Frontline- Digital_nation

This video was very interesting to watch because I have very mixed opinions on this subject.  Can we actually multitask?  I, along with everyone on this earth, believe that I can multitask well and keep track of everything I need to.  However, I did once hear from a professor that multitasking is not real and it can not be done like we think.  This idea of multitasking in this sense has come from this new digital age.  Technology has made a huge impact on the lives of every type of person.  However, technology has created distractions for students, teachers, and others.

I think the idea of this “different world” mentioned in the first chapter of this video is insane.  We shouldn’t have to label our technology use as being in a different world.  Even though I do believe this is what it feels like, we shouldn’t give in to the social media and emails to the extent of making it a different world.  One of the men in the video described wanting to be able to press pause on the show of life.  This can’t happen.  Technology makes us become so caught up in what is happening in the moment and on our screens, that we can’t see what the result is.

A student in the video mentioned that over half her life exists in the virtual world.  This is very true for most people now.  This doesn’t necessarily have to be a horrible thing though.  The virtual world is a very convenient place to store documents, schedules, emails, pictures, etc.  This is why people may say over half their lives are in the virtual world.  It is just how our society has become, and that is okay.  I believe we have to evolve with the technology that is growing.

Going back to multitasking, the students and professors at MIT have very different view points on this subject.  The professors explained that because of all of these distractions, they arent using the most effective way to study or learn.  One of the professors stated that he believes students are doing themselves a disservice by giving in to this multitasking world. On the other hand, the students said that the professors should accept that they are “fully” capable of multitasking and keeping track of everything.  Overall, I believe that we do need to find a way to “multitask” with the virtual world, however we shouldn’t give in to its distractions (especially while learning). We can’t hide from this “world” that is here/coming, we have to embrace it and fit it into our lives in a way that doesn’t cause distractions in a terrible way.




Useful tweets

Over the course of this summer I have kept my eyes out for tweets that really stood out to me.  A few of these include:

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This tweet included a colorful document with 8 phrases that are very uplifting and positive.  These were very influential to read for myself, and also for students to read.  I love finding positive sentences that I can apply to my life.  I want to be an influential teacher to my students and this is one resource that I can use.

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The two tweets above I found to be helpful tools in the classroom.  The first “50 Questions To Help Students Think About What They Think”, is a great resource to bring into a classroom for more in depth thinking.  This could be helpful for elementary school classes, as well as secondary, because these students may not know how to think critically or deeply yet.  This set of questions can prompt their thinking. The tweet underneath was a poster that helped distinguish between editing and revising skills.  This is something I will definitely be keeping and bringing into my classroom if we are using these skills.  The tweet led me to an awesome poster with a chart on these two skills. I love finding posters and tips, and these two really stood out to me.

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The last tweet I included is one I just came across.  I am very interested in learning more about differentiated instruction and this was useful for me to read!  I am starting to gain more knowledge on this topic, and this resource gave me more information that I had not come across yet. The site that this tweet took me to was short and sweet.  It got to the point and gave me the information that is helpful!

Flipped Lesson

Here is a look at my first flipped lesson we made for class!  I used Powtoons (which I would completely recommend- if your computer isn’t miserably slow…).  I added my voice through Garageband.  The process was time consuming but pretty easy overall!

Here is a worksheet that the students will have to fill out and bring in to class the next day

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Should cell phones be used in classrooms?

A hot topic right now is banning or allowing cell phones in schools.  I read an article “5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class” by Michael Soskil.  Let me start off by saying I already disagree with the title of this article.  Before reading the rest of the article I put a few thoughts of mine together… Even though people can make many points on how smartphones are useful in classrooms, they are still a distraction when it all comes down to it.  There are traditional aspects that still belong in the classroom and smartphones will completely eliminate these.  Technology is important to incorporate in the classroom but there are numerous other ways this can be done. The following are my thoughts on their 5 reasons why cell phones are useful in class.

1. The points they made on smartphones being almost crucial in all careers is true, however this doesn’t mean that they should be used in class.  If a job requires a calculator to be used, students should learn how to use calculators.  Having a calculator on a smartphone will just be more helpful and convenient in the future or at home.

2. Their second point was pretty valid.  If schools are having budget cuts maybe they should look to allowing the students’ to use their smartphones in class. However, this may also be difficult if some students don’t have a smartphone or even a cell phone.  This could cause more problems.

