Archive | March, 2012

Tech Task #10

29 Mar

For this tech task, we were asked to explore two similar yet incredibly different internet teaching tools: Edmodo and Schoology. Both tools have a Facebook feel where teachers can post assignments, grades, polls, and discussions for the students. I had fun exploring these tools with my class partner Rachel and feel that they could really benefit me in my future teaching career!

We first looked at the website Edmodo. Our first impression was how much it looked like Facebook! However, this website was much safer than Facebook because the student could only join the group with a code that the teacher gives them. It was a simple design which made it easy to use. We felt that this would be a better option for elementary students since it was simple and only allowed one teacher to the group. The parent option was also great; each parent would be given a code that would allow them to see their own child’s grades, due dates and school functions. (Although the students may not like that their parents have such easy access to their grades!) However, we did find it very hard to find the parent code which was hidden quite well! Over all, Emodo was a useful tool.

Schoology was similar to Edmodo, but a bit more complicated and it also offered a few more options. The best thing about Schoology was that it had the option to add multiple courses, which was something that Edmodo did not have. This is a great option for somebody in highschool or university who would have multiple teachers. We also liked how when joining Schoology, a guided tour was given so that we knew how to find a majority of things on the website. This was also something that Edmodo was missing. Overall, the other options such as getting codes for access and parent options were similar to Edmodo.

As an elementary teacher, I prefer Edmodo just because it would be a lot simpler for younger students to use. I also would not need the option of adding other courses since I would be teaching them the majority of the courses myself. I really think I could get some use out of this in the future, and the best part is it’s free!!

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Finland’s Education System

20 Mar

My friend who is also in education pointed out this video to me. It discusses the differences between the American education system and Finland’s education system. Now I realise that this video says nothing about Canada’s education system, but I found that Finland’s education system had some interesting points.

First of all, according to the video, Finland has no competition. This includes no standardized testing until age sixteen. Instead, it focuses on cooperation. The issue of no testing/grading also intrigues me because I am not sure how I feel about it. I do believe that in elementary settings there does not need to be strict grading systems in place, and I also believe that it is far more important to learn cooperation than competition. However, life is a competition. In the future, students will have to compete for spots in secondary education and for jobs. There is no escaping this. Perhaps a healthy balance of both is what society needs, but how does one balance competition and cooperation in an education system?

The second point I found very interesting is that children do not go to school until age seven. They stated that this was so that “kids could be kids” for longer. I do agree that these days it seems although children are pressured my media to grow up faster, but I also wonder if there are some cons to this system. First of all, I am questioning if this lack of pre-school and kindergarten pulls students behind academically. Secondly, I am wondering if students are developmentally behind socially. Pre-school often offers the first significant large group social interaction for children if the children are not in daycare. However, they must be doing something right if Finland is scoring top three in the world!

Lastly, I would just like to point out how wonderful it is that teachers are so well-respected in Finland. Without some of our wonderful teachers, where would any of us be today? My friend who is studying in med school was talking to me one day over Facebook chat. I told him how wonderful it must be to be a doctor. Not only is he looked so highly upon, but he also gets to save people’s lives! Then he told me something I won’t ever forget: he said yes, it is great to become a doctor, but he would have never been able to reach where he is today without the help of his teachers. He said what I am doing is important, and I believe it is too! I am so grateful that one day I will be able to be a teacher 🙂

Making Progress!!

20 Mar

Seeing that I have found it hard to sit down and learn Spanish on a daily (or sometimes every weekly!) basis, I had to do some creative thinking on how I could learn better. I decided that I have to multi-task! My res room has become a Spanish room. I spent some time making labels in Spanish for things around my house so that every time I pass them I am reminded of what they are in Spanish. For example, my room is labeled as el cuarto and my door as la perta. I also posted lists of words and numbers in places that I spend the most time. My mirror has the numbers uno tonoventaneuveon it so every time I do my hair I have to recite the numbers. This makes it a lot easier in this busy month to find time! I still do not know as much as I would like to, but slow and steady wins the race!

Here are some pics of where I posted the words around my appartment.

KONY 2012

7 Mar

“Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live”.

 

If you have Facebook, Twitter, or any access whatsoever to the internet, then by now I am sure you have at least heard about Kony 2012. If you haven’t watched the video yet, take a half hour to do so. It is well worth your time.

This is one of the strongest examples of the power of technology and media to make a difference that I have seen in a long time. In a matter of twenty-four hours, this video has blown up the internet and made the world’s most wanted criminal known to millions of people. It absolutely amazed me how powerful social media is. It allows us to join people around the world and take a stand through just clicking a few buttons on our computer. This awareness does make a difference. “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time is now”.

