What’s With All This Face-Tweeting?

The internet has always been a large part of my life. I always had a computer at home and was always playing the most popular online games

Picture from club penguin website
r3beccaf Flickr via Compfight cc

such as webkinz and clubpenguin. I grew up with a life recorded on video and often go back to watch my younger years. I am not shy to social media or posting and I believe growing up with the technology acclimated me well to the world we live in today.

I am always amazed at how trends or people can become viral. My slightly jealous side wishes to experience the 5 seconds of fame that the internet allows. Such as in Michael Wesch’s video when he describes the success of the song Crank That which started out as a homemade song made by a regular person. This song went viral and soon Soulja Boy Tell’em was a household name in music.

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Participation has never been easier. The internet allows for everyone to join in whatever way they can or want. The world wide web has no boundaries and is not monitored by government or police on a regular basis, which means that the dark web is an unavoidable part of the internet. Aside from that, the internet can be a great resource in the classroom. We no longer have chalkboards and boringly long lectures, the new technology is smart boards and personalized learning.

I’m hoping that with a steady increase in technology that personalized learning will become the norm. Instead of everyone learning the same topics, groups can branch off, research, and present their findings easily through powerpoint to their classmates.

I plan to be a driving force in education as I teach my future students all about technology. Instilling the belief that you are no longer a hidden face on the internet and that kindness and acceptance should be extended through all areas of life is very important. The citizenship of the internet was missing for my generation, but I will not allow it to be missed for the ones coming.

In lecture we talked about “How do we capture the spirit of open, networked & participatory communities in our learning environments?” I believe that in order to accomplish this we must:

  • Having an open and honest conversation about the risks and benefits of the internet will help incorporate the positive aspects of cellphones and computers into the classroom.
  • As a teacher, facilitating areas online that extend from the classroom is important – such as having a class blog, twitter, individual accounts on learning sites, and participating in online discussions.
  • Ensuring that each person within your class has a positive experience online. Fearing the internet will not get you very hard in this fast moving world, and fearing change will never amount to progress in this area of the classroom.

Whether you can remember the invention of the microfiche or grew up with a 3D printer in school, we all have a lot to learn about successful participation in the internet. Ensuring that future generations get educated exposure to the internet is crucial to the advancement of the world wide web in the classroom.

How do you incorporate technology into the classroom? Leave your answers in the comments below!

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Just Another SuperBowl

Of all the reasons to dislike the SuperBowl, mine has to be the most ridiculous. Upon looking at my schedule I found that the only evening I would be available to participate in my very first twitter chat this week was Sunday. But this was no regular Sunday – it was Superbowl Sunday.

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In my first attempt I checked over 15 different education twitter chats to find them either not active or postponed a week because of this massive celebration of masculinity and entertainment and those oh-so talked about commercials. I eventually connected with a fellow EDTC300 classmate who was going through the same struggles as myself. We chatted for a bit through twitter and decided to come back for the next time slot to try another round of chats.

After spending an hour watching Justin Timberlake’s much anticipated halftime performance sans Janet Jackson I returned to the internet once again. It was at this time that my classmate from earlier notified me of a twitter chat that was going to begin at eight. I set #blogchat as my paste option and readied my newly created tweetdeck to watch the action.

The beginning was slow and the community on this chat was tight. It felt as if the step by step instructions from class had been thrown out the window. There were no questions. No moderator. Just a bunch of people who were using the same hashtag to communicate. All at once I was astounded. Partly because of such a clever use of technology, but mostly that I had been completely oblivious to the significance of twitter.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m still confused as heck when it comes to tweets, retweets, and tweetdeck, but I now have an appreciation for this world that I am struggling to be a part of. The information I learned from this chat may not have been the most useful, but I sure did learn a lot about netiquette. I had never before been a part of an internet conversation. I had never experienced the thrill of connecting with complete strangers online. Up until this point I maintained a very reserved social footprint, but this chat opened my eyes to what I was missing.

In a world where real life connection is suffering, the internet fills the gap. The relationships that can be built online are just as valid as the ones in real life. Twitter chats themselves become the boardrooms and the staff meetings. Instead of being

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Photo Credit: Ars Electronica Flickr via Compfight cc

limited to the people in the room to share your ideas with, the entire world is at your fingertips. This creates a sharing of knowledge like never before. Information can be shared, discussed, and transformed like never before. I can’t wait to continue exploring the internet and how it can help me in becoming a better educator and a better citizen.  

Have you ever participated in a twitter chat? Tell me about your experience in the comments?

