Cell Phone Use in the Classroom

http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2012/07/5-reasons-to-allow-students-to-use-cell.html

This article is pretty absurd in some ways. First off, I don’t like the tone of this article. It doesn’t come off friendly, it comes off demanding. It is almost like, DO THIS  OR YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON. Or maybe I am being a bit dramatic. The first of her five reasons for students to use their cell phones is because she says it prepares students for the future. While I do agree that many students will use their cell phones for businesslike things when they are 22 or older, they are not using their cell phones for these things when they are in high school. I do think that students should be allowed to use cell phones to look up things during class but if we want to prepare them for the future with their cell phones, then they need to be taught these skills that they will most likely use in the future. The other issue I have with students being taught these skills they will use in the future is that they will probably have zero use for those certain applications or programs on their phones until they are 22 and will need to be retaught those skills again. 

Her next point is about how using cell phones can save money for schools. While I do believe that if students can use their cell phones for research it can help alleviate the lack of devices in schools, there needs to be acknowledgement that not all students can afford a cell phone. Also, the other issue is that most schools do not give students their WIFI passwords because students use that internet access to search the webs during classes. I think that there should be a time and place to use these phones in school. 

The author’s third point was that teacher’s should encourage students to collaborate and stop calling it cheating. Okay, I will be honest. THIS ONE REALLY GOT ME FIRED UP. How naive is this lady?? Students cheat constantly because of cell phones!! It is so disrespectful to teachers and the effort they put into teaching. I think that the use of cell phones can be very beneficial to students when they forget homework or when they are working on group projects and a student can’t be there so they FaceTime. This lady is out of control thinking that teachers need to encourage student’s collaboration but thinking that they won’t cheat using their cell phones. And second, she says that students don’t need to learn facts and recall information but I’m sorry, yes they do. If you want students to be able to learn grammar and historical facts, the students need to be able to apply this information or recall it during test. Students need to learn about history and the best way to gauge what students learn is through recall. Now recall does not have to be tests and can be other forms of assessment that are more stimulating and fun. 

She mentions how it is a double standard that some administrators use iPads around students but students can’t use their devices. Well….I’m sorry but they are administrators and not students so they can do whatever they want. Staff members get to use the bathroom without having a hall pass but that doesn’t mean that students should be allowed to go without one either. There needs to be a clear distinction between those who are in charge and the students who follow rules. I don’t think the author should look at this as an disrespect to the students but if the county does not have the funds to give students iPads then I am sorry, that is just how it is. I don’t think that administrators are using iPads in front of students and thinking, “HAHA Look at me I am so much bigger and better than you because I have an iPad.” No they are using them because their work has to be documented on computers and sent to administration buildings whereas student’s work does not. 

Her last point is one that I can actually agree with. We as teachers (TO A POINT) need to teach students how to safely use technology. Students need to learn how to not plagerize their work and to not post things that will get them in trouble. The reason why I say it is teacher’s responsibility to a point is because I think much of that responsibility belongs to parents. Parents need to teach their children from a young age what is good and bad behavior online. The students need to realize that posting pictures of themselves drinking or smoking weed can haunt them for the rest of their lives. This should be a combined effort between parents and students and should be seriously addressed in schools today. 

Tweets to Think About

I came across this tweet and decided to read the article. I think it is crazy that they want to start testing kindergartners with IQ test and various other qualifying assessments. These children haven’t even started learning how to read or write and you want to assess them?? These kids need the foundations to learn before you can assess their knowledge on things. Just very interesting, check it out for yourself!!

This article was about pre-school and kindergarten suspensions in charter schools in DC schools. While I do agree that little kids are learning lessons of what is right and wrong, I think there is a line and that some situations do call for suspension, no matter how young. Recently, I saw a video of a kid at a daycare that was beating a little girl secretly. Not only does that kid deserve to be suspended, but he deserves to be spanked and put into counseling because he is obviously not right in the head. But what if a pre-schooler is hitting other classmates? Should that not be means for suspension? The article does state that bodily harm and drugs/alcohol/bringing weapons would be means for suspension. I think sometimes these kids just need good disciplining at home for things they have done but sometimes you don’t get that support at home so how is the kid going to learn? It is a tough situation of trying to teach the students but to not exaggerate over situations and punish the kids or lessons they can learn from their parents.

