Why do we need to read blogs?

After following a few blogs one article caught my attention: Why It’s Imperative to Teach How to Question as the Ultimate Survival Skill.  I’m constantly questioning people and things in my head.  Why do I need to do this assignment? Why do I need to read blogs?  How is this helping me?  Sometimes the questions are answered as I work through something, sometimes the questions aren’t answered.  But rarely do I ever ask anyone those questions.  I feel that most people are constantly asking questions and those questions typically revolve around ideas or things they are dissatisfied with.  The people that act on finding the solution are often some of the most brilliant inventors of all time.

Questioning people in school is an important skill to have it helps you learn about the material and learn what you don’t understand.  Questions move the world forward and as suggested in the blog, questions spark great ideas and have moved many companies forward.  In my future classroom I want to make sure to create an environment where my students feel comfortable asking me questions and feel that it is ok to do so.  The social pressure may be encouraging them to not ask questions, especially in front of their peers, because no one wants to look like they don’t know what they are doing in front of their peers. Hopefully I will be able to create an environment where questioning is encouraged.  I want my students to ask me questions and yes, it’s going to be uncomfortable when I don’t know the answer but it creates a great situation where we can all learn together.

Questioning in the classroom is important academically but it is also important socially.  I was talking to one of my friends the other day and commented on how she had been talking with so many different people she responded that she didn’t need to be good at anything other than asking questions because people love to talk about themselves.  Questions help lead a story and as we have talked about before, we are all storytellers.  If you are able to ask the right questions those questions can lead you to getting to the right answers.  It helps you create your story and allows others to share their story with you. If we don’t teach our students to become critical thinkers how will they write the next chapter in the book of human evolution?  Now that’s a real question.

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Tech and Twitter

Twitter continues to prove to be a great resource for information using technology in the classroom.  Below are some tweets that I have found might be helpful.

https://twitter.com/n_pinn/status/445293236534255616

This article is interesting because it breaks down the different stages of implementing technology in the classroom and what it might look like.  It also shows the different aspects about how the technology can effect the different aspects of a school: the classroom, administration, teachers etc. This allows you to assess what aspects of your school environment are or aren’t technology friendly and to see maybe how you can improve.

https://twitter.com/n_pinn/status/445291348422172673

The website linked in this twitter post gives great suggestions about how to make sure teachers feel comfortable using technology.  This is useful for right now as we are learning technology and I think this class is set up so we aren’t overwhelmed by all the new technology that we learn because it is introduced in increments.  This article also includes things that are important to remember for when we will actually be in the classroom and may be helping to teach other teachers how to use technology.

https://twitter.com/n_pinn/status/445290328380407808

The website linked in this tweet is  really helpful because it gives things to keep in mind when including technology in the classroom for students who are so used to having technology in their life.  I think one of the most important parts of the article that I want to keep in mind when I am teaching is to see how beneficial it is to allow students to personalize their learning through technology.  The article also mentions how students now are used to communicating “multi-directional dialogue” so if that’s what they are used to then why in the classroom are we stopping them from reaching out and communicating with others?  There is more to the world than a teacher standing at a chalkboard at the front of the class.  We can be allowing students to connect to each other and to people around the world to share their ideas and help them grow.

TEaCHing with TECHnology

Looking through tweets I found there were some useful hashtags to search under that I hadn’t really looked at before.  #edtech #spedtech and #edchat were are very helpful and it was cool to see communities of people talking about similar things that are relevant to teaching.  This is one tweet I found:

https://twitter.com/n_pinn/status/442558662783942656

While this one included a link that pertains to ELL students I think that it is important for any teacher to know about those resources because any teacher could have an ELL.  Granted this article was aimed at promoting a company that designs programs to teach languages it still has some relevant information.  Programs to help ELLs often would help any student struggling with language.  In the graphic, it mentions being able to receive vocal feedback because some programs allow students to record themselves and then they can compare it to what they hear.  This could be especially useful for students who might not be able to easily recognize their own mistakes.  It also allows them to learn at their own pace because it is interactive. I think I would use a program for reading in my class sometimes, especially if I thought the student needed extra support.  At the same time though, I recognize that language needs to be taught person-to-person and be used in conversations to fully understand it but this is a great way additional way to support students.

