June 2nd

At this point in the term, my head is spinning, I have three final projects I am thinking about and now I have the added section of thought in reference to whether or not I am being duped by big business.  The answer is inevitably yes.  However, today offered a new side to advertisement and portrayals and how they either give power or weakness and a great deal of other portrayals.  I honestly never gave much thought to whether or not the media was being blatantly racist or being culturally specific.

My group got to study deeper the portrayal of African American people in media.  This was quite interesting in that there seemed to be a simple confusion between to sides of the spectrum.  On one side, the images portrayed African Americans as being gun toting, hard killer type gangsters, yet the other hand depicted them as being very powerful and high fashion and educated with a successful spot in middle class and upper class America.  That was it, there was no portrayal of the average person it was either high or low.  Weird.

Our discussion of the portrayal of woman was great.  I love coming home and sharing information with my wife from this class.  She laughed out loud when I told her about what someone said in reference to the Little Mermaid and how it seems the message is things are better when woman don’t talk. My wife has a coworker/ friend who has two little girls whom she doesn’t allow to watch Disney princess movies because it sends an inaccurate representation of what it is like in a real relationship.  She doesn’t want her little girls thinking that they can’t do everything boys can do and that they must wait around for their Prince Charming.  I don’t know, I think that is a bit extreme.  My wife and her sisters watched those movies and they are some of the most powerful, head strong women I have ever met.  So, I guess it all comes down to your own personal opinion of what will effect  and won’t affect those you love.  Sometimes media doesn’t do things on purpose and I know that, but to think they don’t have most of their implied meanings planned out is crazy.

 

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July 1st

As a society, it seems that we have had a dramatic change of opinion over the course of 20 years in regards to what is considered violent and non violent.  I really enjoyed our discussion of this in today’s class.  Though it may have gone longer than it was supposed to, I feel it gave many the opportunity to discuss this issue.  I made a comment today about the first time I heard “bitch” on the tv.  This was life changing for me.  I was used to hearing it from my family and violence was no stranger in my house, however this was such a shock that I still remember it vividly.   Considering the horrible childhood I had, the importance of this memory is rather interesting.  I guess I viewed TV as that getaway from the violence I had at home.  I could watch tv and not see or hear many acts of violence.  Of course I would see some, but nothing compared to what an average 3rd or 4th graders considers “normal” today.  It surprised me how different people chose different sides of the room for the different acts of violence seen on tv.    I feel that acts of violence have become so normal that people are becoming desensitized at an alarming rate.  It honestly worries me for future generations.  It seems like we are raising an army of youth who have no fear of death nor any respect for it.  The chosen few who have model parents and structure in their lives are far outnumbered, in my opinion, by those who don’t.  Without this structure, how can we expect children to learn the difference between cinema and reality.

With regards to the other topic of discussion, I guess I hadn’t given much thought on what role positioning played in consumer fishing.  I enjoy fishing and this is the best way I can describe what I saw today.  As a fisherman, you think long and hard about the perfect lure for the situation.  You look at the minnows in the water and the insects flying in the air.  You look at what color they are and what shape they are.  After taking in this information, you make an educated decision and tie on the best fit for your target fish.  The same can be said for the world of marketing.  Pretty interesting when you think about it from that perspective.

 

June 27th

In an age where information is not only sought out, but also subliminally absorbed, marketers have done much to gain our business.  This is really cool to me.  I spoke with my wife and she had an interesting stance on how marketers gather tons of information and then turn around and use it against us to buy their products.  She thinks that what they are doing is perfectly ethical because they are just being smart in a business world.  She also stated that big business didn’t take our free will, but yet they are looked at as the bad guys.   I liked this answer.  To some extent, we as consumers need to realize that we are always being purchased at the hands of marketers and big business.  Getting mad a big business is just another way a passing the blame.

However, I have an entirely different point f view on the subject when marketers skew information ad falsify information.  This is when I feel big business should have to answer to some code of conduct.  Nowhere, in education do we ever teach that it is okay to lie, skew, misrepresent or any other tactic that marketers use.  If you gave an assignment to any 4th grader which required them to take a picture and try to sell something, you would get exactly that.

