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What is Webstagram?

This is a presentation all about Webstagram using slide share.  Please feel free to provide feedback!

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Schools and Students Clash Over Use of Technology Via Mindshift

“Educational policy makers need to connect the dots between what motivates and encourages students to learn and what’s actually happening in the classroom, the report states.”  

This quote perfectly summarized my thoughts as I was reading this report.  I couldn’t agree more.  If students are not motivated, then they will check out and not be engaged in the classroom.  It benefits both the teacher and the students to have a classroom full of motivated students. Students will be more likely to learn and the teacher will be able to reach his/her students providing them with the resources they need to succeed.

I thought it was interesting (and encouraging) that most of the parents surveyed in this study supported allowing their child to use their personal devices in school.  The push back comes from principals and administrators.  I understand where they are coming from, however, it is a different world today and using mobile devices to access the internet and other learning tools has become a necessity.  It is rare that you see young people without an iPhone in their hands, therefore, why not encourage them to use it for educational purposes if they spend so much time on it?

I think it is sad that students are taking classes outside of their school in order to prepare themselves for the real world.  That is very eye opening!  It speaks volumes and makes it apparent that we are not providing an education that is relevant to students of the 21st century. What’s scarier is that students that participated in this survey stated that they would be more interested in STEM careers if they had more access to technology in the classroom.  What message are we sending our kids?  Don’t we want to encourage them to become interested in such careers and give them the tools necessary to get there?  “This indicates that the way kids learn seems to influence what they’re interested in pursuing.”

This study made me think a lot about myself as a teacher.  I think there is more pressure on teachers today to use technology in the classroom.  Luckily, I think it is not only necessary but also critical in staying relevant to my students.  I do not consider myself high-tech, but I am committed to learning what I can and incorporating technology in any way I can in my future classroom.  Especially after taking this class!  I have learned many new tools that I look forward to sharing with my students.


  techinspector gadget 

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Twitter Feed

I wanted to share this because it is so inspirational.  It’s a great story about students who generally do not like school (for generations), coming together and doing something for their community.  They rebuild to better the town in which they live.  The class they took over sixteen weeks was not about sitting at a desk but getting their hands dirty and working hard.  This is a true example of new learning and branching out from traditional ways of teaching.  I truly believe that the experiences these students had through this project have taught them more than any classroom lecture or textbook could have!


This is so cool!  What a great resource for new teachers, or even seasoned teachers learning to use technology in the classroom.  I love that this chart shows four different categories to guide teachers – think & observe, share & interact, analyze & evaluate, create & design.  These categories and “tips” can be created into many fun and interesting lessons.  It allows teachers to meet technology standards, while students reap the benefits of technology such as twitter.  Knowing your students is key & using twitter is just another way to relate a lesson to your students.  Staying relevant for 21st century learners!



I thought this was an interesting article and one that resonates with everything we have learned this semester.  It was interesting to read the seven characteristics listed in this article that qualify an educator to be considered “digitally competent.”  I was happy that I met six of the seven! I think that the seven characteristics are good qualifiers to be considered digitally competent.  I think that in order to keep up with 21st century learners, teachers need to meet these standards so that they can be prepared to teach today’s students.  That being said, I think some of these characteristics coud be tweaked and that even if a teacher does not meet all seven, he/she can still be digitally competent.  I think half the battle is having the desire to learn the technology.





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Make your kids play…outside!


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The New Digital Learning Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations

I thought the title of this article truly spoke for itself. Simply put, there IS a new playbook when it comes to teaching our students and it is becoming more and more digital. Furthermore, student perceptions and preferences are something we can no longer ignore.  If teachers do not learn the “rules” (aka technology) of the game…they will not be relevant and will cause their students to lose in the longrun. Technology, if used properly, prepares our students for the game of life. As the author states in the press release, “let’s grab on to that meteor tail and leverage the authentic views of our students to create new digital learning playbooks that will meet the needs of all of our diverse learners.”

Diverse learners – that is what it is all about.  As the press release points out, there are differences between male and female students, and obviously age & grade plays a factor.  The results of such studies should be used as important data to tell us what our students think and how they plan to use technology today and in the future.  One thing within the article that was disheartening is that female students are less likely than male students to follow STEM careers.  I think this is because of social stigmas placed on our girls, but I do believe it has come a long way.  I myself used to be in technology sales and was one of a handful of women on my team.  I think it is our jobs as teachers to encourage girls to become interested in math and science and one of the best ways we can do that is through technology!

I found it interesting that both male and female students found it frustrating to not be able to use their own mobile devices in class for schoolwork.  The school I worked at last year implemented a “bring your own device” program, as most public schools are doing now.  I was surprised that some schools are not allowing students this access.  I understand the security issues, but there are ways to prevent any infringement, and the benefit of allowing students to use their mobile devices outweigh the risks (in my opinion).  Students use these devices at home with social media, digital gaming, etc and are familiar with how to use them.  They are most efficient on their own devices, therefore, it is in the best interest of the schools to allow them to use them in class as well.  Of course, there needs to be school provided devices available for those students that do not have their own.

