Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is Social Media hurting our parenting skills?

This is my own personal rant - do not take offense please. I was just thinking to myself about how kids seem to be getting wilder and doctors are prescribing ADHD medications at more rapid paces. This has been blamed on nutrition and too much stimulation. I agree that some of the food out there is way too high in extra dyes and chemicals, but I don't think that's the problem. In fact, I wonder why we aren't blaming parents more? So, then I was thinking about some people I know and their parenting - how they maybe do not discipline children when they should or let their kids be independent when they may not be ready to be. Why is that - why is discipline stepping to the wayside? I think part of it may be social media. I think Facebook and Pinterest are creating bad parenting and here's why. Mothers are spending more time on Facebook and Pinterest and seeing these wonderful things that others are creating and hearing about how other moms are completing a million things in a day with no problems. So, they of course want this perfect life and in order to get it they are not disciplining their children. They are letting the children do things that will help them look better and possibly while their children are doing inappropriate things they are too concerned with what is going on with Facebook. Don't get me wrong, I do not think all parents are like this nor do I think I am perfect in any way. There are many times I am too easy on my daughter and let her get away with things. I am just noting that we cannot let Facebook and Pinterest, nor any other social media tool, make us feel as though our children do not need limits and rules. We also cannot look at what others post and feel bad about our own personal parenting. Our children need rules and limitations and I think more parenting is the best prescription for these children!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reflection #2

So, we are nearing the end of the Educational Technology course I am taking. I have learned a lot – way more than I had anticipated. For me, personally, the best thing that I think I can take away from this course is a more open attitude towards technology. I have somewhat been afraid of technology in the past – afraid that I won’t understand it, afraid that it won’t work when I need it, and afraid to get out on the internet because of a fear of exposing myself to others. That fear of exposure has definitely been lightened by taking this class. I even tried to post something on You Tube, but it would not let me. Instead, I posted it on, which was a big step for me! I still have more to learn about sharing online, but I feel like I got a great start in this class.
Something that I learned in this class that I will not forget tomorrow is that I need to be utilizing technology to learn from others. We had to go to a website that had all of the presentations from the Global Education Conference in 2010 and 2011. I had no idea that all of these presentations were available to anyone! Wow – think of all that can be learned from listening to these! I will also continue to grow my PLN and will not forget about that.
As far as applying what I have learned, I will just say that I am excited for the new school year! I know that there will be bumps in the road and that time will not always be on my side, but I really am looking forward to using VoiceThread with my students and just introducing them to some of the technology I have learned. I really want to try my final project idea with my classes this year and I hope that I have the time and technology available to do that. I have attached a link to the video of my final project in case you are curious – but it entails students creating an instructional video for math. Even if I do not have enough time to utilize everything I learned in this class during my teaching, I can at least use some of it in my other doctorate classes that I will be taking. Last semester I would see everyone presenting in cool new ways, so maybe now I can be one of those presenters by using something I learned in this class. I am very grateful for this class and have definitely learned a lot about technology and its many uses!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Blog Post #3

My Response (Michelle):

It’s pretty clear in this research that the parents have a strong influence on what kids prefer, which makes sense because kids spend most of their time at home with their parents. I think eventually most children’s books will become e-books; just think about how much quicker and cheaper they will be able to be produced. But, it will take time to convince parents. This past year at the school where I teach, we took away paper folders that were sent home every Friday and instead used e-folders that parents could connect to through the school management software we use. You would not believe how much resistance has come from that - the parents wanted to go back to paper forms! There are still many parents resisting. I’ll be honest, I resisted at first, but now I see how much easier it is and, although it is a pain at times, I do enjoy being able to get materials quicker and not lose them on my desk. Many parents still need to be convinced, but I think eventually e-books will be preferred.