We messed up somewhere.  Now it is okay to outright lie.  Its just not fair to consumers.  But we need to learn how to see past the magic and be smart consumers, not mindless drones.

Day 3 June 26th

Today we has the chance to truly see how distorted our view of the world has become.  Without realizing it, we as educators have been perpetuating this issue in our classrooms through the use of maps and other sources which we deem as fact.  The maps on WorldMapper.org tell a different story of the actualities facing our world.  Everything isn’t puppies and rainbows.  In order to truly understand epidemics, disasters, spending, education and too many other subject areas to list, I recommend a visit to this site.  We spent 20-30 minutes looking at and analyzing these maps and the visual representation depicted by the data collected.  It was almost disgusting to see how convoluted things have become and how lazy we are to seek out the truth.   Granted, the major news networks and other media outlets have found ways to present these stories as a misrepresentation of the truth.  We as a society have become so complacent when it comes to critical thinking and what is really going on.  Now not everything is the end of the world, but many stories are begging to be stripped apart and delved into.

Equally as astounding was the district remapping that we learned about.  Where do politicians and other public officials get off trying to manipulate the masses.  A vote should be a vote without any asterisks*.  If you vote in a district, that should be your district.  I don’t feel that a district should be allowed to extend itself to include or exclude any one localized area.  This is where misrepresentation comes in.  I don’t pretend to be a political juggernaut, however, I do feel this to be a little shady in its structure.  I can just picture a closed door no limit poker game going on with the chips being the districts and the winner taking all.  I don’t know.  Maybe that’s just me.

Our controversial topic was very interesting.  I feel as a teacher and a now a parent, that I would want teachers to have the ability to protect my son as a last resort.  But the way the topic was being spun made it seem like states were trying to bring back “Seperate but Equal”.  In reality, it is a constitutional right which I feel can’t be limited by an occupation.  It almost feels like discrimination in the sense that a group of people are not allowed to to uphold their ammendment rights because others believe it is wrong or unethical.  That shouldn’t play a role in the matter, as Americans, we have the right to bare arms.

Overall, great day of discussion.

June 25th

Today I realized I don’t have what it takes to be a reporter.

 

In the activity where we had to decide whether or not to report on a given issue, I felt like I was over analyzing to the highest degree.   I feel that reporters must have to be able to think of the best possible solution from their current dilemma and act.  I would constantly think about the people I may affect, or the lives which may be ruined.  Panic which might be created all because of the way I present words to the masses.  Though this activity was fun, it reassured me that I am in the right profession.

With regards to journalism, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride after listening to the discussions and events surrounding David S. Rhode and his terrible ordeal.  The way that 40 major networks work together seamlessly both inspires me and terrifies me.  Though we already spoke about much of this in class, I still have much to say.  For years we have known that we should always take news with a grain of salt.  This story however, makes the old saying seem a little under exaggerated.  40 may not seem like a large number, but when you think of the millions of viewers those 40 networks represent, then that number seems much larger.   The advocates at the NY Times were able to do something that many middle school teachers can’t do with a group of thirty students when a rumor has been spread.  Of course there is a need to stop the rumor, but anyone who has stepped into a school understands how difficult it is to stop the spread of information (however false it is) through the lips of children.  Now, these people basically silenced a nation who, lets face it, acts like children most of the time.  If they can keep this topic blacked out, then what else don’t we know.

In light of the recent scandal in the CIA, I can only wonder what guidelines, if any, were followed in bringing this topic to the public.  We learned the guidelines journalists “use” today in class and it is almost flagrant disrespect for their profession.  As a teacher, if someone brought me information saying that Jupiter was now a Dwarf Planet, I wouldn’t jump straight into writing lessons plans to be taught immediately.  I would first commit the person who told me the information, then I would try to find other sources who could bck this claim.  I guess the purpose of today’s class was to not always take the news as it first appears.  Like the example Dr. Bucy gave in class today about the hate crime in Corvallis, the story was drastically skewed and the public had no way of knowing because of perspective.  Sometimes we all need a little perspective though.

