On Science Fiction

Isaac Asimov said, “Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology.”

Now, as an aspiring science teacher, I’ve had it expressed to me the concern that I may not understand the differences between reality and science fiction. Quite frankly, this is a goofy concern. The real beauty of sci-fi is that it can take a look at crucial issues without having to involve itself directly in the “reality” of present-day living which focuses on the so often blown up “real” lives of those characters. (I mean really, when was the last time that one of your life problems was tied together neatly in a bow within 22 minutes?)

Sci-fi can be anything from a space opera to a short story about the implication of a new smart phone app. We as teachers are constantly being driven to use technology and to help students integrate it into their lives, and while I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, I would like to point out that very often the teachers don’t understand these implications themselves, let alone how to teach them to students. And I also won’t suggest that science fiction is the only means of doing so, but I’ll be darned if it isn’t a good means of opening up insight and discussion to a topic.

When someone else says that they don’t like Star Trek because they don’t like aliens, lasers, and robots, I can’t help but be a little saddened, because where they see aliens, I see a new take on the issue of racism. Where they see lasers, I see the implications of a new technology being explored. And where they see robots, I see the very real future where we as a culture will need to deal with the issue of artificial intelligence rights, and exactly the predicament that we’ll be in before too long.

I feel that any teacher worth their salt should partake in a good book every once in a while, and all I’d ask is that maybe one of those times, try picking up Earth is Room Enough by Asimov, and tell me what you think.

Convergence and Mobility

First off, I like the idea of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in an educational setting. I recognize that there are class problems that can arise from this, since there are absolutely students who don’t have their own phones/tablets/laptops to bring, but if the school can provide devices for the use of those students, then that’s basically problem solved.

This week’s topic discusses the wide uses of mobile devices in the classroom, and specifically the idea that the phone in your pocket isn’t just a phone (it probably rarely gets used for actual phone calls anyways), but it’s also a microphone, a camera, a touch-screen, and access to the internet and apps all in one. I remember back in high school, when working on a video project, I had to borrow camcorders with actual TAPES to make a video project with. Now any student could make a video whenever they wanted with their own device using free software that’s available as long as there’s a web connection.

Of course one of the downsides of allowing mobiles into the classroom is the potential for them to be used as a distraction. This obviously requires addressing in any classroom, since that’s become a staple of classroom management. But to paraphrase the words of one of my old professors, Jason Donev, on the invitation of the use of the internet into the classroom, “I found that by inviting it into the classroom and not having it as something restricted, then that also invites responsible use of it as well.” By actively showing students that their phones can be used as more than just a texting and Youtube device, then they’ll be more likely to use it responsibly and for creative outlets both in and out of the classroom.

I came across this article yesterday, talking about how many schools in Norway have banned cell phone use in schools and have students store them in “mobile hotels” so that they’re safe over the course of the day. The article paints this idea in a very positive light, and as a very progressive act, yet I would argue the opposite. If the emphasis is on tradtional teaching methods, then banning mobiles make sense, but there are so many ways that mobiles can be helpful to student learning that can’t be explored in those schools because of the decisions of the administrators rather than leaving it to the professional judgement of the teachers. It could also be argued that in this day and age of constant technology use, it’s good to get students out from in front of a screen. The argument certainly has some validity, but by enforcing this, we’re also teaching children that technology shouldn’t be used for educational or work purposes; just for use in personal life.

Basically what banning cell phones does.

Basically what banning cell phones does.

Once again, I come to the idea of classroom management: many teachers feel frustrated with students and their phones, and feel like they need to compete with them. The key to managing any classroom is to have clear expectations and to hold students to those expectations. By letting students know your expectations on the use of technology, all you’re doing is being an effective teacher. I feel that this is the key to the technology in the classroom debate; we need to teach responsible use of technology to our students, and it will open up many new doors for them.

Significant Comments

http://michelleosborneblog.weebly.com/journal/convergence-mobile-devices#comments

http://calewinterneted.weebly.com/blog/topic-10-convergence-and-mobility#comments

Web Awareness II

I think that this week’s topic touches on something that’s always been important whether it’s in a digital sense or not, and that’s the idea of critical thought. There’s no doubt at all in my mind that people have become even more gullible since the advent of the internet, but all throughout history it’s been the case that people have a tendency to believe whatever they’re told. In some ways I have to wonder if it’s not some sort of Occam’s Razor complex where it’s simply easiest to believe whatever information is presented rather than have to exert energy to contemplate it. There’s also a certain extent where we’re indoctrinated into it; just look at the way that politicians operate. The world is full of people who believe that Elvis lives on Mars, that airplanes are poisoning angels with chemtrails, and that their way of worshiping “God” is the right one. And let’s face it, we’ve all gotten a bit outraged over an Onion article that we’ve read before realizing that we’ve been duped. The fact of the matter is that it’s all too easy to either maintain misguided ideas that we simply don’t want to let go of, or get tricked into believing something that’s just not true simply because it comes from an unreliable source that we trust as reliable.