This post is a bit more personal. I worked at Broad Run the past 3 years as a substitute teacher and I was also a student there about seven years ago. This is wonderful that they got 250 NEW LAPTOPS!!! Honestly, one of the biggest complaints is that there are not enough computers or that they are entirely outdated and old. This will be so beneficial for the upcoming school year and I am so happy that the Broad Run community is finally getting some updated technology!

Speak Up 2013

The article Speak Up 2013 speaks volumes to the growing use of technology and how much/or little it is being used in the classroom. One of the first things that caught my attention was the chart about teacher’s use of technology in the classroom. It said that 75% of high school teachers have a website where students can access information. On the opposite end of the chart, it says that only 35% of high school students have devices provided to them by the school. This seems so contradicting to having an online website. I think ALL teachers should be required to use this website. It alleviates so much stress. All makeup work and all assignments/test dates are posted so students have zero excuses to not have their work turned in on time. It also allows students to study powerpoints for tests because you can post them after you give the lecture in class. This also allows students who miss class to complete the notes at home and be ready to take the test next time they are back at school. Now the problem with NOT having computer provided to all of these students is that there are many low income students and ELL students who do not have internet access or a computer at home. It seems useless to have 75% of teachers using a website to post information but then not provide students with the technology to access it from. Having taught ELL,  I think that teachers should be required to use their schools websites to post their classroom information and that students (especially the ones without a computer or device at home) should be provided this piece of technology.

As the article continues, there is another chart (I like charts, it categorizes information for me so I can understand everything being said) about students using technology for school purposes. Now I am going to call a big BS on the fact that only 75/73% of girls and 66/60% of boys use technology to communicate about school work. Students are constantly connected with each other and if you are telling me that only 2/3rds of male students are texting their buddy about what the homework is or what they missed in class, then you are a bold face liar. Now I can believe that students are probably not skyping each other about assignments but I like to believe that students use their cell phones and computers to interact with their group members more than this article lets on. Also, I believe that students are not using facebook as much either because when I mentioned Facebook to my class of junior students they laughed at me like I just mentioned listening to Miley Cyrus on a record player. I made a mental note at that moment: “Do not mention Facebook as a means of communication. You will be laughed at and mocked.”

As I continue reading, I am starting to doubt the credibility of this article. I just laughed outloud and then yelled “bullshit” again at my computer. (Sorry for the bad word hehe). You are fricken kidding me if you say that 21% of k-2 students have a personal cell phone. I want to have WORDS with those parents. WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? Don’t come crying to me when little Johnny finds out what a vayjayjay looks like accidentally when you are not watching him on his cell phone. Sorry, I am a bit beyond myself right now. I’m starting to think they interview a school full of celebrities’s children. Just kidding….kind of.

As I continue reading this article, I do see some of the greatness and weaknesses of technology. On a high note, it seems that for the most part, parents, teachers, and principals tend to be on the same page. Sometimes the students seem to be there too. I think that if the adults can learn more about technology and safe and controlled ways of implementing it in the school, then students should be allowed to access it. I think much of where students want more freedom over their technology is because they are thinking more for the social aspect but saying they will use it for school resources. I do believe that cell phones should be allowed to be used in the classroom SOMETIMES when students are doing research and there are no computer labs or laptops available. I also think that there should be more programs set up so students can access information and assignments from teachers and their schools. Students said they want a way of communicating with their teachers 24/7. Now that seems a bit intrusive and excessive but I think that if a teacher gives out their email address that students should be able to email their teachers and get a prompt response. Teachers never stop working really but they do deserve to have a day off. They are people with lives too. Which I know many students forget.

Overall, this article was shocking. There was so much information I disagreed with but then there were statistics that I thought were pretty accurate. I think what it really shows me is that teachers/ administration need to adjust their technology rules while students need to work on controlling what they use their internet for while they are at school. I also think that it speaks volumes that students want to use more technology in the classroom. Teachers need to rise to what the students are asking and provide them with ways they want to learn. If you give them what they want then hopefully they will learn new information through these technological methods. Technology is a a give and take and the use of it in schools can slowly be changed by the teachers who want to and the generation that is being taught to be teachers now.

