While some school libraries are equipped with state of the art books and technology equipment, others lack such tools. Most librarians nowadays have acquired the skill set that is needed to properly prepare the school’s educators and students for modern technologically geared libraries. Libraries are a key aspect to the school environment. Although the traditional paper and print books are still used very widely in our country, more and more students are relying on digital sources of literature and information. It is very important that our schools stay up to par on a technological standpoint. ISTE’s Special Interest Group for Media Specialists (SIGMS) offers a great community for school librarians to extend their knowledge on technology that can help the operation of their school libraries. SIGMS provides several ways to get involved like contributing to the newsletter and helping to organize developmental activities. You can find more information at www.iste.org/sigms. Another great source for instruction is Joyce Valenza’s award winging blog. Her blog is an awesome School Library Journal called The Neverending Search. Through her blog, she tries to find the latest technologies and resources to support her students’ informational needs and creativity. She has conducted a number of effective projects at her high school in Springfield and shares the experiences through her site. Some teachers, such as Wendy Stephens, are preparing their students for technological advances that are only imaginable. She is infusing technology in her library to prepare her students for what future in technology in education has in store. About 1,300 students attend Stephen’s high school and the school library is equipped with 14 computers, several laptops, and digital and video cameras; along with thousands of books. Some schools are even going to the extent of using Skype in their libraries to contact of other schools around the world. The fact of the matter is, the stern roots of the technology tree have grown deep within the public schools system’s soil.
Question 1: How do you think schools split up the library hours so that each class gets a chance to explore the technological world?
Answer 1: As far as the library went when I was in grade school, it was pretty much first come first serve. The teacher could literally call at the beginning of class and tell the librarian that they were on their way. With the advancement in technology, I’m sure it’s a lot more difficult now. I’d think that would have to sign your class up to go to the library at least a week or two in advance. I’m sure that each teacher is only allowed to bring their class so many times a month or semester.
Question 2: Where do you think technology in education will be five years from now?
Answer 2: Like Wendy Stephens said, I can only imagine the advancement. I am pretty sure that public school libraries will have a large inventory of computers so that each student has their own computer when their class gets the opportunity to visit the library. I’m sure that schools will have assessments and require the students to be technology savvy.
There are many ways that teachers can inform their students about the importance of a healthy environment. Forty one years ago our country started celebrating a healthy environment by declaring April 22nd “Earth Day.” Since that day, we have emphasized the importance of creating a e healthy earth by educating our youth about on the topic. Nowadays, educators have access to an abundance of online resources for green teaching. Take Classroom Earth (classroomearth.org) for example, it was created for highschool students and it contains an excess amount of information that can easily be included in your daily lesson plans. The purpose of the site is to broaden environmental education in high schools and include this topic in all areas and subjects. The site is loaded with helpful resources, it even contains news articles, videos, and lesson plans. Another great source is called A Walk in the Woods (urbanext.illinois.edu/woods/). This site was created for 3-5 graders from large cities. It offers them a virtual stroll through the woods and it is fully equipped with detailed photos and sound effects. This site is a perfect starting point to environmental education. Eek! also known as Environmental Education for Kids (http://dnr.wi.gov/eek/ ) is another great resource. This site was created for students between grades 4-8 and it is full of excellent content. It is considered an electronic magazine for kids and it was created by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Services. It offers many links for k-12 educators with lesson plans covering a variety of topics from climate change to endangered trees. One of the key components on this site is its “Teacher Pages.” These pages contain an array of helpful information like site navigation instructions, tips for getting students onto the site, and a list of subject supported activities.
Question 1: Which of these three resources seems like it would be the most insightful?
Answer 1: All three of these resources seem like they would be very helpful in different ways. The first site would help instructors more than anything. It has a lot of great information and its primary goal is to spread the word about environmental awareness. The second site seems like it is kind of limited. Its audience it very small and its primary purpose is very simplistic—teach urban kids about the wilderness. I believe that Eek! would be the most helpful of the three. Not only is it an entertaining educational magazine for the students, but it also has a section for teachers. It is the most complete site out of the three.
Question 2: How well do you think our public schools are doing with communicating the importance of environmental awareness?
Answer 2: First and foremost, the idea of these websites is awesome. The only concern I have is how many people are actually using these resources. Personally, I’ve never seen an environmental education website until today. My teachers never really discussed the importance of protecting our mother earth. I think that the extent of being environmentally savvy in our public schools is through recycling. Other than that, most students aren’t getting educated on the topic. I think it should be part of the curriculum.
Technology had created an easy way for students to bully one another. Regardless where the bullying takes place, it greatly affects the kid’s life at school. Therefore it is vital that educators and school officials do not overlook it. From teachers to student, and parents to administrators, it is important that they all work together otherwise it is inevitable in today’s society. Administrators need to take whatever actions are justifiable to ensure the students in the school are in technologically safe environment. It is the parent’s responsibility to keep a tab on their children’s cyber world. They should check their phones and social networks on a regular basis to and know what their children are up to. Students need to know the relevance of cyber bullying and its common existence in today’s culture. The victims of cyber bullying need to act rather than just live with it. They must understand that it wrong and can be very threatening. Students who have been victimized in this sense may need to take part in counseling.