In response to Annie Murphy Paul :

Parents and Kids Still Prefer Print Books

How are parents and their kids using e-books at home?  Lori Takeuchi, director of research for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, discussed preliminary results from a new study on this subject during her speech to the American Library Association’s Annual Conference.
Almost half of the respondents to the center’s survey (553 out of 1,200 parents) said they read e-books to their kids, while 332 said they owned e-readers but chose not to share them with their children. Some of the top reasons caregivers choose not to introduce e-readers are that they prefer print, they find e-books more difficult to read, and they worry that their child will want to use e-readers exclusively.

Link to research by Lori Takeuchi

Link to my comment:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blog Post #2

My response (Michelle):

I agree that lurking is as important as sharing. Unfortunately, I find myself lurking too often. I really appreciate how you introduce Twitter without using Twitter so that a connection can be made. Connections are such an important part of learning and I wonder if I missed that connection within social learning. Even with my Facebook account, it is a very rare occasion that I contribute. Sometimes I just think, no one needs to know or cares about this.  But, I am currently enrolled in a class entitled “Educational Technologies” and I was forced to open a Twitter account. We opened the Twitter account without learning about it first and, I’ll be honest, that was a struggle for me. Our professor has shown through her constant connections the importance of shared learning and I am slowly stepping out of being a lurker and becoming more of a sharer! I think having that extra push from this class I am taking, though, has helped and I think many times an extra push is needed to move from lurker to sharer.

In response to Steven Anderson 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The Power Of The Lurker

Any one who knows me or reads my blog and Tweets knows I am a big advocate of social learning. The idea that we don't have to be the smartest or be an expert in everything should be a big relief in the classroom. When I started teaching I did everything I could to make sure I knew more than my students. Looking back, I know I wasted a great deal of time and many teachable moments with that attitude. I don't have to know everything. I have a network of people that I am plugged into that can help me, advise me, suggest for me and point me in the right direction when I am wrong. And for all of them (and you) I am grateful.

It's this idea of social learning, however that I have struggled with since I entered the space. I felt like I had to be online, all the time. I had to share something, all the time. I had to comment and react all the time. Over the few years I have been here and the many conversations I have had I know that not to be true.

I have heard rumblings, now and then, that the only way you can learn on Twitter or other social networks is to contribute. I might be making more extreme than it actually is but for some the mentality is that you have to contribute to learn.

Yes, it is very difficult to learn if no one shares. If we create new knowledge and don't share it is it knowledge at all? But if we are plugged in and connected to Twitter, or blogs or other social networks, do you have to be an active contributor to find value and power in the network? I don't believe so.

When I teach Twitter now I don't start with sign up. And many times when I do my Twitter PD people look at my like I have 2 heads. Why would I bother teaching Twitter and skip the sign up and the how-to? Why? because like anything we learn, we have to make a connection. There has to be some hook to draw is in. Rarely, I have seen, when it comes to social learning, is the hook the technical stuff. And even more rare is a true desire to want to learn socially. (Not saying there aren't those educators out there, because they are. Just saying its rare.) For many they have to first see the why. They have to find the value in these spaces to want to take it to the next level. Once they see the why, the light bulb goes off and they they are hooked. It just takes a little push in the right direction.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reflection #1