Goodbye CSE 624, Hello CSE 612! 6/24

Hello All,

I guess the best way to start this post is by describing the type of person I used to be and who I am rapidly becoming.  I grew up without any real role models and thus I have had to learn and create a sense of normal occurrences in everyday life.  I grew up over trusting and simply accepting what was being pushed upon me.  I then went to college and met my very skeptical wife.  She has helped me develop a little more skepticism.  This class however, seems like it will really help to develop a better understanding of what is really going on in our society.

The last thing I wanted to do is read articles and papers.  I am so glad I did.  Knowledge is best understood through the lenses of others.  I really believe this.  I feel like we already know what we know, but to truly learn, we need to hear what others have to say.  These articles have addressed many topics and ultimately debated ethical practices and what we as consumers are subjected to on the daily.  The tactics by which business obtain my money are astounding.  Honestly, I feel it is rather ingenious.  One of the articles stated “If we companies want to truly get a consumer hooked on their product, then they must reach them on the subconscious level.  Not only are our students struggling daily with a perceived understanding that they are supposed to mature faster, learn more advanced academics at a younger age and deal with issues children should never have to, but they are also being played as pawns in a chess game where the players are big business and their wants and needs are already being decided for them.

I may have gone on a rant there, but this is what happens when you marry a skeptic.  My wife is very smart (smarter than I will ever be) and I love her with all my heart.  She helped me realize many things in this world are not what they seem and that you shouldn’t just trust everything at its face value.  You need to learn how to dig deeper if you want to find the truth.  I am very excited for the rest of this class and look forward to talking about Columbia Sportswear tomorrow.  Very interesting!

Week 10: Futures of Educaton

According to dictionary.com, the word Future is defined as “Something that will exist or happen in time to come.” I found this to be very fitting while discussing the future of education. The videos we watched this week all dealt with ways to improve our education system. Everything from hardware to data collection was discussed. Though each video was different in content, they all represent the reality of a changing education field.

My first year at Western Oregon University, I remember walking into the computer lab in the Admission’s Building and seeing these “thin clients”. I never truly understood how they operated until now. Knowing what I know now, I realize how desperately schools need to invest in this idea. Working where I do, we get the worst of the worst technology. The last two schools I worked at didn’t even have enough computers for a whole class due to size and cost. With the benefit of being cost effective and spatial aware, I feel that more districts will begin to move towards this idea.

However interesting virtualization is, I think many school districts will still be hesitant in ever implementing the idea. I am still a little confused on the whole idea after watching the video multiple times. What I understood lead me to think about the possible hazards of hackers getting into your online files. As a school district, firewall and security are one of the highest priorities. We can’t even download software like java and adobe sometimes due to authority issues. If school districts are going to move in this direction, they will need to find a way to make students records and files safe. Though I might be completely wrong in my assumption.

After watching the both videos on gesture based learning, I was not impressed. What I saw looked like a waste of class time at this point. If a student goes up to the board and messes around for 20 minutes in order to color a boat, I feel like I will have let that student down as a teacher. I realize this technology is in its infancy right now, however, I just don’t see the technology advancing fast enough to be applied in the next 3 years. I believe that there will be large gains but nothing that will change the face of education. I do believe that after a platform of application has been developed and improved upon, that this form of learning will be very beneficial. Just not right now.

Finally, the use of data collection is something I have been doing in my teaching since I started. The only way to form small groups and differentiate your classroom is by doing formative assessments and analyzing your results I agree that Steve Schoettler was correct in saying that our government doesn’t analyze current data, but in my naïve world, teachers already now this information and many are already applying it.

Learning is defined by dictionary.com as “The act or process of acquiring knowledge or skill.” Couple that with the idea that we are a community of forward thinkers we can begin to see why education is moving in the direction it is. The world as a whole is looking to the future through technology goggles and education is just tagging along, trying not to be left behind.

