Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Digital Citizenship inside Secondary Education


Digital Citizenship “is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use” (Ribble). This is the way teachers and students understand the appropriateness of internet resources and online communities. In grades 7-12 many students have knowledge and exposure to online resources, in this level they are expected to understand the good and bad of what is out there and what these sources have to offer. We, generally, like to teach digital citizenship within these grades to help better students when research for valid information, communication via email, social media pages, etc. and stay safe online.


Generally for the secondary education level we see many problems arise with obtaining valid and resourceful sites for papers and other research projects. Also, respectively communicating with others online is another issue because students in higher grade levels are supposed to go beyond the web pages when working on projects and get real life information. These can include emailing sources, people, and asking questions online to successfully gather in-depth information to better support their working project. The biggest issue tends to toward away from the academia, and enters the lives of others. Students need to understand that anyone can get information from you; you don’t know who you are actually talking to. Online you can be anonymous, and being anonymous can have significant pros and cons. Cyber Bullying is one of the top issues that center the 7-12 grade levels. Cyber bullying “is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones” (Wired Safety).

Cyber Bullying is a national problem in all grades and happens everywhere. As teachers it is important to teach all aspects of technology and how to use them properly. This includes on the academic level as well as the personal level. Teaching Digital Citizenship is highly important to end the use of Cyber bullying in particular because it can be very harmful to other students. It can lead to depression, decrease in academics, and health problems (StopBullying.gov). Digital Citizenship is also important because online resources are for our benefit as a resource, and are not meant to be abused.  
Teacher can use many resources to understand the important of digital citizenship. See Below:
ü  Lessons& Examples – see 9-12th (Hockman)
·         Importance: Good examples and exercises that teachers can easily use to emphasize the importance of digital citizenship.
ü  Interactive PowerPoint (Smith)
·         Importance: Information, interactive PowerPoint informs and mentions key areas for grades 7-12 on the proper use of technology and it uses a short question and answer section for the students to collaborate their own knowledge.
These, of many others, are useful tools that teachers can easily research and perform to give students the general pros and cons of working online and how they can keep themselves safe. 

"Need to Know's" Before Entering the Online Digital World...



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Learning to Unlearn

"Learning to Unlearn," crazy right? It may seem odd to apply this to education but it can be one of the most effective traits a 21st century educator can posses. It allows a constant change of pedagogical beliefs and teaching styles when more effective teaching styles appear that adapt to the learning of the students. Commonly teachers learn and stick with their personal teaching style that they are comfortable with. A teacher should be filled of knowledge and continue to get more, If we continue to learn year after year, why can we not learn to unlearn what does not work and relearn how to make it more effective. Our job as educators is to be able to pass down our knowledge to young aspiring individuals. We are responsible as well for the correct way we portray this information so the students' best understand it. Learning new teaching styles and methods are more beneficial than not trying to teach more effectively for our students' benefits.

Educators need to teach and teach effectively on behalf of the student. They are the priority of the education system and the future. Our responsibilities are to incorporate 21st century learning styles as much as we can in an effective way. Incorporating technology is one the first steps to help students learn and be engaged in their learning. Getting them adapted to new and changing technology will best suit them for the future as they progress into a career. Hands on learning is also an effective technique to get the students to actively engage in their learning. An interesting blog post I came across from Graham Wegner titled, "Unlearning, Learning, Relearning" had an interesting quote, "It's not really about the technology per se, although I think that the requirement to integrate technology is a trigger that brings these attitudes to the surface. The real issue is that some teachers - who are supposed to be learning professionals - have forgotten what it means to learn, unlearn, and relearn." Teacher need to use and evaluative process on how they teach, why they teach, and what is and is not effective anymore. If this is done continuously teachers will not be lost on where to start to unlearn their obsolete techniques and relearn new and effective ones. When a teacher follows the process to learn, unlearn the ineffective, and relearn the effective education can advance is many ways involving the students, the teacher, and the district. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Interactive Whiteboards in Today's Classroom