355091.full

Anyways, I think that the matter of promoting critical thought is a very important one, and not just through digital means. In social studies, for example, I think it is an important matter to analyze things like election promises from various politicians and ask whether those promises had ever been fulfilled. In English, we could take a closer look at advertising and break down how it work. In science, we should look at issues such as how climate change is seen in the realm of politics and then the financial reasons why it’s been ignored. These are just some ideas, but this is one of those ideas that I think is among the most important to be addressed in schools, but it ends up being turned into something more along the lines of this:

critical-thinking-cartoonOne idea that I’ve tampered with in my head is to warn my students ahead of time that I will purposely add small pieces of misinformation to my notes and that I want them to find the errors for me. As much as I don’t care for bonus marks, I think that would be a decent incentive, but I also have to wonder about the morality of purposely lying to students about the content, even if i do intend on correcting it. The reasoning behind this would be to force the students to realize that just because something comes from a source that you trust (in this case the teacher), it doesn’t mean that it’s always reliable.

Now as for digital citizenship, I feel like I’ve written full books on this issue by now. On the whole, I would say that I agree with Douglas Rushkoff for the most part. He basically says that although the internet is largely a place of anonymity and disconnection with our real lives due to it being an out-of-body experience, we should encourage our students to use it in a way that makes it a part of and extension of themselves. For the most part, this already happens; a Facebook profile, Twitter account, World of Warcraft character, etc. will become a part of the user’s identity and as such, it will become part of their image that they care about. If your character gets a reputation for stealing all the best loot in a raid, then very quickly no one will want to play with you anymore. If your website promotes hate, then it could very easily get petitioned or banned inside particular circles. If it was bad enough, then it could make it way back into your real life and have very real consequences, such was the case when Justine Sacco posted an ill-thought-through tweet (see the image below) and ended up getting fired for it.

justine-sacco-tweet-data

It’s the illusion of anonymity online that brings out the worst aspects of people, and the reason is the idea that because the things that you do online can’t be traced back directly to you, and as such, there will be no consequences for the actions taken. I feel like one of the best ways to address this in school is through interactive video games. In something like Mincraft Edu, the teacher can monitor chat, student activities, and watch for poor behaviour which can in turn become teachable moments. This can also be accomplished through social websites and web projects. The fact of the matter is that it needs to be an ever-present and ongoing theme in any classroom, just as social behaviours in the real world are. It’s certainly not a one-week lesson, but a life-long one.

Significant Comments

http://ed4764prcic.blogspot.ca/2015/06/topic-9-reflection.html?showComment=1433790065528#c3383575221032981708

http://marywauters4764.weebly.com/blog/web-awareness-ii#comments

Web Awareness I

Digital Citizenship is a big deal to me. I plan on incorporating a lot of internet use into my lessons wherever I end up teaching, and I feel that in many ways (as a self-proclaimed denizen of the internet and also as a teacher) that it falls under my purview to make sure that my students are practicing safe surfing. The problem of course, is where do I start? It’s such a broad topic that setting out to address these matters is far from a small undertaking. I think that first and foremost that an immersion in the internet in class is crucial. It’s not simply a matter that can be brought up as a lesson one day and then left at that; unlike long division or potential gravitational energy theory, it’s a societal issue and one that deserves long-lasting attention. By suffusing these ideals throughout the length of a semester, it will be easier to ingrain positive web ideals into our students.

I think that a set of rules for internet use is crucial for within the classroom, and even more so that there’s discussion around them by the students to make sure that there is understanding there as to the reasoning behind them as well as the outlines of the rules themselves. By understanding the reasoning, the students should be more likely to practice safe internet use even when it’s not in the classroom.

I also think that using case studies and real-world examples are important because it makes these things more relatable to students when they see that there are consequences. There will always be that aspect of “it always happens to someone else” that must be combated, but that’s never going to entirely go away.

