Tuesday, March 1, 2011


1. How often do you use your Facebook?
2. Do you have a smartphone? If so, do you have a Facebook application?
3. Can you log onto the internet without using Facebook?
4. Are you friends with relatives on Facebook? If so, who?
5. How "private" is you profile?
6. Do you accept all friend requests, or just people you know?
7. Do you think you Facebook would have a positive or negative affect on your future employer?
8. Do you interact with people you see every day on Facebook, or use it just to reconnect?
9. How long have you had a Facebook?
10. How long do you spend on Facebook when you log on?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wikis in the Classroom

FFor this assignment we were to find three articles on the internet related to using wikis in education.

The first article I found is a collection of creative ideas a teacher may use for wikis in various age and subject areas.

I found this article to be interesting because they use wikis on more than a research basis (which is the only way I have used them in school). I learned that there are more effective and creative ways, ways that are sure to engage the students more. Not only can they be used for interactive thematic units, but for study guides and frequently asked questions as well. Using wikis can appeal to all types of learners. As some learn better while studying with others, wikis are the perfect solution to study "woes." They're a way to reach out to absent students on what they've missed in class, or even for the absent student who may be on vacation with family to post about their adventures. The website discusses the various reasons to use wikis such as, connections, creativity, engagement, interpersonal, writing, and metacognition, among many others. For the math teacher, they can be used for students to edit questions they may not have understood for homework. For the science teacher, a wiki can be used to document field experiments and other labs. The social studies enthusiast may use one for a mock debate, where the two sites can post counter arguments immediately. The Language Arts teacher might use a wiki for a collaborative book review. Whichever way a teacher may use wikis, they are an immediate source to providing prompt feedback and answers in and out of the classroom. They also can be extremely fun and interactive.

For the second article I decided to look at using wikis at higher education levels, such as college. The article was posted on a Boston College webpage:

One thing I found that were particularly interesting was the focus on collaborative learning. The article centered around how wikis are used to teach and learn from others, as well as build more critical thinking skills. The five bulleted points reflected on this webpage were: Facilitates collaborative authoring, empowers students to create knowledge, reflects newly-emerging teacher student paradigm, prepares students for the post-university world, and encourages creativity. The approach differs from the first article in that it relates more to using wikis as a tool for community engagement and negotiating, rather than just creative assignments.

The last article I looked at gave a specific and detailed example of how one particular teacher used wikis in the classroom.

The teacher used wikis as a way to connect individual student assignments into a portal for a classroom page strengthening vocabulary. The students posted explanations of their assigned words, as well as pictures, descriptions of parts of speech, games, etc. What I found most interesting about this webpage is the emphasis on vocabulary instruction, a lesson that has been lacking in recent generations. It provides an outlet for self learning, while being engaged with peers. It's always easier to teach when the lessons are more creative and interactive.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Social Media Use

For this class we were asked to conduct a survey pertaining to undergrad college students and their social media use. We discussed how they define social media and if their usage is potentially positive and productive, or if they find it to be a problem. I composed the survey and posted it as my status on Facebook (ironically). I asked four multiple choice and one open ended question, so as to keep it simple and quick. The five questions I asked were:

1. How often do you visit social media sites?
2. What social networking sites do you use?
3. Do you have access to social networking sites on your phone? If so, do you use it?
4. Do you use these sites to interact with strangers or keep in touch with people you are already familiar with?
5. Do you think your social networking use is a problem? If so, please describe why. (open ended question)

One thing that I found interesting was all respondents to my survey associate with using social media sites more than once a day, yet most of them claim to only use Facebook and Twitter. This indicates a high percentage of time spent solely on these two sites. All but one also say they have access to social media on their phone and say they use it. Not everyone responded to the open ended question either, which I find to be very interesting considering the survey was only five questions. However, for those that did most said if they use it responsibly that social networking use is not a problem. Some felt sharing private info and maintaining relationships that probably wouldn't be there outside of Facebook could pose a potential problem.

I found it to be intriguing that most respondents felt the same way about social media use. This could be because the respondents were similar age and demographics. I would be interested to see how a different generation would respond to the survey.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Social Networking