The NO argument:
Some people believe that behavioral problems that didn’t begin in the classroom, such as most cases of cyber bullying, should not end in the classroom. This has become such a major issue because we, as a society, have lost the importance of family as an institution. The weaker families get, the more bullying that occurs. Love is the vaccine for bullying. Parents who genuinely love their children and show it don’t need to be too concerned with their child being a cyber bully, but possibly a victim. Finding love in your home is merely impossible in some circumstances. In so many areas of our country today, both parents are required to work all day. Also, the divorce rate is at its peak. Considering these two aspects alone, the lack of love is very pertinent.
Question 1: In what level of institution do you feel that cyber bullying is most relevant?
Answer 1: I believe that cyber bullying happens most in middle school. Most elementary school students lack the knowledge and capability in regards to social networks. Most high school students have adopted a stern personality and if they are going to duke it out, it won’t be over the internet. Middle school students on the other hand have a limited amount of knowledge when it comes to the internet, and sadly that knowledge is all in the world of social-networking. This is the age when kids are most vulnerable, trying to find themselves and scrutinizing others helps their process of self-realization.
Question 2: Do you, personally, believe that schools should be held responsible for cyber bullying?
Answer 2: No. I think that schools should definitely do everything possible to stop this issue and it is their civil duty but they aren’t responsible for the spark that lit the candle. It is not the schools fault that the students are defiant and disrespectful, it is the families fault. With the issue constantly escalating, it is definitely something that administration needs to regulate. They need to come up with a stern set of consequences.
My PLN (Personal Learning Network) is a place where I can learn from my peers. It consists of numerous resources that are vital and helpful in being successful in my career. In my PLN, those who I follow often suggest great ideas and suggestions that will help me be an effective teacher. I communicate with teachers, technology experts, and fellow classmates. Some of the things I look for within my PLN are innovative and creative ways to communicate my curriculum content. This is important because all students learn differently.
One resource that I commonly use in my PLN is Twitter. Twitter has become universal. No matter where you are in the world, everyone knows about twitter. This source allows me to “follow” people as they discuss whatever it is they feel is relevant. I’m currently following a few educational gurus/college sites along with a few friends and a few celebs. I’m following Classroom 2.0, Liveclass 2.0, the awesome Dr. Jeff Heil, Bill Cosby, along with several of my fellow classmates. Classroom 2.0 frequently posts classroom assignment ideas. It sort of has a Q & A feel to it. I know that if I need info on anything that incorporates technology and education I can rely on Classroom 2.0 on Twitter. Liveclass 2.0 is a live show that is held every Saturday at 11 pm. It is about technology tools that are used in the classroom. Not only is Bill Cosby a great comedian, but he is also a great educationalist. He does a wonderful job making his followers think outside of the box. I joined an educational chat on Twitter at 1 pm (4pm EST) this afternoon (April 13, 2011). That chat I participated in was EL Chat, or English Language Chat. I did a lot more observing than I did typing. I found those who were participating to be very lax and enjoyable. I chose this chat because it was the only one that was adaptable to my busy schedule (only because I got off an hour early today). Most of the people must have been from a faraway place because they kept stating that it was night time. The first thing I read was, “Right time to have a glass of wine and watch dream school, night all.” One gentleman was discussing private immersion schools in Brazil. He mentioned that half of the subjects were taught in English and the other half in Spanish. There was probably about 20 participating in the chat and they seemed to all know each other. It almost seemed more like a personal chat than an educational chat. They were talking about babysitting, clothing, and different kinds of wine. If I had my choice (less time constraints), I would have definitely chose a different chat to participate in.
Like twitter, Diigo is another awesome networking tool. Diigo is a bookmarking site that allows you to bookmark and tag pretty much anything that interests you. Also like twitter, Diigo allows you to follow people with similar interests. I am following several educators from around the world. The first site that I tagged PLN is PLN 101. This site is an intro to Personal Learning Networks. It teaches you the basics and gets you started on your own PLN. The next thing that I tagged PLN is a fun wiki called factory wall. This wiki gives a number of awesome ways to incorporate art into education. I also tagged an interesting blog titled, Year One: A College Blog. In this blog, a freshman at a university documents her life. This blog was created so that future college students have a sense of what they can expect when they make that plunge.
I also recently joined Classroom 2.0, which is a digital discussion forum. Classroom 2.0 is a cool social network that encourages the use of technology in schools. I explored the Classroom 2.0 blog. This allows virtually anybody to post something. Just need your name and e-mail.There were some pretty interesting posts and subject matter varied. It was all educational or technological.