Feeding My ‘Feedly’ Addiction

Feedly Logo
AJC1 Flickr via Compfight cc

Feedly has changed my life in the best way possible. It has all the blogs, articles, news, and information that I could ever ask for, and I can tailor it to my specific taste – yes please! I had no idea that apps like Feedly, which bring together all the sources on the internet into one convenient space, even existed.

My Feedly Homepage
My Feedly Homepage

I used to begin my mornings reading the likely fake news I managed to find on Facebook, but now I turn to Feedly where it houses the articles I want to read. Not only does it replace my morning and night social media cruises that I would take daily, but the low data usage allows me to browse through articles on the bus.

The first few days with this amazing app were spent with strictly education and technology based blogs and articles filling my news feed. I was scared to venture out into the endless possibilities that were just waiting to be read, but with a very small selection of articles on my home screen I decided I needed to include my other interests in life on this app in order to have a better experience. Once I discovered LaineyGossip could be available at the simple opening of an app I fell down the Feedly rabbit hole.

One of the first blogs I followed, partly because of the name, was Cool Cat Teacher Blog. The title was quirky and the articles were relevant to a future teacher who would be in a regular classroom one day. The articles are both optimistic and obtainable, and also realistic. The problem I have with many teacher blogs is that they get so personal on the classroom and the resources available to the teacher that the tips and ideas given are often not applicable to my life as a future educator. What’s great about Cool Cat Teacher Blog is that the ideas and theories presented are not complicated and can easily be modified to fit different age groups and schools.

Another source that I find very useful to follow was Buzzfeed. This one was more for personal entertainment, but I believe that it is important to peak all your interests in as many ways possible. I enjoy Buzzfeed videos, I love taking Buzzfeed quizzes, so why not add reading their entertaining mind candy articles to the list. Staying relevant in the world of pop culture is just as important as reading educational material. After all, just because I’m becoming a teacher doesn’t mean my personal life has to die.

Teaching in the 21st Century

Staring at the computer screen my mouse hovers over the submit button. A bead of sweat forms on my forehead and I almost chicken out. All I had to do was submit the codes for the classes I wished to attend in the coming winter semester, yet one class in particular contributed to most of my nerves – EDTC300. Since my academic advisor had brought up the idea of taking a fourth year education elective in my first year due to unavoidable circumstances, a pit of dread had formed in my stomach. I had believed that classes at this level would hold me to insurmountable standards that a first year pre-service teacher would never be able to handle.

photo of technologically advanced classroom. Each child has a handheld device while the teacher uses a smart board.
Photo Credit: evolutionlabs Flickr via Compfight cc

My stress and uncertainty can be affirmed by my first ECS Professor Katia Hildebrandt who read through my pitiful emails and somehow found the right words to encourage me to take the class. Now I find myself in one of the most exciting and riveting classes I have ever taken. It has only been the first week, but I can already feel that this class will aid me in exploring the uses of technology in the classroom as well as delve deeper into myself as a future educator in the twenty first century.

Being a first year pre-service teacher has its advantages and disadvantages. An advantage being that my memories of my past teachers struggling to use a smart board or attempting to create a coherent powerpoint are fresh. These cringe-filled moments allow me to learn from their mistakes, as well as engage in technological initiatives in my classrooms and placements. A disadvantage is that I am in the early stages of transitioning from the ‘student who was on their phone during class’ to the ‘teacher that utilizes phones in the classroom’. I have much to learn as far as educating and engaging students in the classroom, but feel that my plethora of experience using technology will aid me in my future as a teacher.

I can still remember the many classes I have blogged in before. I had made too many accounts that have since been forgotten. Despite the encouragement from my teachers to continue blogging, I was never taught how blogging could aid me in the future or the benefits to having such a creative outlet in writing. Looking back now I wish that I would have taken more of an interest in blogging.

The idea of blogging being an actual requirement for the Education faculty makes me excited that such opportunities are being taken to improve teacher experience in the classroom. I feel that by the end of this course I will have a better understanding of how to utilize technology productively. And what better reason to blog as a teacher than what Brian Crawford says in his article Five Reasons Teachers Should Start a Blog, “There is already a large community of teachers out there who are blogging – sharing classroom ideas, posting links to free and paid curriculum, and meeting other educators from around the world.” I can’t wait to continue blogging after this class is over and well into my career as an educator. As the teacher community continues to grow and connect, I want to be a part of it.

As the teacher community continues to grow and connect, I want to be a part of it.