https://twitter.com/n_pinn/status/442765036725891072

In this tweet it has a link to (ironically) an info graphic talking about the usefulness of info graphics.  I think that info graphics are especially helpful to show students so that they are able to grasp concepts easier.  They would be great to use as an overview of a lesson, especially one that contains a lot of complex information or even to use as a review for a lesson at the end of the day.  The website also has links to a bunch of different websites to make your own info graphic which could be a great tool to have students learn to see if they can summarize material and if they understood what was talked about that way.  I know I’m always more willing to read an info graphic because it’s more appealing so students likely would too. By having them create their own you are encouraging synthesis of information, persuasion techniques, decision making on what is important, organizational skill and improving their use of technology.

https://twitter.com/n_pinn/status/442768240851156992

This tweet was really helpful because it contained a link to a website where there were a bunch of apps that teachers could use.  The coolest part is that they were all ranked, rated and reviewed so you can see what other teachers have to say about them.  iPads seem to be more and more common in schools, especially in special education classrooms so it’s good to have a place to go to get those resources.  In the classrooms I have been in they have heavily used games either as part of the lesson or as a rewarding break for students.  This website will help to evaluate which games would be more helpful than others.  I think it is important to note that not all of the games have the highest “learning” rating which makes me recognize that any sort of technology needs to be evaluated in the classroom.  The games might seem great but the children need to be using them to learn and I think this website is an important resource to help teachers recognize which would be most useful to them and their students.

I’m finding that twitter is a great resource for other resources.  I haven’t found as many links that are related directly to telling people how to teach but more practical links that  can be used to help gain resources teach in the classroom.  It’s great to see so many things out there so that I know when I have my own classroom I don’t have to depend solely on my own creativity but can look for a digital community to help support me in the classroom.

Ignite!

My Ignite video is all about my favorite part of high school and the reason I am where I am today.  My video focuses on the Adapted PE program which made my high school experience what it was. In my video I discuss what we did in Adapted PE and what my favorite parts were that really ignited my passion for special education.

The Digital Citizen

The digital citizen is somewhat of a strange concept because when I think of a “citizen” it is usually tied to being a member of place or community.  A digital citizen is a member of a place that doesn’t really exist, the digital world.  Proven by what happened in Cairo, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t effect a physical community or place.  Regular people were able to use technology to communicate and unite around a specific cause.  They were able to organize and make a difference.  That is the power of the digital citizen.

The next question becomes: how do we handle the digital citizens in our classrooms?  Do we lock it down and insist that our students do not become digital citizens for fear of what might happen or for fear of what they might organize? I think that would be a huge mistake.  As a teacher I think it is important to empower students and encourage them to stand up for what they believe in.  Empowering students in that way can be scary because you never know what might come of it but that is how people change the world.  Whether it is for the better or for the worse, that ultimately is up to them.  If across America schools are denying them access to technology and the knowledge of how to use technology we are essentially isolating them from being able to change the world.  Sure, they could start a case against the school, but I have also seen how one of my friends was able to keep in contact with his high school. When one of their favorite teachers was being fired, no questions asked, because he didn’t turn in a form on time, the students took to social media to start a campaign to fight the school and allow the teacher to come back.  They organized and went to the school board meeting to fight on his behalf.

The schools though are not prepared to teach digital citizens because not all schools have access to technology.  Even if they did have access to technology the teachers need to be aware of what digital citizenship is and how to support it.  We need more education for current teachers on how to use technology and to help them understand the power of social media.  If we want our students to be prepared for the future they need to be a part of the digital world.  Being aware isn’t enough, being a citizen is important.