When I plan my instruction, I will be sure to add technology into my unit so that students have the access to the methods they want.

Podcast or bust

I just listened to a podcast about “The Only Thing A Principal Needs to Know.” I wanted to listen to this because I have seen principals in action and I always try to see the good stuff they are doing. But I always here my co-workers complain and constantly say, “It’s like they forgot what it was like to be in a classroom.” This guys talks about how the one thing principals should NEVER forget is what it is like to be a teacher. They need to remember this because they need to base their decisions off of how it will affect the teacher and the students in their classroom.

After listening to this podcast, I questioned whether I would ever use this method. I think for a college classroom setting, it is fabulous. When I was in college, I would have loved for my professor to use this tool because I would lay in bed, eat cheetohs, and listen away to a lecture. And if I missed any important information or fell asleep then I would play it again. I personally have mixed feelings if I could use this tool in my classroom. If it was something I implemented on a regular basis then perhaps I could use it and my students would actually listen to it. I just honestly don’t think that high school students have the maturity or discipline (well NOT all high school students) to take time out of their personal life to dedicate to school work. You are probably thinking, “Well don’t they do that with homework?” At the school I was at, every student had a study hall. The students could do their homework during that hour and a half. There is very very limited computer space anywhere in the school so most kids would be forced to do this at home. When many students do homework at home, they are either in front of a computer or TV. I also think it creates too large of an area for students to use excuses. “Oh my computer wasn’t working” “My internet was down” “I broke my computer” etc. etc.etc. I think it would just add more stress to my life trying to incorporate these strategies. This is only my personal opinion. I think this method can definitely be used by some teachers and might work great for certain areas or schools. I just personally do not think I could make it work. 

Escaping Education’s Death Valley

I want to begin my post by apologizing if I seem out of focus but I JUST GOT ENGAGED LAST NIGHT! So I am very excited and my mind is going a million miles a minute. My parents are in town from Florida only for a few more days so I am trying to figure out things while they are still here since they live so far away BUT ANYWAYS we are here for EDUCATION. On to what we all came for….:) 

 

I watched a TEDtalks conference given by Ken Robinson. First off, I love his accent. You can tell me to do anything in a British accent 90% of the time I will obey. Ken goes into explaining three CRUCIAL areas to avoid for a successful education program. First off, he begins with bashing “No Child Left Behind.” Despite my political views, I think that this program does promote conformity and hinders many areas where students can thrive. My mother has been a music teacher for almost 20 years and she was a music major in college. My mother does not thrive in many academic areas- perhaps just history would be her other subject- but without music, my mom would have been lost in school and college. She is a brilliant music teacher and singer but none of this could have been measured by such tests. It’s when we look at the Multiple Intelligences model by Howard Gardner that we realize that so many students have so many strengths in areas that are not measured by the standardized tests and students can be so amazingly smart in certain areas. 

Ken also made a great point about ADHD. I believe ADD and ADHD are so overly diagnosed these days because parents don’t want to take the time to deal with their kids or don’t know how to deal with them. They just pop an adderoll or ritalin in their mouths and send them on their marry way. “You’re telling me that a six year old doesn’t like to sit still during a 30 minute math lesson?? HE MUST HAVE ADD!” Blow it out your a…..I won’t finish that sentence but you catch my drift. That subject gets me SO heated. ANYWAYS, BACK TO KEN…..

As he continues, he talks about children having creativity. If you eliminate focusing so much on standards then you can focus on activities and having teachers actually teach instead of worrying about test scores. He says that governments focus so much on fine tuning the system to make it perfect so that it seems like no one can fail but all it does is create limits and hinders the creativity which allows students and teachers to thrive. Governments are not focusing on these abilities and these conditions so we are losing out on so many students who do not graduate from high school or do not excel in certain areas. This man is wonderful and makes so many amazing points. He uses a metaphor of death valley that it in fact is not dead but it is dormant. There is a possibility for things to grow and change and live. This is the same thing that can happen in areas where schools do not do well on the standardized test scores. You must change the culture of the area. You have to give it life and excitement. You have to give it new tools and new ways to look at the world and the information given. Then maybe these schools can grow from the “educational ashes” and spring possibility and success. 

“It’s not a mechanical system, it’s a human system” Amen Ken.