The way that I feel is the best way to present the matter of others online is to break it up into three categories:

  • The people that you know online and in real life – Friends from school, family
  • The normal people just like you online – Fellow users of Twitter, Facebook, Reddit
  • The people who are out to harm you online – phishing, predators, viruses, thieves

There can be overlaps, and these are very broad topics, but these can be broken down into further discussion discussion about the implications of the things that we say and do online, from writing a hurtful comment to providing enough information that someone could guess an online banking password.

Overall, the goal should be to get our students to think about what they’re putting online and how it affects them and those around them. There are tools such as this website to measure your “digital footprint” which can help to prove the point, but as long as our students at least consider what they’re doing online, then it’s a step in the right direction. (Pun intended.)

On the topic of filtering school websites, I’m pretty much against it. I recognize the good that can come of them, but I also know that there are times when I’ve found perfectly innocuous websites that are banned for some reason under the school district. I also feel that there comes a level of freedom of speech and respect for choice with it. I agree that many websites are not appropriate for school, but as McKenzie (1996) states, “When is it permissible, if ever, to shape the flow of information to support certain “truths” over others?” There should be consequences when students blatanly misuse school internet services, but there can also be potential teaching applications in many blocked websites. Also there’s the question of, “When has hiding something from children ever effectively saved them from it?”

Cyber-bullying is its own giant can of worms, although just like offline bullying, it ties back to many other means of respecting others, but with an added element of anonymity and the power that comes with it online. In many ways, that illusion of power is what causes so many online problems and addressing it is one of the best things that we can do for teaching web awareness.

In regards to being a teacher, our online presences can really be summed up succinctly (in my opinion) as follows: Be professional. When anyone is working in the public eye, we need to keep the appearance of professionalism by necessity. We’re all individuals and we all have images that we want to uphold, often different ones to different audiences, but as professionals, we also need to act like professionals. An unfortunate example of the consequences are the recent events surrounding Calgary MLA Deborah Drever. (http://globalnews.ca/news/2012342/controversial-calgary-mla-suspended-from-ndp-caucus/) In order to teach our students web safety, we need to recognize it in our own practices first. (I mean, I suppose you don’t have to, but then we’d just be hypocrites.)

Significant Comments

http://sarileedblog.weebly.com/blog/reflection-8-web-awareness-i#comments

http://juliesedportfolio.weebly.com/ed-4764/topic-8-web-awareness-1#comments

Response to “Alive in the Swamp”

Find the document here: http://www.michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/13_Alive_in_the_Swamp.pdf

In broad strokes, the summary of the publication Alive in the Swamp (Michael Fullen, Katelyn Donnelly, 2013) is that in order for technology within education to be transformational, that is to change the way that learning works, big changes in technology, pedagogy, and the system itself need to happen.

They start off by describing the system in a way that basically works like this: school is boring and nobody wants to be there, but at the same time the opportunities for learning by means of technology have never been greater but still aren’t being realized within formal education.

Technology, pedagogy, and system change are identified as the three big forces in the educational revolution and that only by combining all three can we successfully launch progress forwards. They argue that while technology is increasingly moving forwards (faster than ever, in fact), pedagogy and system change are not doing very much to keep up with it. I would actually agree quite a lot with this statement, because it seems like more and more technology growth is getting away from us (it’s hard for anyone to keep up), and as such it would be even harder for a large complicated organism like the education system to keep up as well.

The authors’ four criteria that any new learning system must meet are these:

  • Irresistible engagement for students and teachers
  • Elegantly easy to use and adapt
  • 24/7 access to technology
  • Steeped in real life problems

The authors go on to talk about subjects like the roles of teachers in the classroom (as facilitators and activators), technology placement, and the weaknesses and strengths of pedagogy in order to flesh out the details of what really needs to change the most within the system.

In the next section, the authors describe the Index that they’ve created which breaks down pedagogy, technology, and system change into granular components and describe the grading system on how these parts of the system work. The Index itself is an evaluative tool that can be applied to educational technologies in order to determine their usefulness in an educational system.

The subcomponents of pedagogy are clarity and quality of intended outcomes, its underlying theory and practice of how to deliver learning, and quality of the assessment platform. The subcomponents of system change are support for implementation of new strategies and technologies (since there are so many new advancements to choose from), the value of these advancements from a financial standpoint, and the potential for the system change on the large scale. As for technology, the subcomponents are the quality of user experience/model design, ease of adaptation, and comprehensiveness and integration. Each of these components has several paragraphs written on the in-depth details of what constitutes “off-track” through “good” practices and some specifics on the intended meaning. I won’t go through all these details here because they’re all listed there in the document.

