Students are in charge

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The image (right) shows what a visitor would first see when entering website. It explains that this site is not meant for legal advice, but instead it is meant for educational purposes.

I decided to explore GOOD… a magazine for global citizens. On this website, I looked through the various education articles and stumbled upon “New App Helps Boston High Schoolers Fight for Their Student Rights”.

This article was about how students in Boston have created a website and phone-based application that gives students a list of their rights while in school. Now, some of you may think this is a pointless app, but I think it is phenomenal. Instead of not knowing your rights as a student, the Boston Student Advisory Council set out to make a student friendly app that explains every right a student has in a language they can understand.

When I was in high school, I had no idea what the policies were regarding my phone, speech in the classroom and discipline rights. But, with this website and application students can quickly look up a question that has answers in easy-to-read bullet points.  I don’t necessarily think there is a huge problem with administration and faculty abusing the policies when it comes to disciplining students, but the article mentions how the website helps address the important issues of students being pushed-out of schools due to suspensions or expulsions and not returning, even if they’re allowed.

What a great way to show that students care and are using technology to benefit themselves and their peers!

Below is the link to the article:


Crashing the Digital Gender Divide


I watched Bridging the Digital Divide and Black Girls Code: Crashing the Digital Gender Divide, as well as read the Huffington Post article “Digital Divide is ‘Major Challenge’ In Teaching Low-Income Students, Survey Finds”. Both videos and the article had great insight into what the digital divide is and how it has affected the low-income population.

When the termDigital Divide is used it means that there is a divide between people who are using technology and those who are not. In the Black Girls Code video Kimberly Bryant, who is founder of the Black Girls Code foundation, discusses how her organization is trying to alter the use of technology in education. In the short video, Bryant did a good job explaining the lifespan of computer scientists and how she is getting African American girls involved in computer science field. It is great to know that there are various studies, resources and organizations available that help students  work towards a great career and  decrease the digital divide. As a teacher, I plan to teach my students about these foundations for them to learn about the career stereotypes and the many resources that will benefit them.

It is important for me to keep in mind what resources my students will have outside of the classroom. At the beginning of the year, I plan to do a survey about technology access at home. If I assign homework that involves the class watching a video or using the internet, I need to know exactly how the students will be able to get their homework done. If a student doesn’t have access to internet, I do not expect them to go to a restaurant or public place like McDonalds, Starbucks, or a county library- instead, I need to make a plan with the student about a time to get their homework done that won’t interfere with their non-academic time during school, like recess, lunch or specials. I need to plan my assignments wisely based off of what access my students have. It may also be a good idea to create alternative assignments for students who do not have complete access at home or provide free work time in class where students can use the available resources to get assignments completed ahead of time.

It is essential that I have a good understanding of my students background and what they are interested in outside of school. Who knows… maybe I’ll have the next Steve Jobs in my class!? But, in order for them to find their passion, I’ll need to provide them will a variety of tools and opportunities!!




Black Girls Code: Crashing the Digital Gender Divide

Other links:

Digital learning: all day, every day

“learning at its best is a 24/7 enterprise”

This article, Digital Learning 24/7, came from SpeakUp, which decided to do its annual research project to try and better understand the trends around students’ use of technology and how teachers, schools, and communities can serve the learning needs of today’s digital native learners.

In a lot of detail, the article discusses the research that was found about students’ use of technology in schools. The technology in the research ranged from ones own device, school provided laptop, school provided tablet, school provided chromebook (not quite sure what that is- or how that differs from a laptop) and mobile devices.

Though not shocked by a lot of the research, I did find it helpful. I agree with the article about how now learning isn’t just a “during the school day thing” instead, it is a 24/7 all day, everyday “thing”. People of all ages can learn anytime, any place. And, no longer does learning have to be in the classroom during school hours. Because of the internet and resources, learning has grown to be through the media that surrounds us. Like the article says, we have to understand technology and enhance learning in the lives of todays students.

There are many styles of teaching, but I believe blended learning is a style that is used well, if done properly. For those who don’t know, blended learning is a style of learning that provides students with a mix of traditional learning as well as self-paced online learning that allows students to explore and be more creative. I enjoy how blended learning is a mixture and and benefits children who have many different learning styles. I plan to use blended learning in my classroom during the opportunities that I think will greatly benefit my students.

I also believe that because technology is 24/7 and all around us, we need to use it to our advantage. The article states that students are more engaged when using technology, so in order to keep up their engagement we, as teachers, will need to evolve how and when we use technology for education. Instead of always using the same program, I plan to use various programs for different purposes.

I appreciate how this article looks at different forms of technology and different ways schools utilize it.Like technology, my teaching style will always be moving forward and changing as years go by. It’s important to me that I continue to grow as a teacher and learn how resources can continue to benefit myself and my students.


