Monday, May 6, 2013

Digital Citizenship Inside 8th Grade

What is so great about digital citizenship, anyways?  What exactly IS it?

Well, digital citizenship happens to be a very important part of society, for young and old.  It is the mannerisms of the internet, the etiquette of the online cyber world.  Just as we have a certain way we are supposed to behave in the real world, there are certain ways we should behave online as well.  Mostly, these rules are for our own sake, to keep us safe from online predators, viruses, and, most prominently, bullies. Not only does it protect us from such dangers, it also is for us to expand our knowledge and learn how to appropriately interact with people online.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Learning to Unlearn

While reading the chapter, Learning to Learn in our book, I started to think about how the classrooms I've been in have all been set up.  Many were the classic rows upon rows of desks with chairs with the chalkboard or whiteboard up at the front.  Sometimes the desks were grouped into groups of three or four to promote student interaction.  Nevertheless, in the chapter, it talked about learning to unlearn the traditional ways of arranging a classroom.  Just by simply rearranging the classroom in a different way may increase a student's ability to learn better, concentrate better, or interact better in the environment.  Also, teachers tend to think that all the information that needs to be taught to a class come from textbooks.  This is not necessarily the case.  In their article entitled, "Learning to Unlearn: Transformative Education in the City", Mieka Ritsema, Barbara Knecht, and Kenneth Kruckemeyer all explain how the outside world in general (and cities most specifically) can be a great tool for teaching students a lot about what they need to know.  This can shatter a traditional barrier for teachers in the classrooms, and would perhaps better interest the child because a city can be very relatable.

Not only does learning to unlearn apply to the arrangement of the classroom, but it also applies to the ways the student learns.  In order for the student to change (or in this case: unlearn) the way they learn, there are three types of knowledge they must develop to enhance professional growth.  The first knowledge is knowledge for practice. An example of this is when a trainer shares information that educational researchers have produced, more so like a "sit and get" experience than anything else.  This lays the groundwork for gaining expertise and gives you something to share in networks and communities.  The second knowledge is knowledge in practice.  It recognizes the importance of educator experience and practical knowledge for improving practice.  In other words, the knowledge of practice is the "try it out and see if it works" phase of knowledge construction.  The only way to acquire this knowledge is through experience and a type of trial and error.  The third knowledge is knowledge of practice.  This knowledge suggests a "systematic inquiry" in which teachers and leaders rethink their studies and how they can improve them.  They are constantly asking questions about their new understandings.  This allows for students and teachers alike to expand their knowledge to surpass that of the classroom setting and think outside of the box, so to speak.  By learning to think with this process, it will better help us to unlearn what needs to be unlearned.  We must reevaluate everything we need to better acquaint ourselves with in the future for the students, as well as for ourselves as the teachers.

All in all, though, I believe that because our world is so rapidly improving itself with technology and information, that we have to constantly stay moving and keep revamping the way we do things.  Technology is not going to wait up for us while we figure out what we want to do.  We have to stay up to date with different technology, different techniques, new and improved products that will help us to be better teachers. That is why unlearning what we already know to learn about the new stuff that we need to concentrate on is a good idea in this society today.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Interactive Whiteboards in Today's Classroom

Interactive whiteboards (IWB) in the classroom are things of the present and future.  Technology has changed tremendously throughout the years, and, as we all know, will continue to do so.  Interactive whiteboards have been rapidly integrated into classrooms all over America in the hopes that they will make learning more fun for the students, and also engage them in beneficial activity that will increase test scores and overall classroom performance.  I believe that IWBs can be beneficial if used properly.  Effectiveness of the board is dependent upon whether the teacher knows how to use it, and if they allow the student to interact with the board in a way that will positively, personally affect them.  However, if not used appropriately, the "interactive" whiteboard might just become another board to write notes on that students will have to look at.  That is why it is entirely important for the teacher to first become accustomed and comfortable with the board before utilizing it in their classrooms.