1. PEW Findings: Social Networking Websites and Teens
I look back on when I first entered my teen years and realize there was life before Facebook. Hard to believe, I know. Yet, as a twelve year old, my time spent on the internet consisted solely of Instant Messaging and waiting in hopeful anticipation of a computerized voice stating "You've Got Mail." Which in all honesty would probably have revealed one of those incessantly irritating chain letters, that of course I sent to ten others for fear of having five years of bad luck. At twelve, my AOL account still had parental controls, despite my attempts to show maturity towards my father in hopes my "Teen Only" would magically be upgraded to full internet access. It's funny how such a short amount of time would reveal a global phenomena; Facebook.
As I first read the article I was truly astounded by the fact that ONLY (and I mean this in the least sarcastic tone possible) a little over half of teens engaged in social networking. Then, I realized this study was done in 2006. This is significant because it was only shortly before this that any one outside a college network (and even in the brief time before that, the Harvard network) could have access to Facebook. Yet, it was slightly surprising the percentage was not higher because of the age unlimited (and I say this loosely since all that is required is an unmonitored check in a box for "being thirteen") access to Myspace. If this survey was to be presently done, I feel the percentage would increase significantly.
When this survey was conducted was when I first created a Facebook profile (I had already had a Myspace for some time). At 17, the oldest age of this survey, I was completely ignorant to the privacy issues of social networking sites. If I remember correctly, my profile was not private and my selectivity of friend accepts was minimal. I say this because I find the fact that 66% of the teens who had a profile and said it was limited to be a little on the high side. I was a cautious teen, but for lack of sufficient social networking education and understanding, I was oblivious to the dangers a full access profile posed on my safety, as well as the fact that what went on the internet stayed on the internet. Maybe I'm just being naive, but I honestly believe that my naivety did not rest in the 34% minority.
It is not shocking that girls were more likely than boys to partake in the addictive nature of social networking, as teenage boys are often too "cool." Plus, why wouldn't girls look for an easier access to gossip? Hey, it's in our nature. For that matter, I find it hard to believe that only 22% of active users visited the site more than once a day. If this survey were to be conducted now, that percentage would be much higher.
These findings seem to be relatively accurate, however I would be more interested to compare the findings of these same questions from the 2006 survey to one conducted more recently. It would be interesting to see how much more in just four years or so that age group would rely on social networking sites.

2. Two Teens on YouTube
Boxxy: First off, WOW. Not only do I feel like that girl stole 3:36 minutes of my life that I will never get back, but to be honest I am slightly confused. I can't tell if "Addy" is a real person, or a reference to the ever so popular amongst teens and college students, "Adderall." Which to be honest, it wouldn't hurt her to pop a few to calm down. What sparked my interest most about this video was her ability to talk approximately a mile a minute. For about two minutes of the video I found it extremely difficult to stay focused. The constant hand movements and touching of her face made me a little dizzy and all I could really think about was what in the world possessed her to create such a video. Needless to say, what intrigued me the most was how unfazed I really was. This is a typical teenage video that miraculously received over 3 million views over nothing in particular at all.
Sexman: This video started off more entertaining, partially because I was able to keep up with his story, until the repetitive details of the fight nearly provoked me to a state of daydreaming. As a high school student I always loved a good fight. Maybe not as much as Sexman, but seriously who didn't enjoy crowding around while someone began the contagious "Fight! Fight!" chant? Ok, now that I've digressed enough. His behavior is extremely stereotypically to the "nerd" persona, or so I have read in the posted comments under the video.
What I find the most interesting about each of these videos is that we can only assume these teenagers are pretending to act this way, but why? Are these the behaviors that teenagers view consistent with themselves? Does using language such as "slut" and "badass" evoke winners in a popularity contest? Regardless, the faux personalities are not amusing.
There are many things that intrigue me about each video, but what I really find hard to believe is the amount of views for each video.

3. What Kind of Tech User Are You?
I can master my way around Facebook like a professional. I can check my Gmail like it's my job. But, as far as being technologically inclined, I've always considered myself to be proficient, but a "Digital Collaborator?" That seems absurd. I've always prided myself on being able to "figure" out technology. So has my technologically inept father. However, I've never exactly considered myself to be confident in the use of technology. I use the internet for limited things: check email, check Facebook, look at CNN, and sometimes possibly twitter or YouTube. I search specific pages relevant to my life at that time and only when I "StumbleUpon" do I branch into the unknown. According to the description of the results, I like to share my creations with others. This is only half true. I thoroughly enjoying seeing the work others have done, but very rarely do I post a new picture on Facebook, tweet in Twitter, or Blog post in Blogger. However, I do agree in the sense that I admire viewing others' video posts, scanned paintings, Photoshop artwork, and the countless other ways people can share their ideas online. I wouldn't necessarily call myself a collaborator; more like an enthusiastic regular patron into the world of digital art.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reflection on Lesson Plan One

What I learned from designing this first lesson plan was the importance of breaking down material in terms that students can understand. Through following standards and guidelines, ultimately I was able to create a lesson with the student in mind. Ultimately, I chose a topic that was interesting to me as a student (made it easier to break down the necessary elements) and followed the outline provided. It was interesting to see how specific the Sunshine State Standards are, which as a student, I was never even aware existed. Although I do not plan on teaching in Florida, I do know other states follow guidelines as well. The idea of using a concept map was intriguing, as it allowed for easy assessment on whether or not students understood the material. I can honestly say that I was not aware so much went in to the planning process for a lesson.

