their voices heard and taken into consideration.
            I think it is important it start small and continues to build on the foundation. Students may take their writing more serious and learn the skill of clearly communicating with a purpose.

I would like to see it start in the intermediate grades with letters to the community, an open dialogue with the Village board. The students even at this young age can be activist for a cause they believe in. As they continue with their education, we can have them reach out of their neighborhood and become global thinkers. Start sharing their ideas with people at large and communicating with people abroad. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Journal Review #2

Article Review #2

Gonzales, L., Vodicka, D. and White, J. (2011) Leadership 2.0: Social Media in Advocacy Leadership, v41 n1 Sep-Oct 2011 p18-20, 22, 38.
Incorporating social media into the classroom may seem like a daunting task for most educators. It doesn’t matter what you teach or how long you have been teaching for, the use of social media for education is rapidly growing. These Web 2.0 tools range from basic use of Internet, mobile devices, to social search engines, and photo-sharing services. First created for the personal use and entertainment value; they are making the way into the education field.
            These tools are now being used to begin social changes. Education leaders are now tasked with informing the public about the variety of changes happening in the education community, whether it be education politics, school closings or budget discussions. Using the knowledge of these issues can help turn a personal campaigns into public campaigns. Teachers can become educational leaders outside of their classroom and create action where there was none prior.
            When choosing to use social media it is important that you start with a clear purpose and that the tool that you use will match up with that purpose. If you begin this advocacy, it is also important that you continually monitor what is going on. Campaigns have been used for centuries, but using social media for those campaigns is something that is new. In 2008, The Obama campaign gained 5 million supports through various social networks.
Facebook – Facebook is free and has over 600 million users. It can provide people with 24/7 newsfeed and an abundance of content. One can like a status, follow a page or add to a conversation. It is important to remember that not everyone has a Facebook account so don’t rely on this as your sole communication tool.
Twitter – Originally created to answer the question “What are you doing?”, now it provides people to use 140 characters to communicate quickly and provides a sense of immediacy. With so many people using Twitter, a message can get retweeted several times to broaden your communication circle, however, the message can also get lost with so many people posing their own message.
eBlasts – An effective way of getting information out to a lot of people is to use email blasts. You can use a company for a nominal fee that will often provide you with a template to send out your message.
Blogs – There are so many blogs and blog companies out now. It is very easy to set up and maintain. It started out as a diary entry format, but has expanded to education and the food world. The ease of publishing a blog and being able to use that blog into various settings, makes it very common and popular.
            With the education field rapidly changing and the various challenges that are presented to us, social media is a great way to get the issues and potential solutions to the public, community members, parents, and politicians. We encourage children to stand up and right for what they believe in, it is time that educators use social media to take that stand.
            Throughout this class, we have discussed technology tools and social media for the classroom. I never thought it use it on a bigger scale. Even while reading this article, I kept thinking of how to apply it to my classroom’ do I use Facebook or Twitter to get my message across. Yes, I do want to make a change in education, but right now I just want my E/LA students to turn their reading log in on time. It amazes me that this tool can allow for differentiation at levels and purposes.

            I think that these tools are all great communication tools and are useful within the classroom and outside the classroom. Educators can help dispel myths about teaching and provide accurate information to the public so that they can make an informed decision. It is nice that with just a tap of some keys and a click of a mouse, the world can potentially change. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Being a student (again) is an daunting task. I have a new found respect for our students and people going back to class. Diving into this new chapter in my career is filled great trepidation. It is scary moment to try and learn something new for the first time. I am used to being in the "know" and in charge. Now I have to give into the wind and trust myself to learn and keep I now have realized that "techie" mistakes can be fixed with a great amount of patience and a little help from my friends.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Journal Review #1

Article Review #1: Integrating Social Media into the Classroom Curriculum

Abe, P. & Jordan N.A. (2013) Integrating Social Media Into the Classroom Curriculum, American College Personnel Association and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 16-20, DOI: 10.1002/abc.21107

            In the article “Integrating Social Media into the Classroom Curriculum” Paige Abe and Nickolas A. Jordan examine the use of social media in higher education. This is primary done through various experimental assignments, class surveys and observational feedback.
            “94% of first year college students spent time on social networking sites in a typical week” (Abe & Jordan, 2013). With that statistic college educators set out to incorporate social media into the classroom primary to increase student engagement.  Using a digital tool such as Twitter ©, educators were able to spark discussion among students, interaction between students and faculty and facilitate interactive and collaborative learning. Assignments or discussion questions were posted and students were to respond using Twitter © with an assigned hastag for the educator to follow. This provided a way for students to participate in class during class and beyond the classroom walls.
            Students in higher education (the millennials) are born tech savvy and using social media allows for them to be more engaged and allow educators to meet the students’ needs at their level. Some disadvantages of using tools such as Twitter creates the potential for distractions in the classroom, especially within a lecture style class where it is unlikely for a professor to call out a particular student. However, it was stated that students have been self distracting for years prior to the invention of technology. Skype is another tool that has been incorporated in higher education. It allows for global education to take place and breaks down physical, financial or geographical barriers.
            Students are very competent in using social media, but now applying social media to education provides another level of use that they may not be familiar with. It isn’t enough for a educator to set up an assignment or activity using social media and set the students to collaborate and share without some guidance and direction. This can be as simple as a lesson in modeling what the expectations of using social media in education. Educators will now have a greater responsibly of instructing the use of social media in an education setting and motoring the appropriate use of this tool. With the lasting effects of a digital footprint, students may not be aware of the interaction within social media even if it for higher education.
            Using social media to engagement of students may leave educators feeling uncomfortable and blurring the lines between professional and personal interactions. Also it decrease the role that face to face interaction and how typed words can be misinterpreted. Just as educators may set those clear boundaries and finally feel comfortable with social media, there is a great potential for the tools to change and educators are right back at the starting point.
            Even though this article presented both the advantages and disadvantages of social media in higher education, the overall recommendation is that it is a positive and productive tool. It received positive feedback from both students and educators. There is still many kinks to work out; that will only be solved through application and practice.


            Even though this article was written with the college level student in mind, I think it can be easily applied to every level of educator. One of the biggest issues that we struggle with is student interaction and engagement. I don’t think social media would completely erase the issue, but it would help ease it. Using social media in the middle school is a great tool to help the communication and bridge the gap between school and home. Our students often go home and notify their parents that they didn’t learn anything and no homework, whether that be the truth or not. Using tools like a classroom Twitter © or Facebook © allows parents to see what their child is learning and provide a basis of conversation between the student and parent. This may also cause some strife from the student if they are not keeping with their assignments. However, I feel that is a risk that both educators and parents are willing to take. Teaching itself is never easy and adding social media to our content would be a daunting task, but it is one that is necessary. If we ask students to use social media in the classroom, then we need to teach them how to use it. Educators need to set clear guidelines and expectations. This can only help our students within the classroom walls and beyond in their future education and society.