As a high school graduate of McDowell High School, I can personally attest to that statement.  A few of my teachers had gotten SMART Boards set up in their classrooms.  It was so intriguing at first; all of us students were so curious about this new gadget that we were mesmerized and, therefore, paid close attention.  As time went on, though, we all seemed to lose interest in the new technology.  Why had we lost interest?  Better yet, why was this high tech, highly expensive device not helping us as well as our teacher said it would?  The answer was found by observing the way our teacher used the SMART Board in his classroom.  He boringly projected notes off the screen, typed, wrote words with red ink, and monotonously recited the notes aloud to us.  There was no interaction with the board; there was no difference between the class with the SMART Board and the class without it.  This is an example of the interactive whiteboard becoming just another boring, old whiteboard.  

A different teacher of mine used her SMART Board in an entirely different way. She had students get up from their seats to almost teach a lesson to the class themselves and use different settings on the board to do so.  All the students had fun playing around with the SMART Board.  It also made learning very differentiated.  Each student was able to create a lesson and present it in a way that they most benefited from.  It also helped the teacher gain a little more knowledge about how each one of her students studied, learned, and interacted with classmates, new information, and new technology.  

I believe that there are very different views on interactive whiteboards; there are pros and cons to each view.  On the one hand, IWBs are very nice, easy to use, and are interesting to the eye.  On the other hand, if not used correctly or effectively, the board just becomes yet another boring tool for teachers to use to project notes off of.  It is the teacher's job to, first, understand the technology in order to exceed the interactive whiteboard's potential to help students.  Second, they must make a lesson that will engage students and allow them to try out the waters of the IWB.  Third, they should make the lesson FUN and entertaining.  No student wants to sit through lecture for an hour and a half (although sometimes we just have to).  I feel that, through these three easy points, IWBs could make a huge difference in education alone.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


The past couple of classes, we talked a lot about differentiation. What is differentiation?  More importantly, what does it mean to me as a future teacher?Differentiation is realizing there are many types of students one can have in a classroom, and it is a teacher's job to tailor instruction to meet the individualized needs of the students.  This can mean many things such as a student's way of learning, how they learn, and their abilities as far as the content goes.  There are many things that can be altered to help children learn to the best of their abilities.  Whether it's a change in the learning environment, the process, products, or the content, there are many factors that play into a child's education.

I have experienced differentiation in the classroom before.  It happened a lot in high school, where a teacher would tell us to get computers, and we would all work at our own pace.  It was great because each student could almost teach themselves the concepts, but also have the teacher close in case they had a question or needed help.  It taught us how to be independent.  A way to tailor instruction in the classroom for differentiation would be students working together in groups.  Each student can say their input and feed off of one another's ideas to create a learning environment that best suits all the students.  Another way teachers can incorporate differentiated lesson plans is by having one of the students teach the class a concept.  For example, if one student is a tactile learner (meaning he learns by writing down information and doing physical activity) and a teacher allows him to go up to the board to write and explain aloud his concept, then the visual and auditory learners in the class can learn from the student's demonstration.  The student is also learning because he is writing down and physically teaching the class.  It is a win-win situation for all the students; plus, it's fun for them, and it mixes it up.

I feel that technology would play a huge role in classroom differentiation.  As stated above, when my fellow classmates and I went on the computers, we could all work at our own pace.  Technology allows us to expand our knowledge how we need it done in the most personal and interesting way.  It makes learning more diversified.  Smart boards are a great way to help students learn differently.  Drawing on the board itself helps visual learners and incorporating movies and videos help auditory learners.  There are many things that different types of technology can do to help us prepare the future generation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Twitter and Me

Yesterday, the class and I took a quiz via Twitter.  It was an interesting experience to say the least.  It was different than what most people are used to in their regular classrooms when taking quizzes.  At first it was a bit confusing, but once we started everyone started to get the hang of it.  