In the end, the research ended up finding that more often than not, pedagogy and system change are the weak links in the triangle and that when moving “forward,” it’s easier to develop technology on its own rather than with the other two variables along with it. The authors recommend trying to lead with pedagogy and having technology and system change follow in its wake. They again argue some ideas of how this might be accomplished.

Reflection

So quite honestly, I feel like this document was a needlessly difficult read. I understand that they were trying to incorporate much of the actual science and psychology in order to make it applicable, but I also feel like a “dumbed-down” version would go over much better.

I do agree with what they’re getting at though. Even to a casual observer, it’s fairly obvious that technology leads pedagogy and system change. That’s the way that the world works now: in every new decade, technological progression is moving forward even more quickly than the decades before it. You can talk to any teacher and hear a vastly different opinion on technology and its use/viability in the classroom than an opinion from another teacher. The fact of the matter is that we’re getting new technologies faster than we can use them effectively within education, and to many teachers there is no readily apparent reason why they should start doing something new when what they’ve always done in the past is working fine. The topic of keeping up to date with these new technologies is also an issue that is very much alive in the scope of this discussion.

I’d agree with the opinion that North American school systems require an overhaul, and not just in terms of technology use within the curriculum. But part of the reason why teachers may struggle with ways to incorporate the technology available to them is that they feel there is some inflexibility within the curriculum or that they are trapped in traditional methods.

Overall, I agree with the paper that we need to lead with pedagogy rather than technology, but this is hardly just an educational mindset that needs to change: it’s a societal one. We’re proverbially being led around by the nose by what’s shiny and new on the market, just proving that technology is leading everywhere. It’s all part of a big feedback loop which can possibly help to be changed by changes to the school system, but we’re still a long way off of that.

Collaboration in the Classroom

We all want our students to collaborate. We want to promote social interactions between them and we want them to be able to work together effectively; that’s part of what it means to be a 21st century learner, right?

I think that when it comes to technology, though, we should walk a fine line on how we present it. The website Todays Meet is basically an anonymous online IM (Instant Messaging) software, which is fine for chatting, but without anything else going for it, I don’t really see many applications for it in the classroom. A teacher isn’t going to (or probably shouldn’t) type out all of their lecture notes for a class in batches of 140 characters or less, and wouldn’t it ultimately be easier for students to simply ask a question out loud than take the time to type it out? (Especially if that student takes a while to type: by the time the question is asked, you could be on to an entirely new topic.) If it were being used as a means to teach an online class, then maybe there would be more applications, but as it is simply a basic IM program, I feel like it’s better used for social activities rather than any form of social learning.

Then there’s the ever-classic, Google Drive. Students can work on papers and assignments together, at the same time, from two computer, ANYWHERE? What’s not to love, really?

I hadn’t heard of Socrative before, but I’m thoroughly impressed and intrigued by what I’ve seen now. Unlike Todays Meet, it’s more than just an IM software. There are options for quiz questions of varying types and it gives immediate feedback to the students upon answering. A teacher can lecture or be presenting a lesson and give students questions for them to answer anonymously and immediately. This is something that I’ve been wanting to make use of ever since having clickers be introduced to me in university courses. The principle is the same: everyone has something that can allow them to respond to a digital question that’s been presented at the front of the room and once everyone has answered or time is up, then a graphic is presented that shows the number of people that answered in certain ways. I love this idea and it’s something I’m going to give a try in my PSIII.

Another one that I really like is the idea of video games in the classroom. One of my favourites is Minecraft because of the ultimate power in terms of creativity. It’s called a sandbox game because you can build pretty much whatever you want in it to suit your needs. I’d recommend checking out http://www.minecraftedu.com if you’re interested in more, but having students work together to solve problems and overcome challenges in a video game? They already do that at home. Why not take advantage of that interest at school too?

I don’t feel like I have much more to say on this, honestly. Like I said, we want students to collaborate, but I think we should be wary of forcing collaboration online when it would be just as, or even more usefully done in real life, with voices and hands, etc. There may be more out-of-classroom application in some ways than there are for in-classroom ones, using online courses as an example.

Significant Comments:

http://mybloged4764.weebly.com/blog/collaboration#comments

http://fornwald-internetandeducation.weebly.com/blog/7-the-collaborative-classroom#comments

Google Hangouts

Just a small reflection on our Google Hangouts experience:

It’s an interesting program and it seems a bit more versatile than Skype or Facetime, also allowing for screen-sharing and easy integration with other software such as Google Drive, but it still didn’t really change my opinion of video conferencing within the classroom that much. I would definitely be up for giving it a try: using it to talk with athletes or scientists to get students more interested in applications of what they’re learning about. I still worry that the novelty would outweigh anything useful that they’d gain, but I’m willing to try it out and see what happens.