Interactive White Boards (IWB) have been an issue within the classroom whether they are beneficial to learning and have the necessary ability for a teacher to differentiate a classroom.  IWB’s have been a popular trend in schools now for the past few years and are in many classrooms today.  For those who do not know what IWB’s are, they simply project the computer screen onto a board and allow the teacher to be active with her lectures than sitting by the computer.  It allows them to use a pen, or finger based on the brand you buy, and control the computer.  There are of course benefits and drawbacks to the use of IWB’s in the classroom.  The benefits allow the teacher to build interactive lectures and exercises for the students and help add to the 21st century classroom.  Although this benefit does come with the drawback, the teacher, they are responsible for the content they teach and when using an IWB, they need to know how to use it effectively.  Many teachers as stated in this article said, "I feel they are as useful as a chalkboard." Which in many cases that is what teachers use the IWB for, using PowerPoint, or playing video clips, etc. Districts are spending millions of dollars on these IWB and teachers are not using them to their full capabilities. 

My experiences with IWB’s have been satisfactory.  In high school we didn’t have SMART boards or Promethean boards in every classroom, but in select ones, such as the Spanish classrooms and Technology classrooms.  In Spanish class the teacher used the IWB to give PowerPoint lectures, and interactive Spanish activities like student response remotes, aka ‘clickers’ for reviews and practice exercises, and were more beneficial than doing independent flashcards in groups to learn words.  IWB’s can have an impact on the classroom but need to be used correctly; I seem to be falling back on the teacher, not the technology.  Teachers need to be taught how to use this technology to its fullest advantage for it to be beneficial to the classroom as well as the district since they are a bit pricey.  Also, with my work in class learning the software and technology for the Promethean IWB it is somewhat confusing, but once you overcome that it can be easy to use to actively engage students in lecture.  But like any new technology, students become engaged for a short time, and then as one teacher said, “My kids were bored with it after about three weeks." Incorporating IWB’s should be the choice of the teacher and must evaluate their need for one by getting their reason approved.  Why have districts pay an outrageous price for an IWB in all the classrooms, or even more basic, why are we spending so much for a ‘digitalized’ chalkboard?

IWB’s, in my opinion, are useful when used correctly.  They can be a great resource tool for a wide variety of teaching and instruction.  This can be great when differentiating a classroom.  Some teachers don’t realize it but they have the internet at their fingertips when working with IWB’s they can use a variety of instruction techniques, pull up clips from YouTube, TeacherTube, etc. It’s that easy to find multiple examples, videos, and exercises for the students to use that best suits their leaning style.  SMART Technology even provides teachers with this guide for differentiated learning with a SMART board.If teachers took the time to use the IWB’s to their fullest potential, they would be worth adding to each classroom and ensures achievement with all types of students. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Differentiation



The biggest word and most important for this post… STUDENTS!
Many of us have heard the term differentiation and how teachers need to differentiate their classroom. Differentiation is how a teacher uses the knowledge and skills of their students to effectively present, teach, and test on curricular content. We set every student to a set of standards for them to reach. We also know students work at different levels, no students are the same. We as teachers need to understand every student’s ability in both comprehension of the content as well as their ability to learn it. With that being said we cannot expect each student to understand one method of teaching we need to make the content appealing to all learning styles.
Differentiation is very time consuming for a teacher. It adds more stress in finding new and useful resources to get across the same content to different level learners. Here are some helpful lessons a teacher should review before starting differentiating their classrooms.  One route we seem to see is that the use of technology and its incorporation to the classroom as a learning tool seems to appeal to many students. With the variety of technology out their today, it allows students to pick up the information in multiple ways which best suits them. Placing the learning into the hands of the students is an effective way to get them to see where they are in need of improvement as well as helping themselves best obtain the knowledge in the standards.
What I found most effective in a differentiated classroom is very basic to many teachers today and can be very effective. The use of PowerPoint during instruction is a great way for students to see the information visually for the visual learners and when using PowerPoint talking and noting on important content areas is beneficial to the auditory learners. It is also a key importance to work in group or solo activities for students to work together or alone to focus and practice on the content so they can reach those standards. These activities can be a wide range of opportunity for teachers to adapt different and useful tools of technology. Also, the teacher will advise, help, and further explain areas of struggle to specific groups of students rather than wasting valuable lecture time to continue to explain certain areas.
I feel that differentiation is important for all students so that can achieve and reach standards that are being placed. As a pre-service teacher I will do my very best to incorporate different teaching styles to best suit the needs of my students.
Another blog on Differentiation with helpful information can be found here. For useful videos from real teachers go on The Teaching Channel and see the tools they have adapted for their students.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Twitter and Me