Week 9 Social Networking Resources (Updated)

 Facebook

Facebook is an online social media which allows people from across the world to meet together and share ideas, profiles, videos and other media.  Largely aimed at social interactions, Facebook has been a hotspot for students to interact socially as well as academically.   This platform has been used by thousands of students to collaborate with each other on assignments or simply ask clarifying questions.  In some school districts across the nation, Facebook is not a banned program.  It is actually looked at as a solid way for teachers and students to stay connected on assignment details and content of all sorts.  One of the most common ways that Facebook is used at the high school level is through the use of closed groups.  Teachers create a closed group based on their course and upload documents as well as media associated with the content.  This gives the students the ability to comment socially and look to each other for guidance.   Students must be at least 13 years old to have a Facebook account however. Students demonstrate NETS-S #2 Communication and Collaboration when using this site because they are in constant collaboration and interaction with one another. Through comments and messaging services, students stay connected with each other socially and academically.

Everloop

Like Facebook, Everloop is another site where students can meet to discuss anything through shared content. The main difference is the fact that Everloop is geared towards 8-13 year old students and caters to students up to 15. This site is very safe and offers parents peace of mind when their students begin expressing interest in social networking. Though my theme for the week was Social Networking for High School, I chose this resource solely because I feel that we need to think about building a better social networking foundation. Due to this being a network for younger students, I believe they would be able to develop the skills needed to be successful when they reach high school; both academically and socially. Through the use of this website students would be demonstrating NETS-S #4 Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making and NETS-S #6 Technology Operation and Concepts. In order to learn and grow in their abilities, students will need to undergo a learning process which will require them to solve problems as well as make safe decisions. In order to develop their use of technology and more specifically the internet and its social networking sites, I feel they could get much need practice in a safe environment.

Youtube

Youtube is a great place for both educators and students. As an educator, teacher can create content and then make it visible to the masses by sharing it. Whether this is within a closed profile by invitation only, or public, videos created by educators can make learning mobile, interesting and accessible to all. As students, you can upload content in video form, which you may then share with your peers. This could be anything from a project, to a self-help guide, or just being social. It is all learning. Aside from being a great self-publishing site, it is also a great resource for finding opensource content. If you need a fun video lesson on 4th grade division, just type it in and see if your search results will fit your needs. Because Youtube is great for both students and teachers, I felt that it met both NETS-S #1 Creativity and Innovation as well as NETS-T #2 Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments. When the students create video from nothing, they are not only being creative in the thinking, but they are also beginning to inspire others to think in new creative ways. When a teacher is “practicing what he preaches” by creating and developing lessons through the same technology his students are expected to learn, the students will feel empowered and validated as learners and teachers themselves.

Schoology

This was a great find. I have been looking for a website which might offer an environment where students and teachers can stay connected with the added benefit of security. The first feature I found interesting was the signup process. In order to even see the site, you need to register not only yourself, but also your school. You must be then accepted into the group. Schoology offers many features which resemble Facebook. However, since Facebook is so public, it runs the risk of being a hotspot for harassment and unwanted images. Also, Facebook is banned in many school districts. Schoology offers students a way to connect with their classmates and their teacher in a safe way. Like Facebook, you can upload media and comment on posts. Students enter a space where only learning occurs. This site is focused on being school-centered. After you sign up, you can send your students a code. The only members are those who get a special code to join. Schoology could easily be linked to a class website and be utilized as a learning platform. Schoology helps student meets NETS-S #2 Communication and Collaboration by allowing them a safe place to communicate and collaborate with each other.

Twitter

Twitter is a social networking site which allows users to send text-based messages that are 140 characters or less. When I heard that Twitter was being used for education, I honestly felt disgusted. I starting to research why and how it was being used and have since had a change of heart. Twitter is an amazing tool if used correctly. This tool allows students to work together as a whole group while a teacher is lecturing. Students may post comments, thoughts and questions on a newly created account focused on the topic being taught. A very interesting method of using Twitter was as a parent connection tool. I am not big on updating every aspect of my life, but in the classroom, teachers can help parents stay informed on project due dates, upcoming event, or simply what is going in academically. These are just two uses. The website below shows 35 different uses in education. Since students are expected to understand how to use the internet and also the mobile technologies they use to interact with Twitter, I feel it meets the criteria for NETS-S #6. At the same time, I feel it meets NETS-T #3 Model Digital Age Work as well. By collaborating with students and parents alike, the teacher is helping to communicate through new technologies. Reinforcing the importance of technology’s role in education.