On Publishing

Before anything else on this topic, I want to address a fact that I feel is relevant and important to this: I think that on the whole, creativity in schools needs to keep being emphasized even more than it already is. The maths and sciences are difficult for this, as a lot of the time we’re trying to teach methods to arrive at conclusions. But with computers, english, social, and other subjects, creativity and the desire to be creative should be put at the top of the list and encouraging creativity should be there before publishing is emphasized. (After all, you’re not going to publish a book that the author didn’t want to write.) It could very well be said that publishing content on the internet is a way to get students more interested in creating, but I also think that that drive to be creative needs to be there first.

Another side-note before I get into the nitty-gritty is my love of memes:

afr

While memes are often simply cute pictures of cats online, they can also be a fantastic means of making statements in creative ways: As John Seeley Brown said, learning ecology is “a collection of overlapping communities of interest ( virtual), cross pollinating with each other, constantly evolving, and largely self organizing.” That’s one of the beautiful things about the internet: that many different types of information can come together and connections can be made more readily. Websites like Reddit are a hub of community and information and are excellent means by which to make differing topics of information relatable to each other. Or you can use it to look at cat pictures. That works too.

One of the great things about this Internet and Education course is the vast amount of resources that are provided for us. If you’re not savvy to the options of programs, software, and hardware out there, then so much is provided for us in these Topics for us to pick-and-choose from.

The first one I want to jump on is the idea of the flipped classroom. It’s something that I’ve really wanted to try ever since I first heard of them (and definitely something I want to give a go in my PSIII practicum). While there are obviously many concerns (students not coming to class prepared, lacking technology at home), I think that by showing students how easy it is to put your own content online, it will make that drive to be creative even stronger for them. Let’s look at Victoria Hart as an example:

Victoria Hart is a “Recreational Mathemusician” and ended up finding herself making videos full-time. She posts many math-related videos on Youtube and posts articles on her own personal website, vihart.com. Whether or not she wanted fame, she ended up finding it because of her funny illustrations and rants on mathematical concepts.

Another example is the musician Lindsey Stirling: she’s a violinist and since her rise to fame, she’s participated in many genres of music. One of the biggest reasons she became as big as she is is because she was able to make use of the internet (namely Youtube) to bring attention to herself and become recognized. She has performed musical tours, received numerous awards, and is a real-life story of an internet sensation.

While neither Vi nor Lindsey started their craft because of the internet and their ability to share their work, the ability to do so certainly helped to craft them and their creativity. By promoting tools such as Youtube to students, we can inspire them to want to create by sharing their work with the world (which is obviously a much wider community than friends and family are). That’s what this topic is really about, I think: wanting to have students share their work and inspire greater creativity.

That being said, I fear that we as teachers are up against a high-inertia opponent on this one: I’ve found that (mostly higher grade) students really don’t want to put themselves out their or to share their own work. I’ve seen cases where students will avoid answering questions on a test for fear of getting them wrong, or not wanting their work to be displayed because they don’t want others to judge their work. It’s quite a frightening scenario, honestly, but I also think that by promoting these means of sharing with a wider (and largely more anonymous) community of people can help students to regain that lost confidence and, once again, promote that level of creativity that may be suppressed.

Of course Youtube isn’t the only resource for this; websites like DeviantArt and Pinterest can be used for sharing art, photography, and writing, Thingiverse for digital models, and WordPress or Weebly for blogs and personal websites are all examples of how we can promote students sharing their work. We’re living in a world where literally anyone with a phone or computer can put their work out there. Many students already do this with Twitter and Facebook, but our job should be to promote more than just sharing what they had for dinner, it should be to encourage that higher-level Blooms and get them creative!

But not too creative… :/

Significant Comments:

http://hnatiukblog.weebly.com/blog/publishing#comments

http://karlisteachingblog.weebly.com/my-blog1/topic-6-publishing#comments

2013 Alberta Learning and Technology Policy Framework

A summary and reflection on the 2013 Alberta Learning and Technology Policy Framework, which can be found here: http://www.education.alberta.ca/media/7792655/learning-and-technology-policy-framework-web.pdf

I did this on the website Prezi.com, and the presentation can be found here: http://prezi.com/nkbuxoloru6-/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share 

On a side-note, it’s silly to me that you can’t embed Prezi presentations on WordPress without plugins and hassles.