Math class needs a makeover- TED talk

Dan Meyer says every day he has to sell a product required for people who don’t want to buy it. (ie: high school math) This TEDxNYC 11 minuted video gave insight in how math class needs a makeover and exactly how we should attempt this.

No longer does math class need to be from a textbook and world problems, instead it needs to be practical. Meyer spoke about the “5 symptoms were doing math reasoning wrong” and goes into detail about how students are impatient and want quick results.

Meyer’s 5 symptoms-

Students everywhere:

  1. lack initiative to learn
  2. lack perseverance
  3. lack retention
  4. have an aversion to word problems
  5. are eager for a formula to apply to something


Nowadays people, not just students, vie for quick and efficient responses. This can be seen in text messaging, “one-click” buy on amazon, next day shipping, and even some fad workout regimen “loose 2 inches in 5 days” . People are expecting fast results and don’t care if they’re learning along the way, they just want the answer.

I agree with what Meyer discusses. Instead of focusing on word problems in textbooks, teachers need to focus on making math practical. Like Meyer does, we need to make a word problem real and use visuals that students will understand and learn from. Many times, word problems have excess information that isn’t needed so it’s important to take away all the “fluff” and only use what is necessary and key to finding out an answer. I think children will be more willing to learn and more likely to remember the information if math becomes more approachable.

To allow our students succeed we have to redefine what math is and how we use it. Like Meyer states, we’ll need to use multimedia, let conversation flow and allow students to explore. It is important to take what Dan Meyer talked about and utilize it in a way that will make teaching more powerful. I believe there is not much of a point to teach a topic that students aren’t able to retain and gain from it in one way or another.


You should watch the TED talk too!!:

Podcast Review

Our assignments before next class was to explore different articles about a flipped classroom (like this and this). Before reading the articles I had never really heard about this method of teaching. I suppose I’ve heard of teachers sending home videos for students to watch as homework and coming to school the next day with questions about the videos, but I never knew there was a way that taught kids lessons outside of the classroom then practice during school!

Because of my new found interest for this topic, I chose to listen to a BAM! podcast about teachers deciding to flip their classroom. Flipping Your Classroom? Do This, Puh-Leeze Don’t Do That is the first of three podcasts that discusses the mistakes and steps to fix these mistakes. The podcast, created by Jon Bergmann, is part of theFlipp side radio station.

In this podcast, about 5 minutes long, Jon says mistake # 1: not taking time to teach your students how to watch a video properly. At first, I thought this was silly- of course every child knows how to watch a video! But then Jon started making me wonder… do children know how to watch a video for educational purposes? Most kids can watch any movie or video clip, but don’t necessarily process it. So, Jon says that in order for students to be able to properly watch lessons at home, they will need to practice in school. In order to do so, the teacher will need to follow these three steps:

  1. Watch a practice video in class with everybody paying attention. While watching this video, show students that they can use a pause button.
  2. The next day, show students how they can interact with the video, while answering related questions the teacher poses or pausing and rewinding as needed, as well as making sure to take notes.
  3. The following day, the teacher must watch students interact with the video on their own. Jon says this day is important because teachers never see how kids take notes since they’re always the ones busy teaching the lesson. But, if a teacher is walking around to see how a student is taking notes then the teacher will be able to help the student organize and pick important notes to write down.
  4. Continue to repeat day 3 until the teacher feels confident that students will be able to take notes on key information in order to make them successful!

The next two podcasts explain other mistakes that a teacher makes when they decide to flip their classroom.

After listening to the podcast and reading this article about Enhanced Podcasting I think I would like to give podcasting a try. If I were to do podcasts in my classroom I would include pictures and interaction, as opposed to the BAM! podcast that was just talking. Luckily, the podcast I listened to wasn’t very long but I could imagine myself getting off track if it was any longer. If my mind wanders easily with just listening, then I’m sure younger students’ would too. It’s important to try different methods of teaching, and mix things up every once in a while, so I’m willing to give podcasts a try at least once!

Exploring new resources!

This week, I chose to research the website BigHugeLabs and I found it to be such a GREAT (and free!) resource! I’ve never heard of this online resource so I looked into because I thought it would be a website all about science… but it wasn’t! It is a website that can be used to create anything using photos!

From what I understand about the website it uses your photos that you can upload or use through your flickr account to create anything from calendars, motivation speakers, movie posters, magazine covers, and even ID badges for your students. This definitely seems like a great website to keep in mind when I have my classroom full of students. I can imagine that many educators and students love this site because it allows the freedom to create anything you want starting with choosing the color scheme, font, and pictures you add in.