Twitter Uses in the Classroom

 

Week 9 Social Networks in Education Article Review

Article: Social Media: Why This Matters To Everyone In Education

Author: Daniel Clarke

Journal: The International HETL Review Volume 2, Article 8

Publication Date: August 12, 2012

What is social media and how does it effect us as teachers, as well as students? This article aimed towards defining social networking and the social media that it encompasses. The article stated, “Social Media is a collection of online platforms and tools that people use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media itself, facilitating conversations and interactions between groups of people…Social Networking is the act of connecting on social media platforms.” (Cohen, 2011) Students today have grown up around technology and consider online communication, sharing of ideas, self-publishing and collaboration to be part of their routines. Using social media has become common knowledge . One of the main reasons for this is described as the difference between “industrial media” and “social media”. While industrial media requires training and anchors itself among the intellectual elites, social media is free and requires no formal training or education. (Clark, 2012) Because students have begun learning how to use technology, and social media, at a younger age than ever before, we are beginning to see an influx in students who, by high school, have mastered social networking and all technologies involved.

According to Clark, there are three main phases of social networking in education. Phase One is aimed at helping teachers build upon their network of colleagues and help them to do collaborative research. Phase Two is directed at a teacher’s ability to deliver content through the use of social media sites like youtube, Khan Academy, iTunesU and others. However, the problem with this is that it is still mainly one-way communication from teacher to student. That is where Phase Three is so valuable. Phase Three focuses directly on the student aspect of social media. Through the use of videos, peer-to-peer learning, participation through Twitter, students blogs and more, the students begin to learn through two-way communication.

After reading this article, I couldn’t help but get excited about the future. Over the summer, I plan to create a classroom website. My goal is to use many of the tools which we learned about this term. One feature of my webpage is going to be a link to a safe and closed social networking site. I have looked a few kid-centered sites and found Everloop to be one of the best. Since I work with 3rd and 4th grade students, I feel that I will be able to get parental support due to Everloop being meant for students 8-13. Youtube is a valuable resource which I use on a weekly basis. However, I rarely use content I have created. In an effort to teach students the value of contributing to the internet and not always taking, I plan on uploading my own content next year in assignment video form. Since this will be linked to the website, students will be able to easily find all the content they need to work on assignments. This website is going to be a mixture of all three journal review topics: Flipped Classroom, Mobile Learning, and Social Networking. However, I feel that social networking will be at its core. Though I am hoping to utilize many of these social networking sites, due to age requirements and student safety, I feel that I will continue to be limited in what I can do. A final use will be to continue to work with teachers whom I don’t get to see regularly. I have been laid off three years in a row due to budget cuts and my start date. In that time, I have worked with dozens of wonderful people. Many of these people have far more teaching experience than me and it is sad that I only collaborate with them through email and phone calls. I feel that by creating a means of collaborating through social media, I will be able to improve my teaching and, in turn, help my students succeed.

Social networking is about creating. In order to create online, a student must exhibit knowledge of the systems and operations which each social networking site has. It is crucial when the student is thinking of which application to use or simply when they are trying to communicate with each other. For this reason, I believe NETS-S #6 is being met. NETS-S #2 is also being met. Students must engage in interactions and collaborate with each other in order to be successful while social networking. Not only that, but students must be able to interact with each other fluently. Students can learn how to do this through the use of social networking sites.

Cohen, H. (2010), DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.  White River Junction:  Chelsea Green

Clark, D. (2012). Social Media: Why It Matters to Everyone in Education. The International HETL Review. Volume 2, Article 8, http://www.hetl.org/2012/08/12/social-media-why-it-matters-to-everyone-in-education/

 

Week 8 Journal Review: Social Networks and Educaton

Title: Social Networking Cyber Schooling:  Helping to Make Online Learning Less Isolating.