After a few days of experiencing twitter and its resources, such as tweet deck, within the classroom. It  has helped me see that online tools, social networking, and many other forms of technology can be beneficial in the classroom. I found that using twitter to communicate gave us to collaboratively share information, such as our chapter two twitter quiz, was beneficial to all who participated to see different views of the questions.
This may seem odd, a quiz on twitter, and it was odd to me at first as well. But once we started going, the whole class had many opinions and different views on the questions that were asked. We were able to collaboratively work from a network of answers and place them into our small group response.
Twitter can aid in many classrooms with conversations in school, as well as at home. With the access students have to twitter can allow them to pop in a conversation for questions, discussions on topics as well as obtaining events and important dates.
Follow me on my professional twitter! @bellissimo_m


Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Final Frontier

This assignment was to use the information from Ertmer's article on education, technology, and how they struggle to combine because of the interference with teacher beliefs.Below, my group and I were to create and publish an informational presentation to persuade teachers to introduce technology because of the array of benefits it has to offer.

The article explained how many teachers hold true to their belief on how education should work. Many have struggled to convert over in using technology and its benefits in the classroom. Students use technology everyday in in this high tech world and would love to place the learning into technology for a more hands on an d personalized learning. Breaking away from their belief is hard to do because they obtained their pedagogy from a non-technology advanced area. The article continued with the struggles and the amount of effort needed to learn, understand, and communicate well from the use of technology.

Over the past few days, the group worked collaboratively through Google Drive and held many conversations in the information placed within this presentation. Although there seemed to be many benefits, we placed the most important information along with external sources for further exploration.

This presentation is designed to persuade the non-technology teachers to adapt a new teaching style to benefit students of the 21st century. Even with small effort, taking baby steps for incorporating technology, or making the giant leap to undertake all technology has to offer these students.

Presentation: Technology in Education



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ALL ABOUT ME

Michael Bellissimo
Hello!
My name is Michael Bellissimo, and welcome to my blog. I am a second semester freshman at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and studying for a degree in Mathematics. I am also obtaining a teaching certificate for Secondary Education. My hometown is in Perry, Ohio (east of Cleveland). I graduated Perry High School with honors this past summer and began my college career here at EUP.

In High School, I was very active in my High School math department as a teachers' assistant and tutor for at risk students my junior and senior year. I have had in-class observations of various teaching methods as well as direct contact with struggling students. While tutoring I would always ask, what was the problem they had with understanding the information during class lectures. Many responses were the teaching methods. Of course every teacher has their own method and routine, but today many still use basic hand written notes on a board. Although many students learn differently, but in today's century technology is the center of our lives and is constantly improving. As a future teacher I plan to use the resources of technology as much as I can to appeal to all students and make the learning appealing to them.

Technology in the classroom may seem to cause a distraction, but that is the complete opposite! It is a valid, useful, and helpful resource for all students to take advantage of and learn in today’s world. Technology gives students the opportunity to take advantage in their learning. Teachers who integrate technology appeal to all students today with the use of power-point presentations, smart boards, or even iPads! Check out this video on how iPads are more for learning and help in a classroom.



As a future teacher, with a passion for technology and teaching, I believe that it is very important for students to have technology available to them to obtain information, understand material and make their choices in learning with hands on activities and technology resources.

For more information, check out these articles!