I'll admit, when I signed up for C & I 579 (Educational Technologies), I was scared! I'm okay with a basic computer and using Word, but all the extra technology is where I start to panic a little. My friends say I am still in the dark ages with technology as well since I don't have texting on my cell phone (AHHHH...I know!!). But, I'm going on week four of this class and I'm doing panicking yet! I've really started to change my attitude a little bit in regards to my fear of technology and I actually am beginning to feel pretty confident. At the beginning of this course I saw that we had to create a Voice Thread and I was freaking out, but after learning Diigo and Twitter with relatively few bumps, I think I can handle this Voice Thread. I'm actually getting really excited about using it because I am realizing that I can bring this back to my classroom and teach my students.
In this course we have had to create a PLN (personal learning network) by following ten educational blogs and ten educators on Twitter. I will admit Twitter is still a little much for me. There is just so much going on at one time, it's almost like I feel as if I'm in the mind of someone with ADD when I look at my Twitter account and I can only handle it in small amounts. But, it has gotten me to break out of my shell and post a couple things. I'm one of those types of people that was always taught to keep my life private and I rarely share anything about what I am doing, even on Facebook. After opening the Twitter account, though, I have tried to share more and I have also tried to get myself to share more on my Facebook account. I'm slowly trying to get that fear of the Internet out. Using the RSS feed for the blogs was really good for me, too, because I had used that once before a long time ago and kind of forgot about it. But, it is such a great thing to have because it brings the information to you and now I only have to check my email and I can see all these great posts without trying to remember a bunch of websites.
I have learned a lot so far in this class that I don't think I will forget tomorrow, such as RSS feeds, Twitter, and the importance of PLNs. The PLN information is probably the best thing I will take away from these first four weeks because I will be able to use that to become a better teacher. Before this class I would look up stuff on the internet to use in my classroom, but it was not a continual thing. Most of the professional information I got was from colleagues or professional development classes I would attend. With the Internet making information so easily accessible, though, I should be using it more. I will definitely continue building and utilizing my PLN to become a better teacher and to enhance my own learning.
Even though we are only halfway through this class I feel like I have learned so many new applications of technology and I am already so excited for school to start in the fall so I can apply them in my classroom (okay, maybe not excited for school to start again, but I am looking forward to using these new technologies in the classroom...if only I could do that without having to get up early. hmmm...).

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blog Post 1

My Response (Michelle):

I remember reading about this incident as well and my initial thought was “where were the parents?” I think social networking and digital knowledge needs to be taught to students, but I think it also needs to come from parents. Maybe this girl’s parents were teaching her that stuff, but I think oftentimes children are not taught this knowledge at home. There are only so many hours in a school day and unfortunately a lot of that time has to go towards reading and math due to high-stakes standardized testing. At our school we do have technology classes for the students but only twice a week. Common Sense Media ( has a variety of curricula for teaching students how to be responsible digital citizens, but it is hard curricula to incorporate into math or reading class. I agree the curriculum is out there and it needs to take priority, but with technology classes being given limited time at school, we need to figure out how to educate parents so that they can be teaching children at home.

In response to Jeff Utecht

Why We Need To Teach Social Networking

The girl, 17, had been helping her grandmother count the 72-year-old woman’s personal savings. Apparently wishing to impress her friends and the world at large, the teen snapped a picture of the cash and uploaded it to Facebook.
Within hours, masked robbers showed up at the girl’s own house with a knife and a club, breaking in and stealing cash and personal possessions from the teen’s 47-year-old mother.
I read this the other day and was wondering if this girl ever was taught about social networking and where her information goes. 
I then starting thinking about the autonomy I had as say a 13 year old. My parents knew where I was 99% of the time, knew who I was hanging out with, who I was talking with and where I was physically...seeing there was no digital place for me to be yet. 
I think about the autonomy a 13 year old has today. The autonomy to post, talk, respond, take a photo with anyone they want without parents knowing about it...and being able to share with people that their parents might not know. 
These are new behaviors we need to be teaching in schools. We teach how to share, in the physical world. We teach how to cooperate, in the physical world. We teach how to stay away from danger in the physical world. But do we teach these same skills in the new digital sense? Why not?
If we know we are all spending more time online, in online relationships and communicating more online than in person these days, why are we not teaching these social-networking skills?
We talk about making friends, in the physical world. We talk about what it means to be a good friends, how good friends trust each other and how good friends watch out for each the physical world. 
Are we teaching social-networking in the digital world as well? If not are we doing our students, our community, our society a disservice?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Who Am I?

Welcome to my blog! I am a middle school mathematics teacher. This is my tenth year in the classroom and I really enjoy teaching. Right now I am taking classes to earn my doctorate in hopes of entering higher education someday. I am a doctoral student at Illinois State University currently enrolled in C & I 579, and this blog will be a place where I will share thoughts and ideas regarding education, specifically technology in education. Enjoy!