Blog #5

Blog Response #5

Title of post: Overt and covert messages in signs


Wes Fryer’s November 12th blog entry includes several photos that drew his attention.  One of them was of a newspaper headline that read, “Achieving Perfection.”  The paper article described a wealthy school district who had exceeded standardized test expectations for the third year in a row.  Fryer writes, “Did this test reflect student creativity or problem solving skills? Did this test reflect digital literacy skills? Media literacy? Any type of digital information literacy at all? Of course not. Yet the author of this article is calling that performance PERFECTION?!” 

My Response:

I was drawn to this photo (the newspaper headline) and its story because my C&I 212 group project topic was indeed No Child Left Behind.  As I prepare to present our digital story to the class tomorrow, I am again reminded that many of the topics covered by standardized tests reflect a very narrow view of what is important in an education.  If perfection in this case means that students have learned how to prepare for standardized tests, then yes, I would say that they had performed quite well.  I agree with your assertion that this is not enough.  If the purpose of public education is to prepare students to function and communicate effectively within our society, we must incorporate more technology into lessons, because it is through present and future technological tools that people will communicate in almost any career choice.  In order to be able to obtain a higher-paying job, students will need to familiarize themselves with a number of technological tools, as well as keep an open mind to learning how to use more technological and communication tools as they are developed.  Educators will need to find a greater balance between usable knowledge and pertinent test material in order to cultivate well-prepared students.  Thanks for including these photos and your comments.



Blog #4

Blog Response #4

Title of post: Playground Pain Limits Classroom Gain


Vicki Davis, with whom we have communicated during class, writes “A safe school with watchful teachers creates a good learning environment which then promotes excellence.” In her blog post, she talks about how educators must make students feel safe in their school, as well as on the playground. She asserts that a student can truly learn only when he or she feels safe.

My Response:

Ms. Davis,

You discuss feeling terrible while being picked on during youthful school experiences, and that you did not want to attend your reunion. Even though I was a rather quiet student, I was never picked on so badly that it still bothers me today. I felt rather startled when reading her post because she talks about safety in schools. I think many people make the naïve assumption that most school safety problems are present in dangerous neighborhoods where gangs and drugs are prevalent. Your post reminded me that each student needs to feel safe in the classroom, even if it means that they sense respect among their peers and can raise a hand to participate without fear of ridicule. Making students feel safe should be one of the first goals teachers work for at the beginning of their experience with a group of students. If that sense of safety within the classroom is not instilled from the beginning, there will be students who dread the class, its materials, participation, and interactions with other students. I think the best way to ensure students feel safe at the classroom level is to institute a zero tolerance policy for disrespectful behavior and abrasive language and conduct. Some teachers might believe that students are just “being kids,” but in reality, their behavior affects the well-being and attitudes of all the other students in a class. To be quite honest, I think we would hear of fewer and fewer cases of student violence and weapons brought to school if students were consistently assured of their safety and well-being in the classroom and on school grounds. Thank you for your reflection. I hope that those who read your blog can realize that ill-intended words and abrasive behavior can be some of the most harmful weapons in a classroom.

*My comment was not immediately available because Ms. Davis needs to approve comments before they can be seen. 


Blog # 3

Blog Response #3

Title of post: Mulit-Everything (I think it was a typo, supposed to be Multi-Everything)


Lisa Durff, a self-pronounced lifelong learner in the field of education, notes that, “Today's learners are best described as: multiprocessors, multimedia literate, knowledge constructionists/connectionists, visionaries who act on their visions, connected 24/7, impatient with delays.”

My Response:

I have noticed some of these trends in my peers and even in some of my own behaviors.  Since I am enrolled in an online course for the first time, I have found myself frustrated at times when my internet connection has been down and when people have not posted in the correct place or not on time.  As a transfer student, I have also found myself at times feeling disconnected from the campus, and find people that are listening to their iPods while reading text messages rather unapproachable for conversation or even a simple question.  I look down in amazement to note how many windows I have open at a time on my computer, and how I have learned to switch between them regularly and swiftly to compile information and graphics, all while listening to my music.  As a student who has grown up in the Information Age and has come to utilize many of these technologies quite readily (in fact, it is often expected), using these tools is second nature to me.  As a future educator, I am contemplating how to make the transition from a student to a teacher while utilizing multiple technologies.  It is my belief that students will become even more skilled at multi-tasking in the future, but I also wonder, how much is enough?  Will students become so entwined with multimedia aspects of education that they will begin to feel disconnected from their peers or teachers?  Also, I think it will be important to emphasize to students that learning is still a gradual process.  Because we are so used to instant gratification and high-speed internet, we often rely on the ability to find answers quickly.  Some subjects of study will require deeper thought and reflection, so that students might not be able to instantly “get it.”  I think this will be another unique challenge in my future classroom.

*I tried to post this response, but Lisa Durff’s blog makes it so that comments must be previewed before they are actually posted.  I tried to publish them under “anonymous” and it did not show up right away because comments have to be previewed, so I may have submitted it several times.



Blog #2

Blog Response #2

Title of post: Doesn’t Look Like Much


Clarence Fisher reflects on how he at first thought it could be quite interesting to have a video camera running at all times in his classroom.  Later, he discusses how he actually only spends a little time in front of the room, while the majority of his classes are busy at work on some kind of activity.  Therefore, he thinks that while it might be different to watch from an outside perspective, it might not appear that very much is actually happening inside his class.

My Response:

I think a video camera would be really helpful when particularly focused on highlights of a lesson, an intriguing class discussion, or to capture a presentation.  I agree that watching the entire business of an ordinary classroom might not be all that intriguing, but the use of video could be very useful for students who are unable to join the class due to illness or extenuating circumstances.  In high school, where kids are more susceptible to mononucleosis, this could be especially helpful in preventing students from getting too far behind in their schoolwork.  This could be utilized effectively by capturing a brief demonstration or lecture by the teacher, as well as student briefings or summaries about the material.  In this way, the students creating the video could be given another opportunity to learn the material as well.  The ill student could submit videos back, to be viewed by the class or just the teacher, so that they are still able to give a report, ask questions, and have a general sense of interaction with the class, even though they may not be physically present.  Also, students who might be tempted to fake an illness might prefer to actually be in class if, as a requirement of their sick leave, they must submit some kind of video.



Blog #1

Title: "How the Web Posted on the Web is Causing Talk about Spiders"

In describing a recent finding over which entymologists were buzzing online, Vicki Davis asserted, "It is great to embed oneself in things in the Internet, but we still need face to face observations, discussions, and research. It is important because only then do we get the whole story. The Internet is a reflection of sorts but may not give us the whole picture. And we must remember that."

My Response:

Ms. Davis-

I was first interested by this post because I recently graduated with a degree in Biology, and two of my favorite courses leading to this degree were in Entomology. I would love to have the opportunity to observe such an enormous web! I never thought that I would enjoy working with insects, but I am glad that I took the opportunity to do so.

I absolutely agree with your point about needing to be physically present, or that the Internet can only give us a limited view. I believe that in any case, we should evaluate various sources describing a story. Even though the Internet may be a great tool to show us things we could not possibly see otherwise, I also think that we should not rely on it because only part of the story may be shown or described. As a future science teacher, I hope to encourage my students to utilize the Internet to obtain ideas that interest them. However, I also hope to bring some of those ideas into the classroom so that the students may realize them rather than read about them. I believe it is also important to emphasize to students that the scope they view through the Internet is still limited, so that they may make critical evaluations of what they do find.

Thank you for putting this out there. I believe it was a very helpful reminder.

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