On Social Media

I’ll start off this blog post like I have the last several: by saying that I have been a long-term denizen of the blogosphere and that its influences have shaped me in many ways, arguably in both good and bad ones. Many of my elementary school friendships existed with people in other countries whom I’d met online through social media (specifically Gaia Online and Nexopia), so social media and I go way back.

Firstly, I’d like to address the matter of controversy around social media: In my opinion, the bringing together of people with common interests can very rarely be a bad thing. There are, of course, sometimes when you really don’t want people spreading their ideas, like when it comes to racial bigotry or young teens running off to join ISIS, etc. That being said, when you start getting people together, whether it’s online or in person, then amazing things can start to happen. In those cases when people are so far away from each other that they can’t meet in person, then the virtual way becomes the only way. When people are able to talk together en mass, then it’s usually a catalyst for something good (again, with some exceptions). There might be some cases that we as teachers will encounter that are some of those exceptions, like when some students are cyber-bullying others. It is in these moments that we can address with our students the concepts of ethics and digital citizenship to get them ready for further online interactions later in life.

tumb

I really like some of the things that Maureen Henderson brings up in her blog post, but I also feel like she’s reaching a very far-gone conclusion in that you should “quit” social media. Like I said, I think there are upsides and downsides both to the concept. One of the upsides for me is that it helped me to develop confidence and social skills when I was younger and bullied at school. That being said, I think her point about harming self-esteem can be quite accurate. I’ve had people say things to me before along the lines of “your life looks so interesting!” after viewing my Facebook profile for a while. I can safely say to you now that I am a very boring person and that I only share the interesting bits so that others don’t think I’m as boring as I am. But this has a very interesting effect, because people get glimpses into the lives of others through social media, but only what those people want them to see (unless they’re on a reality TV show).

twitIt’s in this way when people are only getting to see the “choice cuts” of others lives that they can really start to feel inadequate when it comes to their own personal lives. I could also make the same argument though that I feel equally inadequate for not having friends like Joey (Friends) or Ahbed (Community) in my life as well. I’m pretty sure that’s why we have reality TV shows, right? So that we can watch those and then regain confidence that our own lives aren’t so bad after all.

Now moving aside from the effects of social media on society at large, let’s focus it back down to the classroom. Can social media be used as an effective tool in the classroom? I say yes, it absolutely can be. But first off, I’ll come back to the requirement we have as teachers that says that it is our responsibility to determine when a technology is effective and when it is a hindrance to our students, and in my opinion, most social media falls under the latter of those two categories. I like the idea of a class Twitter, Flickr, or Vine account, for example, where students will be able to share information, pictures, and video of things they’ve worked on or want to share with the educational community. I also like the idea of encouraging the use of Pinterest, Reddit, or Tumblr accounts within and outside of the classroom. All three of these websites can offer up new ideas that others have shared which the students can make use of. For example, a student with an interest in science could follow the r/science subreddit and share those ideas excitedly with their friends. Another could follow r/writingprompts and become a much better writer for it. These are also excellent places to talk about ethics and community: we could look at poor comments others have made and discuss how that might affect someone online. The matter of uncontrollable content raises its head with these sites too, though: with so many users online at a given time, there’s no way for a teacher to filter out undesirable content from the classroom, such as pornography or foul language. The argument that students could get too distracted to make effective use of these tools is also a valid one: on a website like Reddit, there is SO much to see that it could be difficult for students to stay on-task. But then there are websites like Facebook where in the grade-school curriculum, I honestly can’t see a good use for. The thing is that so many people use their Facebook accounts for personal use, any time they would log on with the intent of educational use, there would again be too many personal distractions to be able to accomplish anything. How could you get any work done when all your friends are IMing you at once? Blogging is the last thing I wanted to touch on: I think this is probably one of the best choices out there for teachers. By having students keep online journals, you can try and keep track of them for informal evaluation that way, although I think that any assessment through the content provided would have to remain minimal by default. And by that I mean that you don’t really know that it was the student (and not a friend, sibling, parent, etc.) that wrote it.

tag

Now once again, if anyone has arguments to the contrary, I would love to hear them, but I feel like social media has quite limited use within the classroom. If I were to make use of any for my students, I would probably restrict it to Reddit, Twitter, and possibly have students keep blogs as well.

Significant Comments

http://jjohnsonblog.weebly.com/blog/topic-5-communication-iii#comments

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