Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Digital Citizenship inside grade 2

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds,

so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”

- Plato

Digital Citizenship is most closely defined at “those who use the Internet regularly and effectively” (K. Mossberger). It is well known that teenagers and young adults have an extreme presence in the online communities but what about elementary scholars especially grade 2? I think that for younger kids the internet is mostly a place of learning not so much for socializing, like most teens and young adults. A second grade classroom today has more technology than ever before. Lessons and activities teacher do are almost all online. Second graders are able to go online and view you tube videos, blog posts, and research pages; all that are previously viewed by the teacher and put on a shared Google document that the whole class can see.
Since 2nd graders are more tuned into lessons online it is important to teach digital citizenship to them. In one online magazine the importance of parents teaching their child digital citizenship is shown. The magazine (away magazine) discusses that it is important for young online users to understand what is going on online. Parents should talk to their kids about buying and selling online and what is appropriate. It also explains the importance of teaching your child first how to use a computer and what responsibilities come with being online. For example parents need to discuss that it can be addicting and that they might stumble onto a website not right for them and what to do if this happens at home such as tell mom or dad and go back to their previous webpage.
In the classroom teachers need to discuss digital citizenship to kids so that they can do research for the class and get involved in the big community. On ask a teacher a whole example lesson plan is shown for how to teach digital citizenship to a second grade classroom, it discusses how to live in the digital world. The main points show teaching what a digital citizen is, what the responsibilities online are, how being an online citizen connects to being a citizen of the town, and what is the importance of being a good citizen. For second grade it is important to teach them what is wrong and why so discussing plagiarism is a highlight as well as cyber bullying, they need to understand that these are dangerous and not respectful to others. This guide to a lesson on citizenship also includes links to websites that have activities and games connected to the essential points. One website you can be connected to is brainpop, the website have all kinds of point of topics you can click on and it takes you to a new page that has the definition and explanation of, for example plagiarism, and on the other side there is a video about plagiarism. Another website (livebinder) connects teachers with a list of website that have games and information all safe for students to go onto and research digital citizenship.
It is important to teach young students the importance of digital citizenship because they need to know the basic rules for being online before they can become part of the educational and social communities. If they do not learn about digital citizenship and the responsibilities and risks that arouse form it then they will miss use it and the internet will become a center for the wrong things. On coalcrackerclassroom they say that as a teacher “you are responsible for the education and learning” as well as the social skills needed for today’s society. Teaching a second grader digital citizenship helps them to learn more about being online and how to protect themselves as well.
Will every positive there is a negative, so while educating digital citizenship there is also a risk that the students will still miss use it. When setting young kids off online there is a risk of what they will find and how they will choose to use it. As a second grader they are starting to understand right and wrong and might push the boundaries when a teacher puts them online. Also a young student must have a supportive family at home, if the student goes to school and learns one thing about being online then goes home to a house with unsupervised computer access they might use what they learned to go beyond what they should be doing online and find trouble. Although there are some risks to setting a second grader into the online world, I think there is a lot of educational and good website out there for them to learn from and use throughout their lives.



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Learning to Unlearn

As humans and lifelong learners we are always growing and learning new things. For professional growth as a teacher it is important to unlearn and re learn certain things. The Text (The Connected Educator) says that “connected learning is a process of learning, unlearning, and then re learning as we participate in networks and communities”. We have to forget previous thoughts to grow and learn the new techniques and the new curriculums for teaching. As a teacher it is easy to teach the same way you were taught as a child, but to be a teacher in the connected communities in the current world you have to unlearn the techniques and ways of your past teachers.

Although it is important to keep up in today’s communities of technology and new age thoughts I think that the past has a lot to teach us and has a lot of use. Growing up my schooling was a lot of writing and doing work out on paper and memorizing, while today it is all about technology and being involved in the online world. Kids are not taught the basics as they use to. In today’s schools kids are not learning how to do math without a calculator or spelling without word check. I think a lot is being lost through teachers unlearning how to learn the basics and relearning the new technology.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Interactive Whiteboards in Today's Classroom

