Blog Number Four

Why Texting Should Be Part of Teaching

Part One: Summary

This article explored the use of texting in the classroom, and offered research backing up why it is a good idea. Today, nearly every single student in a K-12 classroom is familiar, if not extremely comfortable, with technology such as email, the internet and smartphone use. According to the article “Why Texting Should be a Part of Teaching,” 62% of teachers would like to use more technology in their classrooms than they are currently utilizing. A simple, yet effective, vessel for that technology use is through the use of texting.

The article notes that schools are already in use of one-way communication through some sort of technology; be it newsletters or emails. This is a way for information to be conveyed to both parents and students alike. The new approach is two-way communication like texting. The study which is referenced often throughout the duration of the article noted that the new way to use texting is to open the channel for students to ask questions directly to the teacher. Some teachers took it as far as to design their texts to the class as a sort of review for quizzes or exams, and the students were to respond to the text with their answers.

Part Two: Questions and Answers

Question One: Does it work?

Answer One: According to the study done in the article, yes. The study took two groups of undergraduate students and corresponded with one group via text. They relieved four texts a week–reminders for readings quizzes and expectations for assignments and things along those lines. The texts also potentially included additional links for materials to assist with those assignments like videos or articles, as well as opportunities to communicate with the instructor. Students who had these resources available to them performed much higher than their classmates who did not receive those text messages.

Question Two: What are some potential issues?

Answer Two: A risk that comes with a teacher sharing any of their information is abuse or harassment from students such as prank calls or internet searches. This could sprout from in-class texting–there is no way to block texts from a phone, meaning that a student could call  or text the teacher, or vice versa, at any point. Does this mean teachers must get a separate phone number in order for this exchange to happen? They could potentially open an online texting app, but this could potentially open another door of issues as far as accessibility is concerned.

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Blog Number Three

 U.S. Students Awful at Evaluating Reliability of Online Science Readings

Part One: Summary

This article focused on how today’s students are terrible at identifying the credibility and origins of online sources, which are skills that are crucial in today’s world. The study in question noted a large gap of ability between male and female students–girls performed substantially better than boys when locating critical information online, as well as a large gap of ability between students who were economically disadvantaged, those students who qualified for free or reduced lunch.

Moreover, this article addressed the magnitude of this problem, it’s not just a few students who need help finding information like an article author, publisher and credibility. The author points out that when a study to retrieve this information was conducted, only four percent of students could correctly identify the information requested.

Part Two: Question and Answer

Question One: Why does this matter?

Answer One: In an increasingly online world, students draw a majority of their sources and information from the internet. As far as papers are concerned, about 90% of student’s sources come from websites or online versions of articles or books. I’m personally going to be teaching English, so this issue will need to be repaired in my classroom in order for my students to be effective writers and learners.

It is crucial that students know where to find certain information so they can construct correct citations and reference pages. Without this imperative skill, a student could accidentally plagiarize another author’s work or ideas. At a collegiate level, this could cost a student their enrollment at a college or university. In the middle/high school level, it could mean repeating a course or disciplinary action.

Question Two: What can we, as teachers, do?

Answer Two: According to the article, educators must begin with extensive lessons when it comes to developing an understanding of online sources. It starts by guiding students step-by-step through what they could potentially find; the internet is a huge entity that encases millions of bytes of information, and as teachers, it’s our job to help students sort through it all. Moreover, it is critical that we [teachers] support students, boys in particular, when it comes to evaluating the websites they find. Without the support of their teachers, the skills students need will never improve. The author of this article ended with, “we need to focus instruction on critical evaluation, since students are significantly lacking in these skills.” This statement is true in not only areas of online evaluation, but all facets of education.

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Blog Number Two

Title: Can Foreign Language Immersion Be Taught Effectively Online?

Part One: Summary

This article was about the newest way to learn a foreign language, and that’s through online videos through a company called Middlebury Interactive Languages. The approach is simple–instead of having students memorize words, colors and numbers, they are watching actual interactions between native speakers of whatever language they are studying. This uncensored version of learning offers them an opportunity to experience the language as it is spoken. After watching these videos of natural conversation, students pair off with their classmates to do some conversing of their own.

This approach is unique because for so long, foreign language has been viewed as filling an empty vat with grammar and syntax rules, when in reality, students already comprehend more than we like to admit. They know how to pick up on context clues, voice inflection and body language; this way of learning allows them to cut through the clutter associated with learning a second language in order to be as successful as possible.

Part Two: Questions and Answers:

Question One: What are some criticisms of this?

Answer One: One teacher with much experience with Middlebury says that there is a glitch that deletes students’ assignments from time to time. This issue is small, he said, but is unpredictable, nonetheless. According to other teachers, the auto-grading of assignments is difficult to manage.

Perhaps the biggest issue with the Middlebury Interactive Languages program isn’t with Middlebury itself, but rather with the schools and their lack of technological abilities. Not every district has flawless wireless connectivity, or an abundance of updated software, and Middlebury points out that this may be the issue schools have when it comes to successfully operating the program.

Question Two: What kind of activities do the students do?

Answer Two: Students do “real life” activities, in other words, they aren’t doing repetitive worksheets. They might do something like plan an itinerary for a potential trip to the country of the language’s origin by using sources written in that language. This gives them an opportunity to experience the language as it is naturally; when one goes to a foreign country, they are not just spitting out colors and numbers like traditionally taught in a classroom. As with a traditional style of teaching, students are required to practice their speaking with partners or small groups within their class. Teachers bounce around from group to group to guide them along in their conversations.

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Blog Number One

Is Facebook the New School Web Page?

Part One: Summary

This article was about the benefits of creating a Facebook page for teacher-to-parent communication. With technology constantly evolving, this is one website that has stayed constant throughout the last few years, and many teachers are taking advantage of it’s popularity. According to the article, 1.35 billion users are on Facebook, so wouldn’t it make sense to use this as a platform to keep parents involved with their children’s school days? The article does address privacy issues, for instance, if a parent does not want their child’s image on the page, and it does a wonderful job explaining the many ways to monitor who sees what.

Part Two: Questions and Answer

Q: Do I think schools should have Facebook pages?

A: Yes. If there are privacy regulations for the sake of students, parents and teachers, absolutely. This is an effective way to share information with parents without adding the hassle of them learning how to navigate another website used exclusively for school. Today, teachers have to balance not only the classroom routine, their personal life and their families, they also have a website to keep updated. By allowing them to relay the same information to parents on a Facebook page as they would a webpage, it eliminates one step out of the hectic process.

Q: What could go wrong? How do you curve those possibilities?

A: With any public website, especially with minors involved, privacy is a main concern. The cons to having this school-based website consist mainly of issues regarding privacy. Fortunately, Facebook privacy settings allow only certain people to view a webpage, much like our pbworks page. Parents would also have to sign consent forms permitting their children to be featured on the page, and the schools would also have to approve of such a website. The article mentioned that if a parent didn’t want their child in photos, their faces could be cropped or blurred out of the picture.

Another thing to consider would be professionalism. It is imperative that if a teacher were to set up a Facebook page for his/her classroom, they maintain a professional image. The best solution to this problem would be for the teacher to have two separate Facebook accounts, assuming they already have one. Having a classroom page linked to pictures of you drinking in your college days is never a good idea, so keeping the two aspects of your life separated would be in one’s best interest.

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Blog #0

Which of these top 20 programming languages should your school teach?

Part One: Summary

(400 words TOTAL)

Part Two: Questions and Answers

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