Of course there is some criticism on the issue. Wherever there are supporters, there are people who are against. I do agree that we need to think critically about this issue and if it is being taken care of in the most proper way, but there is one thing that we cannot deny: yesterday, millions of people did not know who Joseph Kony was. Now they do. This is because of the power of social media. If you would like to see a oposing view to the video, you can do so here.

What do you think of Kony 2012? Will you paint the night?

A Remixer’s Manifesto – Tech Task #9

6 Mar

A Remixer’s Manifesto raised many interesting points in my head, but this is the question that stuck out most to me: When you write an essay or paper you may quote other authors and cite those references. Do you believe we should be allowed to do the same with musicand video?

When it comes to the whole issue on copyright and copyleft, I am pretty clueless! The only previous experience I have had on this topic is downloading music off sites that I did not even realise were illegal until they were shut down. This video was surprisingly very interesting to me and helped me learn a lot on a topic that I did not know much about previously.

Even though the video did describe the copyright and copyleft situation quite clearly, it was still confusing for me to make up my mind on where I stood on the issue. Although I do see the benefits of sharing, the illegalness of the situation had been pounded into my head for so long that I thought it must have to be bad. Then a statement was said in the video that really made sense to me: Taking samples of music and video for a creative mash-up should be seen just the same as taking quotes from authors for a paper. As long as citations and references are made, it should be perfectly legal.

This statement made a light go off in my head! How different can these two situations really be? Taking a sample from a video or music is quoting the video or song just as a paper is quoting a book. The product, like an essay, is a totally new creative piece of work, but the sample referenced from another piece of work just makes the creative work stronger and the point the piece is trying to make clearer!

In the artist’s point of view, I would be flattered if someone used my music or video as part of their own creative work. Plus, I know that when I hear a recreation or mash-up of another song, I usually will look up the original to see the differences. Seeing that the clips would be cited, the artist of the song or video that the sample has been taken from should be getting even more attention to the original song all thanks to the new creative product getting made. It’s like free advertising!

In conclusion, I do not understand why using small clips of other people’s video or music to create a whole new creative work is penalized, but doing the same thing on paper is not, but rather encouraged. Not being able to se samples is just a money grab. This video was very informative. What I would like to see now would be a video on the other point of view and compare so that I can be fully aware on the subject. For those of you who want to check out the video, you can find it here.

Suing an Anti-Bullying Campaign- What has this world come to??

2 Mar

Recently 1500 students from BC and New York put together a video as an anti-bullying project. The video featured students from various schools in pink shirts dancing to Lady Gaga’s song “Born this Way”. Although you would think that most parents would be proud that their children are taking a stand against bullying, this wasn’t the case. According to Z99, two parents from Burnaby, BC are suing the makers of the video because Lady Gaga is an inappropriate role model for these kids to be dancing to. They also say that obese and anorexic kids are excluded from the video as are children that cannot dance. My opinion is that this is ridiculous. When I watch the video, I see children of all shapes, sizes, races, and dancing ability that are all having fun. The only thing they could have included more perhaps is students with disabilities. What do you think?? Is this video offensive??

Life as an Intern

2 Mar

On Wednesday night, I attended a presentation at the school called Life as an Intern. Even though I am only a second year and will not be taking my internship for over another year, my friend and I thought it would be valuable to attend. The presentation had six guest speakers, each whom had recently finished their internships. Although all of them had been educated at the University of Regina, each person had a totally different interning experience that they shared with us.

One thing I did not realise before going to this presentation was all the different opportunities people had to intern out of the province. One person had interned in England and another in the United States. Although I was very interested in this, I couldn’t help but wondering if it would be as helpful as interning in the province. One thing I thought that I would get a lot of experience in during my internship would be putting the Saskatchewan curriculum in use. If I happen to intern in a different country, however, I would not get practise using the curriculum I was taught. On the other side, it would be a good experience to see how schools in different countries were similar and different from ours in Saskatchewan.

A point that all the interns stressed on was making relationships in the school by becoming involved. They pointed out that as much as you might feel that everyone is watching your every move while you intern, they are not. They are busy doing things in their own lives and do not have time to watch you every moment of their day. Instead, you must take the initiative yourself to be seen in a positive light. Getting involved in afterschool activities and special one night events is a perfect way to do this, although they stressed to make sure that you pick one or two and do them well rather than try to do them all and stress yourself out in the process. Not only does this help you in the future to get a job, it also makes you closer to the children and staff and makes the whole experience more fun.

These are just a few of the many tips that the interns had for us. For those of you who are in your fourth year and have already interned, do you have any more advice??