Interactive white boards (IWB) are just another upgrade in the school system. In 1928 stores started to create ink for pens instead of making ink at home, this was a big controversy and teachers spoke out about it saying that it when students ran out of ink they wouldn’t be able to write till they went to the settlement again. Today we have just a modernized controversy with IWB being used in schools. Teachers can easily say that activities done on the IWB can only be used at schools and art accessible at home.
                I think that the IWB have many pros and I can see why schools install them in their classrooms but personally I think the cons overweight them. Schools are paying thousands of dollars on one piece of technology that can only be used in the classroom. Also many teachers don’t know how to work the IWB effectively and engage all the students. A third con is that students today are into what is new and next and get bored with things so quickly. With internet becoming more of a community of learners why don’t school districts spend money on more individual computers for all students so each student can work on their own computer and connect to online networks full of learners just like them. Teachers also know how to use personal computers more and can share documents and other free online information easier to all students and they can connect at home and on their own to what they are learning in class. We are investing thousands of dollars into something students will get tired of and stop paying attention to. In the article “Some educators question if whiteboards, other high-tech tools raise achievement” a professor stated that even with a presentation on the IWB students still fell asleep and didn’t pay attention. Through studies expressed in the article the studies about whether or not the IWB really has an effect on student achievement are very mixed and don’t really seem to have a conclusion.
Even with all the cons the IWB is an effective way of using differentiation in the classroom. The board allows many ways to express lessons through visual, auditory and tactile learning. The board has different programs all using different teaching techniques. Through presentations, similar to a power point, teachers can engage the students by having hands on lessons involving touching the board and moving icons and they can engage auditory learners and tactile learners by having a lecture behind the visuals and have printed worksheets that follow a presentation. The board also allows all students to participate in the class and keep their attention.
Although the IWB is designed to keep attention and be “cool” kids always want what’s next and will get bored with seeing the same thing every day. With a personal computer for
every student they can constantly download new programs and work on their own so they are always engaged. Teachers are not always trained correctly on how to use the IWB and therefore use them the same way they can remember and don’t have lessons that are different and interesting for long. Students like to work with their own hands and see their own work instantly; this just can not be done with one classroom IWB. Therefore I think that the US is spending money on one large board for a class and wasting our money that could be used for technology and materials that our schools could use more.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Differentiation instruction is the principle of adjusting your lesson plans to target the individual learning styles of all students in a classroom. The main goal is to individualize each lesson to each child in the classroom. This requires the teacher to find the strengths and weaknesses of each child in the class and tailor each lesson to meet the needs of every student. In a large class, however this could be very challenging because of the size and lack of time to make each lesson individual for each student. Also with too much individualization children may learn to depend too much on it and not learn how to learn from different learning styles other than the one that works best for them. This is linked with the No child left behind act that present Bush put into effect. Differentiation tries to keep all kids in the classroom learning the same rate and passing the same test by teaching lessons specific to them.

Technology in the classroom can always be a pro or a con. For Differentiation I feel that technology is a huge pro. With today's technology it is easy to meet several learning styles in one lesson. Throw the smart board it is easy to create a power point that involves a physical interaction, maybe a game, and then have notes printed out to assist the visual, physical and tactile learners. This improves on the overall learning for the whole class. Technology also allows the teacher to have one lesson fully developed and can be completed with the time in class and for all students no matter how large the class is.

Classrooms today are reaching up to 30 students in them and each student is a different learner and has different needs. Some students may be special education and are being included into the regular class. Through differentiation the needs of these students can be met; but how realistic is this? For me, as an aspiring teacher, this is not realistic. I think that there is not enough time in the class to everyone in the room’s specific learning styles constantly. I think that through grouping and smallgroup learning it is more possible but still can’t be done the entire time. This is especially true with the younger ages. With the younger children they don’t even know what learning style will work for them so it is challenging to know where each child is best going to learn. It is better for the whole class to use different methods throughout the year for them to best see how they learn.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Twitter and Me

     Twitter is an online social networking service and micro blogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets". It is an online networking that enables multiple communities to communicate. Personally until this class twitter was a way for me to communicate with my friends and post silly statuses that were practically meaningless. I recently created a professional twitter to follow other teachers and students interested in teaching.