Programs such as Speak Up are impoortant to gain perspectives from a variety of teachers, administrators, students and community members.  What a powerful tool for future education.  There was so much good information in this press release but I think the most important take away for me is to stay relevant.  Knowing my students and their needs is critical.  Designing lesson plans that incorporate technology is the only way to reach all of my students.  This means I need to edcuate myself and use the resources around me to learn different technologies, as well as ask my students and stay interested.  There is so much to learn and the best teachers are the kids themselves!  Creating differentiated and relevant (topics of interest) lessons is key.  My hope is to inspire my kids and give them the tools they need to be creative and grow in their own way.

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EdReach: Misson Monday #036 – The Pros and Cons of Being a “Connected Educator”

EdReach is such a great site!  What a valuable resource that I never knew about.  Definitely a tool I will use to continue to educate myself and stay up to date on the latest in news in education.  The podcast that I listened to was called Mission Monday #036: The Pros and Cons of Being a “Connected Educator.”  The two hosts, Mark (a school principal) and Sam (teacher) are a part of a program called Mission Monday.  This program provides a plan to enhance school communities through focused interventions that center around building positive relationships between students, teachers, parents and the community.  For this podcast, the hosts used the definiton of connected educator to be, “connected in some capactity with other educators through a social media outlet.”  I was surprised by this definition as there are several other ways to be connected, however, given the power of social media today, I can understand their point of view.

The podcast goes on to discuss different forms of social media such as twitter, facebook and pinterest.  The hosts discuss the pros and cons of each.  The general theme throughout the podcast is that, in general, social media outlets are useful tools that allow for collaboration and building relationships with other educators, however, they are a “little too rose colored …a little too much sunshine.”  I think it was Mark who makes the point that any tweets or posts with a negative connotation are disliked.  The reason for this, according to the hosts, is that educators who use social media and want to stay connected typically are like minded and therefore are seeking similar chats.  I found this to be eye opening since, for example, twitter as a whole is not generally positive.  In fact celebrities and other entertainers are portrayed in a negtaive light.  It was interesting to hear that educators do have such a positive spin on what they tweet about.  After all, who wants to listen to a teacher complain about a difficult day they had in the classroom?

One of the last points the two hosts made was about Pinterest.  They pointed out that, in general, people who use Pinterest love to pin things to their board or like other pins, but they hardly ever follow through.  They do not bake the delicious cookies they saw, or start that workout plan they repinned.  In contrast, educators actually DO what they find.  If they find a cool lesson plan, or materials to use within their classroom, they actually follow through.  Makes sense.

Having had my first experience with EdReach (or podcasts in general) I would say that this is a tool I will use as a future learner.  Having this type of insight is what makes you a connected educator and can only enhance your understanding of your students and your own professional growth.  Learning from others, as cliche as it sounds, is the best way to learn.  I also think using podcasts in the classroom is a fantastic idea!  Giving students the opportunity to become their own broadcasters can build their confidence and get them interested in such tools from an early age.  Stay connected!


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Andrew Blum: What is the Internet, really?

Not even sure how to start describing my reactions to this video? My first thought was, so what? Who cares? But, once I thought about it, I stopped and realized that the majority of people using the Internet truly have NO concept of what it REALLY is. All we know and see is the facebook page or tweets that pop up for us by the click of a button. Well, how does that happen? Who and what is controlling these actions behind the scenes?

Andrew Blum states in the video that “the Internet is like the Milky Way. We can never understand it.” I couldn’t agree more. The internet is a complex web of ever evolving searches and. It is a much more intricate system than it appears to us in the physical world. Blum goes into the idea of the physical internet vs. “the internet” after a squirrel chews through his internet cables causing him to go offline. He was familiar with the internet and how to use it, but became interested in the physical aspects. What is the Internet, really?

I found it fascinating that Blum actually traveled the world to see how the internet is connected. He learned of switches, boxes, and cables inside of man holes, underwater, and alongside hills and mountains. What a nut! Why would anyone want to do that? It’s funny actually because he probably falls into a small population of people who really care. I have never even thought about this, let alone had the desire to go out and see it firsthand. It is astonishing though to think about. We use our computers and the net daily without stopping to think about how it all works. All we know is we have to call the internet guy when we go offline and he magically just fixes it. I think I will be more aware now after watching this video but I can promise you I will never go searching for miles of cables under the sea 😉

So what? What does this mean for us as educators? I am not sure. I guess it is a good idea to make your students aware of the phsycial world and how it relates to the internet. Remind them that what they see and hear online is stored somewhere and does travel across wires. It’s not just a a vast space of unknown. If nothing else, have them practice critcal thinking skills?

Andrew Blum:  What is the Internet, really?

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YOU become a judge with the power of social media!

All you need is a facebook or twitter account and a FREE app to become a judge on ABC’s new hit show Rising Star!  Instant results…instant fame!!

ABC’s ‘Rising Star’ premieres Sunday; Find out how to use the voting app | WJLA.com.

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Virtual Class tonight using Blackboard Collaborate!

Virtual Class tonight using Blackboard Collaborate!

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