Before this class, I had a personal Twitter account, however, I never used it, ever.  Using Twitter in SEDU183 has definitely expanded my knowledge of the site.  I, personally, would prefer to not use Twitter a lot, only because it still confuses me, but I do enjoy getting to know how to use different technologies in the classroom.  Dr. Smith would tweet a question that he would like for us to answer, and everyone tweeted their two-cents.  After seeing everyone else's answers, my partners, Meg DulionLindsey Downing, and I used Facebook to communicate to each other what we wanted to write down officially on our quiz documents. It was a lot of fun using the different social networking websites to take a quiz.  Here is what went on during our Twitter quiz-time.  

Although Twitter seems to be permanently linked to being only for personal, and social uses, I do not believe that to be entirely true.  I feel that teachers could use Twitter, and maybe other social medias, to help their students learn the content subject as well as how to use technology inside and outside of the classroom.  We must utilize the new technology that have been presented to us to our advantage and teach/prepare our students for the future where technology is forever changing.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Final Frontier

The past couple of classes, Meg DulionLindsey Downing and I collaborated together to come up with a presentation geared towards teachers who are not sure whether they want to incorporate technology into their classrooms.  I enjoyed working with these two ladies because we all fed off of each other's ideas, and got the presentation done in a orderly fashion.  Using Google Drive was a great experience because it allowed us to use new technology (at least, for me it was) and work with new people.

By reading the article, "Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration", we gathered enough information about how teachers really feel about new technology.  According to Becker, the author of the article, there are four reasons why computer integration is seen as valuable and successful and are as follows: (1) teachers "have convenient access", (2) teachers "are adequately prepared", (3) teachers "have some freedom in the curriculum", and (4) teachers "hold personal beliefs aligned with a constructivist pedagogy" when they have direct computer and other technology accesses.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All About Me

Hi, my name is Megan Trinh.  I am 18 years old, and I'm from Erie, Pennsylvania.  I am a second semester freshman here at Edinboro University, and I am a secondary education math major because I love math.  I know, odd.  I have two little brothers named Brandon, who is 16 years old, and Justin, who is 9 years old.  I graduated McDowell High School with a 3.99 GPA last year, which I am very proud of.  I am also a member of the Robert C. Weber Honors Program here at Edinboro University.  I am addicted to Diet Coke, which I know is bad for my health. I have an extreme phobia of thunderstorms, which all my friends and family make fun of me for! I also have an extreme phobia of spiders, but let's be honest, nobody likes those disgusting 8-legged creatures anyways.

This past semester, I modeled in a fashion show.  It was a lot of fun and a lot of work.  I went to practices every Sunday for 3 hours, just walking in high heels to perfect our walks.  The show was a huge success!  I saw a few of the models trip down the runway (which looked painful), but luckily I didn't trip or fall!  The clothing was all so exotic and different from my own style of clothing that it was fascinating to see the outfits that the designers put together.  The practices were brutal, so to speak, but all the models had fun.  I would do it all again if I could and am hopeful for another opportunity to do a show.  One of my favorite designers is Jad Ghandour.  I love him for his chic and suave designs, so here is a link to one of his shows!

I believe that incorporating technology in teaching is a great way for students and teachers alike to keep updated on our world's constant changing.  It is what connects us to the outside world, and I think that it is a necessity to have an understanding of our society's technological ways.  Learning about technology can be quite difficult because of the fact that it's always changing.  

I believe that teaching has to be a passion.  One cannot simply just want to become a teacher for the 3 month summer break, or the weekends off; they must want to become a teacher to teach children everything there is to know about a given subject.  Children are the future generation, and it is our job to prepare them for the future.  As stated before, it is critical that you have a passion for teaching, and for being around children for long periods of time.  As for me, I love children, and I love teaching.  I've taught a whole classroom of kids on my own twice in my life for a long period of time, and I absolutely fell in love with it.  Filling a child's brain with knowledge and answering their questions so they understand it is, to me, the greatest feeling.  When they "get it", it's the best feeling in the world...and that is why one should want to become a teacher.