Equity in Technology Education

After watching the video on bridging the digital divide it got me thinking about how much we as teachers take for granted when it comes to the assignments that we assign which require the use of not only computers but the internet and the fact that not all of our students have access to these things.

I myself tend to forget that not all students have the internet and I was fortunate to go to a school system which provided laptops to all students. Since we had these laptops it was felt that there was no excuse for us to not do homework assignments which required the use of the internet. What they did not take into account was the fact that many of these students who did not have a computer to use did not have internet either. I knew many students who went to McDonald’s or Starbucks after school to use the free wifi to do the homework.

I think that schools need to either push for community wide wifi access or realize that it is not fair to assign a homework assignment which requires the use of the internet because some of the students just may simply not be able to do the homework because they do not have the means to. I know that after watching these videos that as a teacher I will try my hardest to take note at the beginning of the year and see if my students have access to the internet before I make the decision to use these assignments in my classroom.

I think that another point which needs to be made is the use of internet with elementary school children. Many children especially younger ones have strict rules and parents have may websites blocked on their home computers. It is not fair to ask these students to do something that their parents are not comfortable with them doing. I think that educators need to understand that while we are in a digital age that there are still limits on our students access to to internet and computers.

Inquiry Certificate

Here is my certificate from the Library of Congress showing I completed the inquiry training. I think that this approach should be more heavily used in schools because it gets children engaged in what they are learning and thinking on those higher levels not just retaining spit back facts that they will forget as soon as they finish the test.

library-of-congress-certificate

*for whatever reason it will not let me write my name on the certificate but I did complete it!

Digital Story — If You Make a Monarch Absolute

Here is my digital story that I made with photo story and pixlr.

All the photos are mine that I took while visiting Versailles while in France a few years back (I tried to use Louis to cover some awkward people in the background including myself). I wanted to use my own photos not just because of copyright issues but also because as a history teacher I feel like it is important to share pictures of my travels with my students particularly about places that we are learning about at that time. They hold more meaning if they are mine then if they come from google.

Part of what made me want to become a history teacher was the day my 10th grade history teacher showed me his pictures from Versailles and I told myself in that moment that I would get there someday and it was such an incredible feeling to stand at those gates 6 years later and I hope to bring that same feeling to my own students.

I used pixlr to edit the images and do some basic photoshop mostly with our good friend Louis XIV. I made the actual video in photostory and added music in that I created in that software.

I felt like this was a fun way to show my students Versailles and still teach the idea of what an absolute monarch is to them.

Brain Rules

I explored around the brain rules site and found the resources to be very interesting. I think that all the time we question why a student in our class does this or doesn’t do that and all to often we forget that everyone is wired differently and what makes one person tick might not another and vice versa. As educators it is our job to understand child development and to an extent the child psychology so we can understand how to interact with our students in ways that will actually get through to them. I found the sections on gender and attention spans exceptionally interesting as I am currently working at a camp and really struggling with keeping my kids focused and also I’m having a terrible time with listening and behavior with all the boys in my group. After going through the resources I completely disregarded the fact that the reason my boys are not as good as my girls is because they are wired differently and are simply not going to behave the same way.

Digital Learning 24/7

After reading this post I think I realize that I was rather ignorant of how much technology is actually being used in the classroom. I figured that not all that much had changed since I was in school and that students were using it here and there and they had laptop access in their classroom but not actually spending a majority to almost all of their day using technology.

Reading through the article there were several things that struck me.

For one, according to the survey virtual students are twice as likely to text message their teacher with school work questions then students who are face to face in a classroom are to ask a question. I think that we can all agree that we are more comfortable asking things and talking over text then even in a phone conversation and it is clear that this extends to learning as well. I mean if you are more comfortable asking Becky to homecoming over text why wouldn’t you be more comfortable asking Mr. Robertson for clarification on that homework assignment that way? He’s way scarier than Becky! If we have found a niche for students to ask us questions it would make me wonder if I should get a prepaid phone just for my students to text me on if they have questions.

Another point made in the article that interested me since I am looking into this area for my research methods class was that students felt more engaged when using technology then otherwise in the classroom. For my research I am looking into engagement and field trips and if technology is helping students so much and field trips are so expensive and hard to get approval for why not take advantage of virtual field trips and organize lessons for my students that way. So they get to visit the place and learn from it there and also do it in a method that seems to be working well for them.