      In class my professor gave us a quiz on twitter. We were allowed to all communicate through a hash tag and discuss what we thought was the best answer to the question posted. While he was describing the assignment I really didn’t understand how useful twitter would be. When the quiz started it became very clear how remorseful twitter can be. Through reading others comments and tweeting with classmates I learned more about the chapter then I would have ever grasped reading it and taking a quiz alone. Some may call it cheating that we all tweeted each other the answers but I thought we all learned more than we ever could on our own. We created a small Professional learning community (PLC) inside our classroom. We all collaterally worked together using everyone as a unique addition to the answer created.

     Through this experience I have learned just how useful twitter can be. Twitter has expanded so much further than just social networking it can be a whole new way of learning information. As a teacher I can benefit so much from this. I will be able to connect with other teachers who are dealing with the same problems I’ll come across and they might have different ways to solve it or help me learn more about how to solve it. It will also help me to create new lessons and ways to teach. I will become part of a global wide teaching community. This is something I never thought would be possible when I chose this career.

    Not only will twitter be useful for my personal learning but for my class as well. I can connect with the students and their parents to have surveys or even quizzes just like what I was given. I can also use it to understand my students better and allow them to maybe voice their opinions in a different way. I am majoring in early and special education, for special education student’s twitter might be a better way for them to answer questions and understand my lesson. They can connect to other students like them and try and figure out the problems on their own and talk to other students just like them. Twitter has really expanded the learning community and allowed everyone to become connected in a unique way that I never thought could happen.  
Follow me on Twitter to connect with me! @grace_flynn16

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Final Frontier

     This was created with Me, Courtney, and Morgan. We made a presentation to persuade teachers to use technology in their classrooms. The presentation used information from the article “Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration”. The Article used facts and surveys to show the move of technology through schools. It also showed the difference between teacher’s beliefs and how they used technology. The Article was created to “[give] a better understanding of this complex relationship, educators might gain a greater appreciation for why more teachers are not using technology in ways advocated in the literature.” (pg27).

     Working with my partners worked very well. I found that it was easy to communicate through the technology to get the work done. This collaboration created a great presentation where we all were equally a part of.

    Click the picture below to view our presentation on teachers and technology.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All About Me

Hi, my name is Grace Flynn. I was born in Wilmington, North Carolina on June 19, 1994. I lived there for about a year then moved to Corning, New York. I lived there for about 8 years before my dad got a new job in Connecticut. I spend 6 years here before job complications caused my dad to find a new job in Maryland. I spent all of high school at Broadneck Senior High School in Annapolis, Maryland. I love Annapolis so much, it’s such a beautiful town and really allowed me to turn into the person I am today. Through high school I spent a lot of time babysitting, lifeguarding, and working at the church down the street. One of the families that I babysat for had a child with autism. This allowed me to really work with a special education student. For the past 2 summers I have worked as a lifeguard at Chase Creek (a small community pool), because the pool was so small I got to spend a lot of time with the little kids that belonged there and had the chance to work with them every day. At the church I worked in the Sunday school and helped my dad teach a class of 12 second graders. I also helped form the new middle school and high school program through the youth group. Through the past 4 years I have really found that my passion is working with children.

Here at Edinboro University I am studying Early and Special Education. When I am done at school I will be able to teach both early education with kindergarten through fourth grade and special education kindergarten through eighth grade. Right now I am a freshman just getting my feet wet in the education program. I am excited to start and see if I really want to choose a career working with kids.

Technology in the classroom is something I have mixed feelings about. While I think that the smart boards and I pads are useful for a lot of lesson plans and games that kids will enjoy being engaged in I think that there is a lot to learn from books. There is never going to be anything that can replace a book. I think that kids need a book in their hands to fully grasp reading. They can use their fingers to follow the text and turn the pages using fine motor skills and then they get the self-satisfactory of closing that last page and shutting the book when they complete the story. The technology that I find useful are the smart boards for learning games that allow kids to become even more involved and excited about learning. Technology in the classroom also allows more students to become more successful with learning by incorporating different learning styles that work better for them. by creating games and different presentations it keeps attention while lectures and overheads might have been boring to many students.

I think that teaching is the most rewarding career. Teachers help to mold students into the people they will become. Students have a lot of influences and to be able to make a positive influence is the most rewarding feeling. Teaching is about more than standing in front of kids and teaching them what the books say, it’s about teaching them social, emotional, physical and mental skills to make them successful in their future.