3. Tests of recall may not directly prepare students for what lies outside of the classroom, but everyone must still know this knowledge.  Students still need to learn the content and recall information in order to pass through the grades.  Cell phones may be a good way for students to collaborate with each other but this does not mean that they should be required to do this in class.  I believe that cell phones are starting to take away the face-to-face contact, and having them in school is proving this even more.

4. Instead of completely allowing cell phones in a classroom, maybe teachers can incorporate computers and iPads more often so that their students can learn how to use these tools.  Administrators using iPhones or iPads is not exactly a double standard because students are supposed to be learning or listening, not using their iPhones all through class.

5. This point I do agree with.  Teachers are a great source of teaching students how to be “safe” with their technology.  With that said, it does have to be in the right situation or atmosphere.

Overall, I don’t think that cell phones should be completely and strictly banned from schools, but I do believe that they shouldn’t be a main aspect in the classroom.  Technology should be incorporated and there are many other tools that can be used that dont involve having cell phones out in class.  I think that allowing students to explore on iPads or laptops can reach the same focus that they wanted with smartphones.  Having smartphones out and openly allowed in class can cause so many distractions because of the personal aspects involved in them.


We should look at this resource to get tips on using iPads and technology in the class!


“The New Digital Learning Playbook” – how are students learning with digital resources and tools?

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I just read a recent and very interesting report on technology use for students, “The New Digital Learning Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations” from Speak Up 2013 National Findings. People often talk about how children growing up now are “digital natives”, however this report stated that there are a lot of differences between these children in terms of their use and aspiration for technology. I thought this was a very good point because every child is different in what they know how to do with technology and if they are even interested in it to begin with. Some of these students don’t even have access to internet or any technology. This report looked at surveys that answered the following questions: How are K-12 students currently using digital tools and resources to support schoolwork activities?, How are K-12 students currently using digital tools and resources to enable out of school learning activities?, and lastly What are K-12 students’ aspirations for using digital tools and resources within new innovative learning environments?

The surveys showed a lot of interesting information regarding technology use among all aged students. They found that these students are manipulating and modifying the standard use to meet their individual learning needs. Some things they use are online textbooks or online tests. As a teacher I feel like these aspects would be very useful and convenient for students and teachers as well. If you give students more options, such as the opportunity of technological devices and resources, they are more apt to learn in the way that is best for them.

One thing that still blows my mind is that these students are getting into social media and social networking at such a young age. A lot of younger children are starting to have their own mobile devices, either smartphones, tablets, or laptops. The report stated that girls are more into social media, probably because of the social aspect. The report explained that these social networking sites are enabling students’ learning outside of the classroom. By having access to technology, students can text their classmates for help, find videos online to help them, skype or ichat with classmates, or even use facebook to collaborate on projects. I never really looked at social networking as a means to education but the more I learn about it, the more I realize we should use these tools to help our students succeed in a way that they can engage in. One thing i’m not quite sure I agree with is that these digital/multiplayer games students play have learning benefits if they’re used in schools. I guess I will need to be exposed to more of these games to see their actual use and benefits, especially in the classroom.

Overall, even though each child is different in their experience and skills with technology, we should incorporate the beneficial aspects into the classroom to pursue interests and success. By allowing our students to use technology in the classroom, teachers can monitor what they’re getting into and help teach them the safety aspects of the internet that they may not be learning at home. Schools should provide school-wide internet access and the ability to use mobile devices so that these students can use those tools for their individual learning. The report stated that these are the top aspirations for the “ultimate school”. Teachers should expand their technological knowledge to help students learn socially with these new digital tools. The opportunities are almost endless, and schools should be the place to take advantage of that.

“Collective Learning” -“The history of the world in 18 minutes” by David Christian

I watched this Tedtalk called “The history of our world in 18 minutes” by David Christian.  I wasn’t really sure what it was going to be about before watching it but it turned out to very interesting.  He started with the question, “how does the Universe make complexity?” The answer he stated was “with great difficulty”.  He explained that through history there are these certain threshold moments.  These moments mean that the complex things are getting more fragile and it is more difficult to create complexity.  At this point in the video I was still confused on how we were talking about the history of the world in 18 minutes but then he started explaining these threshold moments from the beginning of time.