What I would like to know more about is that guidelines in other areas of the country are. Are there similar planning processes? Are lessons as detailed as this? As I stated before, I really like the idea of concept mapping, however I am unfamiliar with how to relate concept mapping in areas outside of English. As my mind is geared towards English and history more, I would be interested to see how other classmates interpreted the assignment and how they created concept map lessons outside of the subject of English.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lesson Plan Assessment Review

Search the Internet and locate two lesson plans that you feel have a strong assessment component.
Create a new entry in your learning journal; title it "Lesson Plan Assessment Review."
Provide links to the lesson plans and describe how the assessment components of each plan provide a clear and meaningful demonstration of student achievement.

I chose the following lesson plans based on the fact that I will be teaching English next year. Although I will be teaching older children, I chose two lessons catered to elementary students, as I thought they exemplified unique ways of evaluating students' understanding of the basic principles of grammar. I was using search engines to locate websites geared towards English lesson plans specifically and was able to find one that focuses on all grades and components of English and Literature, called www.webenglishteacher.com. This website was a portal for other learning sites and acted as a compilation of hundreds of English lessons scattered across the web.

The first lesson plan I chose originally comes from The New York Times' "Learning Network," titled: Enough About I-- Let's Talk About Me.

In this lesson students learn how to identify common grammar mistakes, and then apply what they have learned in their own presentations of grammar usage and rules. The lesson begins as a collective learning session, where students are given a handout of both correct and incorrect sentences spoken by President Obama. (I particularly like this lesson because it exposes students to more culture and politics, rather than generic made up sentences). As the students identify the incorrect usage, they are also encouraged to write down why they believe it is incorrect, and then review as a class. This allows for further assessment of actually understanding why something is what it is, rather than just knowing. When students begin to examine the "why" they have a better understanding and ability to remember in the future. By reviewing with the class, the teacher is able to asses whether the class as a whole is understanding, or if there are students who have not yet grasped the concepts. Then the students go on to read another article specifically about the differences between "you's and I's." They are again asked to identify the incorrect usage and why. This allows for repetition and a further assessment of the students' understanding prior to beginning the independent exercise. As the class is asked to think of other common grammar mistakes they, or someone else they know has made, the teacher is able to see if the students are able to apply the lesson they just learned beyond the limits of pronouns and "you's and I's." By creating a personal checklist of mistakes, students will be able to use this as their own assessment in future writing assignments.

I particularly like this lesson because it involves interactivity as a means of assessment. Rather than just handing out a work sheet to test for formative assessment, the students are engaged and probably will retain the information longer. Although I have not mentioned the second part yet, that is my favorite part of the assignment; small group skits. As groups work cooperatively to interpret their understanding of one of the common grammar mistakes, they are using creativity to reinforce the rules discussed previously. The class will be entertained while learning, and this allows for further assessment of the entire group's understanding for the teacher.

My second lesson plan originally came from a website called "Alabama Learning Exchange" or "ALEX." The lesson is titled: Parts of Speech "Blabbers."

This lesson plan is particularly interesting because it uses technology to create a fun and engaging way for students to learn about parts of speech. This entire lesson itself acts as a form of assessment, as students are believed to have already learned and have a strong understanding of the parts of speech from prior lessons. Students are assigned a part of speech and expected to write a two minute script including:
1. Definition of part of speech
2. Original paraphrased explanation of how the part of speech functions in a sentence
3. Original sentence using the part of speech as an example

The student then will select a photo from freegdigitalphotos.net (or another source of free photos) of an animal. The student then will upload their photo onto blabberize.com, record the voice of image using script from earlier, and save it as a video. The teacher then compiles all the videos together, creating a montage of students' videos of the eight parts of speech.

This lesson is interesting because it assesses the students' understanding of their particular assigned part of speech, while acting as a source of repetition by compiling those of the whole class.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Assessment Links

Link 1

I chose this link because it offered an in depth look into the process of determining how to create an assessment and the importance in doing so. It discussed the reasons for measuring for improvement and accountability, as well as a well laid out six step process that those responsible for the assessment process should follow.

Link 2

This link provides more of a look at assessing learning in a lower level academic environment, versus the more collegiate environment in the first link (although it can be catered to any academic level). The website includes descriptions of both summative and formative assessments, how to balance them, and various strategies to be used.

Link 3

This link provides access to multiple tools, tests, rubrics, and standards in what to look for when measuring assessments. There are examples of assessment guides posted by educators in various subjects across the board from elementary education, through college.