Author: Michael Barbour and Corry Plough

Journal: TechTrends Volume 53  Number 4

Publication: July/August 2009

   In our society, there are many reasons for student drop out rates: teen-pregnancy, working full time to help support their family, inability to assimilate socially and many more not mentioned in the article.  

  The students described above make up a large portion of the students of Odyssey Charter High School.  In 2007-08, there were 1405 full-time students. OCHS uses a blended-learning model where students are on campus for four hours, one day a week, and do online coursework through course management systems.  Two hours are spent doing core coursework and the other two hours are spent meeting with mentor teachers.  Because the school was growing, each mentor teacher had 90+ students and began to get frustrated with their inability to meet with each of them.  This prompted two teachers to begin experimenting with social networking sites or SNS.  The goal was to improve the interactions  between teachers and students.  Though this was the goal, it turned into something far greater.

  OCHS was not instantly great.  In 2006, a teacher created a private-closed Facebook group for their online courses.  Their goal was to “meet kids where they hang out.”  Though the group was private and easily manageable by the teacher, the student profiles were not.  Enter “Ning”.  Ning is a website which allows the user to create a social networking site.  The teachers began experimenting with Ning and found it to be as useful as other SNS, without the fear of online security and safety.  Ning allows students to upload music and videos, have group discussion forums, create blogs and interact through profile sharing all while giving the teacher absolute control of the network and who can be within it.  The author spoke about Ning as a “Walled Garden” where unwanted individuals were blocked out, putting parents and students at ease.

  The teachers started out as individual entities housing just 60 students each.  This was not giving them the benefits they had hoped.  Seven teachers, from different subjects, then decided to  combine their course sites in what is known as the Odyssey of Mind group.   As the group grew, teachers began to see unforeseen benefits.  Where teacher-student relationships were once the norm, they began to see more student-student collaboration.  Students began creating, within the site, group tutoring, discussion boards, review pages and the added bonus of student independence.  By asking other peers for help, this freed up the teachers to meet with students who really needed help. 

  Students enrolled in online education, rarely get the social interaction which students in a brick and mortar classrooms receive.  By the end of the pilot year, 119 pages had been created within the site.  12 were created by teachers.  Through the use of Ning, the students of OCHS began building their own pages to discuss social issues as well as content.   This is communication.

  Within the article, Digital Citizenship was mentioned.  I found this fitting since it connects with NETS.  In order to be a digital citizen, you must exhibit a positive attitude towards using technology that supports collaboration, learning and productivity.  Since this site is centered in creation and collaboration, I feel that it encompasses NETS-S #5 Digital Citizenship.  Throughout the article, the authors spoke about the role collaboration and communication played in the success of the pilot project.  NETS-S #2 Communication and Collaboration states, SWBAT “interact, collaborate and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.”  The effectiveness of the project was based on how the students worked in collaboration with not only their teachers, but also their peers. 

  Ning costs a monthly fee.  At $25 a month for 1000 students, this seems to be a small price to pay for such a powerful tool.   Like OCHS, I would want to include parents in the development of this social network.  I have worked in Title 1 schools for almost 5 years and I have found that the parent involvement in the traditional or English Only strand is far below what it should be. There have been years where I have never spoke to some of the parents!  I feel that the presence of an online communication would alleviate some of the pressure of meeting with the teacher. In an era where  nearly one out of every two Americans owns a smartphone (Snider, 2012), communication through technology is slowly becoming the norm.  With this in mind, I have already spoken with my principal about the possibility of looking into Ning as a parent-student-teacher network, where all participants have one goal; helping our students succeed. 

Snider, M. (2012, 03 12). Nielsen: About half of all americans have a smartphone. Retrieved from http://content.usatoday.com/communities/technologylive/post/2012/03/nielsen-about-half-of-all-americans-have-a-smartphone/1