BigHugeLabs also has a section about education that explains that teachers can create accounts for their students by registering them so they can sign in without using e-mail addresses. Students can also send their teachers their work directly from the site, which would be great and easy way for teacher to directly get students work without losing where it is stored!

I’m really looking forward to playing around this site more and finding cool ways to add it into my lesson plans. I think students would be just as excited as me to be able to add their pictures into their own creations!

Here’s the site if you want to look around too:

Scott McLeod talks at TedxDesMoines

Before recently I had never really been into watching TED talks. I’m not much of a technology guru and never cared to learn more than what I already knew. But now, after watching multiple TEDx videos I feel inspired and in awe of the people that present at the conferences.

In this video, Extracurricular empowerment: Scott McLeod at TedxDesMoines, Scott McLeod shares numerous stories about young adolescents who have chosen to turn to the power of technology. The main child he focuses on is Martha from Scotland. One day, Martha decided to created a blog and share her school lunches with the world. Each picture had a scale from 1-10 about how healthy each meal was and the “food-o-meter”, as well as the pieces of hair found in each meal. This turned into a viral sensation where people across the world were sending Martha pictures of their lunches. By Martha sharing her thoughts on her school lunches the school council finally decided to make tastier and healthier lunches.

This was just one story Scott focused on. The rest of the stories were about inspiring “curious, confident, enthusiastic, and self-directed” kids from around the world choosing to use technology as an extracurricular to spread what they love.

I enjoyed how this quick video informed me that we need to find a way to bring technology into a classroom without being afraid of what it will teach our students. Instead of letting technology control us as a society, we need to focus on the empowerment it can bring to individuals of all ages. It is truly inspiring to watch school-aged children spreading their wings and finding what they love to do, and making something of it, at such a young age.

Generation Like

“You are what you like” 

If you’ve never watched the PBS Frontline episode Generation Like I highly suggest you do. This 53 minute episode, that premiered in February 2014, looks into the social-media obsessed generation. These young teens aren’t just about facebook, instagram, and twitter. Instead, they are obsessed with how many “likes” or “rewteets” they can get on a post. The episode talks about how kids are striving to become “social media famous” aka recognized for what videos or pictures they put up on websites and how much attention it can receive.

I find it interesting that the use of internet has grown so much in the last 12 years. Before, the internet was used as a place to e-mail and research questions, but now it is used as a place where you can create a digital identity. The many social media websites can be used as a place for kids to tell their group of followers what they think is cool and show their true self…. because heaven forbid they show their peers what their true self is while face to face!

Because the internet is constantly evolving and becoming a place that kids of all ages are using all the time I will need to use this knowledge when I have a class of my own. If I have a comprehension of how children use social media and the internet I can be prepared for when I have my own class. Aside from adding the internet and technology to lesson plans, I will also be able to use the social web as a way to get a better understanding of my students. (For example, if a kid is quiet in school and feels more comfortable using the social web as an escape then I can use that as a way to connect with him/her on a more personal level.)

I know that teachers are in school to teach students but I think it is important for me to understand my students and become knowledgable about their likes(literally; not in social media terms), dislikes, and what they do outside of school. If I can learn more about my students through the internet then I can use that as a way to get them more involved in school and gear lessons towards what they enjoy as individuals, as well as aim to support them inside and outside of the classroom. It will most certainly put me at an advantage if I learn about “generation like” now before I have a classroom that is even MORE apart of social media!

Image result for social media icons

Happy schooling!


John White’s Digital Visitor vs Digital Resident video

“Will it come a time that having thousands of twitter followers will be what it takes to move up on a career latter?” 

-John White

Before I get into John White’s video let me explain what a Digital Visitor and Digital Resident user of the internet is:

Digital Visitor-someone who uses the internet as a place to look up videos or facts, possibly communicates with friends via e-mail, but does not view the internet as a social happening or connection.

Digital Resident-a person who views the internet as much more than a place to find a quick answer, they think creating connections with people all over the world through social networking is a way to develop a digital identity


Now, how does understanding how children use the social web prepare us for our instruction in the classroom?

First and foremost, I think it is important to understand that children come from various backgrounds. Whether it be culturally or technologically, I need to remember that my students will have a different grasp on technology before using it in the classroom.

On the other hand, children now are able to learn more quickly about technology than any core subject they learn about in school. It is crucial to understand that children who use the social web are not inept and can quickly catch on to technology resources.

This is all important in understanding that children that will be in my class will most likely have a big social connection on the internet. I think by knowing this, I will be able to use that to my advantage and try to empower my students and build on what they already know. If I appreciate the fact that students use the internet as a digital resident then I can gear my lessons to be more interesting to the students by using various social apps, websites, and resources available. I just hope my students don’t understand the internet and its resources better than I do!!!


Happy schooling!