Facebook Creating Problems for Schools

Minnesota Student’s Facebook Incident Could Help From Schools’ Guidelines

This article describes how students are being punished by school districts for posting comments about their schools and/or teachers on Facebook. A student in Minnesota was suspended for posting a comment about her teacher. When she got in trouble the first time, she got detention. After her second offense, she was suspended. The article begs the question whether students should have the right to their free speech when they are on their own computer after school hours or if the school district should be able to restrict their comments.

Q1: What is your opinion of the issue in the article?

Answer 1: My opinion is that while everyone has the right to free speech, as provided for by the First Amendment, it should excuse the fact that some comments may be hurtful and cause for concern. According to this article, “Currently, most schools base decisions on when to punish students for online comments on a 1969 Supreme Court case, ‘Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District’. The case, settled 35 years before Facebook even existed, allows schools to curb students’ off campus First Amendment rights only if their speech constitutes a threat, or causes a major disruption to the educational process”.  I agree with this statement, however, I believe that the phrase “major disruption” needs to be clearly defined. For example, if a student posts a status on Facebook about her teacher using a few derogatory words, is that a disruption to the educational process? This is exactly why the 12-year-old girl was punished last year, according to the article. I believe that while Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District was a ground-breaking case that created new laws concerning technology, there need to be new laws created to keep up with the rapidly advancing technology of today’s society.

Q2: How will the issue help or hinder student learning?

Answer 2: This issue may not help or hinder student learning drastically, however, it is important that the student’s learn proper Internet etiquette. Aimee Bissonette advised that “schools should make it clear students will be held responsible for what they write online, on and off campus”. It is also important to remember that the students are taught what is appropriate, and what is inappropriate to write online. Raising awareness will help accomplish many things. First, it will teach kids that they need to respect the school district. Also, cyber-bullying may be drastically reduced.

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Lack of Internet Access Affects Low-Income Students

Many Low-Income Students Struggle with Lack of Internet at Home

This article presents another issue created by the so-called “digital divide” that is occurring throughout the nation. Many families in Central Florida are unable to afford Internet access and it is creating an issue for students at local schools. According to a 2011 Scarborough Research analysis mentioned in the article, “11 percent of Florida households with school-age children still lack Internet access”.

Question 1: What is your opinion of the issue in the article?

Answer 1: I feel that the issue in the article is a large one. I am aware that access to technology is largely growing, and that in a few years, a large majority of the population is going to have equal access to at least the minimum amount of access needed in order to complete school assignments, however, this transition stage needs to be treated with more care. A student’s socioeconomic status should not affect his learning potential.  In Ocoee Middle School, Principal Sharyn Gabriel stated: “The digital divide is not because students lack devices. The digital divide stems from the lack of Wi-Fi.” While this may be true, it does not make the matter any less serious. There were many students in the article interviewed who said that they had to go to a McDonald’s or a Starbucks in order to receive free Wi-Fi so that they could turn in assignments because oftentimes, the computer labs at their schools or libraries were too crowded for them. There was also another student interviewed who said that his phone allowed him Internet access, however, reading information from a 4-inch screen strained his eyes. On another note, while I can see that the use of electronic textbooks could be more valuable, it also has it’s downfalls. Every student can gain access to an actual textbook, but not all students can access digital textbooks, and if there’s even one student who is not able to get Internet access, therefore limiting his/her learning potential, that’s one student too many.

Question 2: How will the issue help or hinder teaching practices? Why?

Answer 2: Even though this article is set in Central Florida, it still applies to many other areas in the United States. Wherever I end up teaching, I will take into account the fact that not all students may have easy access to Internet. I will work with these students to see what I can do to help. As an Elementary teacher, I believe that this will affect me less than it would a High School teacher, as most of the assignments I will assign will be done in class with a computer readily available. However, if any of my students wish to be able to use the Internet for other learning resources and do not have access from their homes, I will provide them with alternate technology sources. I will also be sure to remind them that libraries have books with a great amount of information, as many people these days seem to forget about.

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Teachers and Twitters

Education Department Wants Tweets From Teachers and Students

This article explains the idea that Twitter can be used to aid teachers and effectively be a means of direct communication for students, as well as parents, and community members.  It basically states that the Department of Education hopes to use Twitter in order to provide teachers, students, parents, and anyone else who may be interested, a chance to play a more active role in the Department’s decisions.

Question 1: What is your opinion of the article? Agree or disagree? Why?

Answer 1: I agree with the ideas in this article. I think that it is fantastic that the Department of Education wants to involve the community in their decisions. It will definitely help the students feel like they are playing an active role in their education.  It is great to know that the DOE wants to hear the opinions of those they affect with their decisions. One paragraph in the article states, “Briscoe points out that the DOE doesn’t use Twitter to drive policy, but rather, to gauge what different people across the country think about education policy.  The Twitter conversations are similar to a good dinner table conversation, he says, where a friend will offer suggestions that may have no been on your radar.” Another thing to consider is that by using Twitter as a method for communication, the DOE is helping to incorporate technology in classrooms. It also helps to show students and their parents that technology can be used to their advantage and that they have the power to make a difference in the education system.

Question 2: How do the news, issues, and trends relate to other issues or theories you’ve learned in this class or other classes?

Answer 2: I have not learned so much about the use of Twitter in schools in my classes, as I am going into Elementary Education. While it is still important to incorporate technology in Elementary Education, I believe that this article is more geared for the high school education department. However, my good friend is going in to Secondary Education and he brought this idea to my attention a few months ago, as he had learned it in one of his classes. He explained that by using Twitter, teachers make themselves more accessible to the students.  This seems to be the same idea that the DOE is aiming for. Since a good majority of the U.S. population is already on Twitter, they will feel more comfortable asking questions and stating their opinions. Accessibility is key.

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Does Computer Technology Affect Learning?

Computers in Schools: Money Well-Spent, Concordia University Study Says

This article shows a study that was done to show whether or not computer technology has a positive impact on student’s learning. According to the article, a 40-year retrospective study concluded  that classrooms where computers were used had a “small to moderate positive” impact on learning and student’s general attitude.

Q1: What is your opinion of the issue in the article?

Answer 1: Personally, I am not the biggest advocate of technology- in or out of classrooms. However, after reading this article, I realize that my personal opinions should never affect or hinder my future students’ learning. I was glad to see that Schmid had said, “If the technology is used solely as a content provider- for example, if iPads are used as alternatives to books- then there won’t be any positive impact”. I believe that children should know what a book is and how it works but lately it seems that technology is about to take over the book business. This article does, however, show that students are able to test better, by using headphones to block out noise. I believe that this is extremely important, as testing is different for every individual student.

Q2: How will the issue help or hinder student learning?

Answer 2: As stated previously, this article proves that computer technology does in fact help students, if not only by a little bit. After reading this article, I have realized that it is important to have technology readily available to students who may use it to their advantage.

Q3: What limitations or criticisms of the idea are important to consider?

Answer 3: A specific limitation is the fact that the teachers need to stay ahead of students in their knowledge of the technology being used. For many, this requires additional support to teachers who need the assistance with the newest technologies. However, overall, it is important to keep updated technology in the classroom to provide each student with an equal opportunity for learning.

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This is my trial blog

The 4 Keys to a Successful Online School

Q1. How will the issue help or hinder student learning?

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