David Christian started with the beginning of time.  There was nothing, no time or space, it was pure darkness.  Then he moved on to the next threshold moment when the universe appeared and now there were fundamental forces and matter. He went through the big bang, gravity, and the formation of the solar system.  However, then living things emerge. Something he talked about was the Goldilocks conditions for life.  These included: the right amount of energy, diverse chemical elements, and liquids.  The Earth was perfect at first because of the vast oceans and amount of liquid water available. DNA started to create and duplicate itself through the ocean, however there were imperfections and errors that are necessary to diversity and complexity.  From here we have an evolution of different living things. It turns out that when the astroid destroyed the dinosaurs, it was great news for mammals.

Christian considers humans as another threshold.  This is because of our DNA and how we are able to learn.  We are blessed with our communication and how we are able to share everything we have learned so that it will live beyond our human selves.  He calls this “collective learning”.  We are the only species in 4 billion years to have this quality.  We are able to creatively share information and everything that goes along with that.

This was a very intriguing video to watch.  I really enjoyed the points he made at the end about collective learning.  This is a perfect way of stating this.  We, as humans, would not have been able to come this far if we didn’t have collective learning. This is the reason that we have the technology, theories, and research that we do.  Humans are able to collaborate with each other to create more complexity and keep our species alive.  This is an important point to take into account as teachers as well.  We have to realize the power of collective learning and collaboration.

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Edreach podcast channels!

I haven’t had much experience with podcasts before but I do find them very interesting.  My church has a podcast every Sunday so that if you are not able to attend service, you can listen online.  I’ve always thought that was very convenient and helpful but I did not know many other podcasts before having to look at a few this week.  I looked at the podcast website Edreach.  This website caught me at first glance because of the way their website is set up. It is very engaging and includes a lot of different podcast channels.

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I explored a few different channels within this podcast website.  The first was called “Chalkles”.  This channel isn’t exactly a podcast but it was still cool to look at.  It includes different comic like drawings about school related things such as plagiarism, common errors, and blended learning.

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Another channel I looked at was “The Google Educast”.  I listened to their podcast “Google’s self-driving classroom”.  They started out by explaining that google plus is not dying and it never was.  They said that it is a great place for sharing ideas with other teachers.  An interesting point they made was that although facebook is a great place as well, it isn’t that great for the media because it is more for people “hanging out with their friends”.  They talked about twitter but how it is still growing and it isn’t the end of it all.  Taking a turn in their conversation, they started talking about the new google self driving car.  Is this the future for school busses? They can stop pedestrians, and interpret hand signals.  I’m not quite sure if they have completely gotten me on this topic but they have intrigued me to learn more about these self-driving cars that are apparently coming.  One of the men on the podcast said that he thinks that these self-driving cars should be the future of school buses because they are much safer… I guess we’ll see about that.

Towards the end they have a “tips and tricks section”.  Today they talked about switching between windows and applications.  Apparently there are easier ways that I did not know about before listening to this podcast.  You can simply use command+tab to switch between applications.  This is very useful if you are doing a presentation.  I actually tried this out while I was listening to the podcast and it was a very useful skill to learn.  Overall, this was a very useful podcast channel to come across.  I am looking forward to listening to more podcasts from “The Google Educast”.

Are podcasts something I will use for professional learning in the future?

Yes, after exploring a few different podcasts today I believe that they are useful for gaining more knowledge on teaching or any other subject that you may come across.  These podcasts seem like they would be a great way to spend time in a long, rush hour traffic drive to work or class.  Some podcasts are more entertaining than others and I will be looking more into them.  Podcasts are more of an informal learning process but they still provide really good information.  I have learned this through the google podcast site especially because they discussed things google provides that are useful.

Tested and approved apps!!

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I found a really great resource through twitter today!  @WeAreTeachers posted a tweet that read “Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved By Teachers.”  The page it took me to contains many apps that teachers have tested out and recommend for other teachers.  I have explored other resources that provide good apps for teachers but this one included different sections that I have never seen before.  Some of the categories included “digital storytelling and presentation”, “augmented reality”, “reading engagement”, “coding”, and “note taking”.  I strongly believe that technology should start to be used more in the classroom and these categories allow students to bring out their creativity in the classroom.  This resource even includes good apps for younger children as well as older students.  This is awesome because I am not sure if I will be teaching first grade or sixth, now I have possible app opportunities to show my students of all different ages.

This resource I found came from @WeAreTeachers.  After exploring the link they posted about apps, I explored their website.  I actually ended up linking both the webpage with the suggested apps and the WeAreTeachers website to my diigo!  WeAreTeachers includes more lessons and resources that I need to start looking at! They are both incredibly helpful and I will definitely be using them in the future.


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