EDTECH 541 Final Reflection

Part One: Reflect on the entire course.

What you have learned?

When I started this course, like others I took, I had an idea of what I would have to do.  Like those other courses, I couldn’t be more wrong.  I thought that since this was a project-based course, it fell right into my wheelhouse and I would cruised through it. However, these projects were some of the most thought-provoking one I have done.  More than once, I started out the week with a clear idea of what to do only to have my plans fall apart by the weekend.  I scrapped more than one project days before it was due, then returned to it with a new focus.  Projects I thought went well, didn’t and ones that I cringed when I got the email that the grade was posted, turned out fine.  I had no idea how I was doing in any given week and that forced me to change my thinking when I approached a project.  It made me look at them with a more open-mind.

How theory guided development of the projects and assignments you created?

The nature of my position generally demanded an instructive approach, but with the change to the GED test, I knew I needed to become constructivist.  Since the objectives are guided by the GED test, a student-centered environment is not feasible.  I would love to flip my class, but situations make that option nonviable.  Therefore, I tried to design projects around activities that require heavy student participation and include aspects of student-centered learning and the flipped classroom.  This includes providing options to my students of sites to visit and incorporating videos to demonstrate the lesson.

How the course work demonstrates mastery of the AECT standards?

While I think I touched on all aspects of Design, Development and Utilization, I think the three areas I touched on in practically every project were Instructional Strategies, Integrated Technology and Media Utilization.  The projects centered around my content are of middle school mathematics.  This is the level of mathematics most of my students are at, even though they are much older than the typical middle school student.  For my math-related projects, I chose to focus on the concepts that generally cause the most difficulties in the largest portion of my students.  As mentioned earlier, I chose to include a lot of video and to provide options for my students as to which activities to pursue in order to learn the material.  All the tools and technology I chose were to fit the lessons, not the other way around.

How you have grown professionally?

I have never been a lesson plan teacher.  I generally say that I teach-on-the-fly.  I know the material and I know how to teach it. This has caused some problems at other places I taught, where they expected lesson plans.  Where I have been most successful have been schools that haven’t emphasized this.  However, this course has taught me to consider a little more planning time in order to choose the right technology to fit the lesson and my students’ needs.  And, the more I study. the more tools I can have at the ready for those on-the-fly moments when a student brings a different

How your own teaching practice or thoughts about teaching have been impacted by what you have learned or accomplished in this course?  

This course has reinforced my need to include all aspects of technology in my classes. However, my current school has many limitations that will prevent me from accomplishing this.  Originally, when I started this program, it was my intention to convince my school of the need for more technology and utilize what I learn where I am, not only in my classes, but to assist my fellow teachers.  However, as I get closer to graduation (one year to go), I realize that I will most likely have to seek another institution in order to achieve this goal.

What will you do differently as an educator as a result of this course?

I have normally focused on the application of math in my teaching.  This left little room for the social science elements.  However, with the projects focusing on the language arts and music, physical education and art, I needed to think about other aspects of mathematics beyond solving problems.  Therefore, I will add more activities designed to teach math terminology and how math affects other subjects.

 Part Two: Assess Your Performance

CONTENT:  PROFICIENT (60/70)

Substantial information, thought, insight and analysis has taken place with some connection to previous or current content and/or to real life situations but lack of depth and detail.

Not so much for a lack of depth or detail, I just feel that writing is not my strong point.  On top of that, despite an extroverted nature, I am somewhat tentative when it comes to exposing myself in the form of reflection.

READING AND RESOURCES:  OUTSTANDING (20/20)

Readings (from course text) and other resource materials are used to support blog comments. APA style is used to cite references.

I think this course has helped me become better at citing and referencing.

TIMELINESS:  PROFICIENT (17/20)

All required postings are made but not in time for others to read and respond.

My goal each week was to write my blogs by Friday, but taking two classes this semester was a took a toll and often I did not post my blog until the weekend.

RESPONSE TO OTHER STUDENTS:  OUTSTANDING (30/30)

Two or more substantial posts with at least one detailed response made to address another students’ post.

I made sure to respond to two post every week and provide more than a courtesy comment.  I tried to respond to different classmates, so as to get a feel for as many of them as I could.

OVERALL 127/140

 

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Internet Safety

There are many issues to look at when discussing Internet safety.  I want to focus on four that are extremely dangerous.  They are identity theft, child pornography, cyberbullying and cyberstalking.

Identity theft is acquiring another person’s private information for financial gain.  There are three main ways identity theft happens.  Phishing is acquiring personal information by impersonating legitimate sources.  Pharming is redirecting website traffic to a bogus site (From Pfishing to Pfarming).  Computer hacking is unauthorized accessing of another person’s computer.

There are things a person can do to limit thieves ability to steal their identity.  Be suspicious of any strange activity involving your electronic accounts.  Don’t use links from emails; look up websites on a search engine and go to them directly.  Regularly check all accounts for current activities.  Make sure you keep your browsers and your security software updated.  You can go to this site to read more about avoiding internet fraud.

Child Pornography is pornography involving children, real or simulated.  Simulated child pornography is where real children are not used in the photos but, they are altered in some way to give the impression that the person is a child.  Recently, Google and Microsoft have started devising stronger filters to block child pornography but, nothing is foolproof (Google/Microsoft).  If you discover child pornography on a computer, you should immediately call the police regardless of the perpetrator’s relationship to you in order to protect the victims, past, present and future (The Innocent Justice Foundation).  Read more about how to report child pornography here.

Cyberbullying involves using electronic technology to harass and harm others.  It creates feelings of anxiety, depression and anger.  Cyberbullying is more harmful than personal bullying due to size of the audience, how quickly and how much the bully can post vicious material and the longer lasting the effect of the acts.  This leads to withdrawal of the victim from society, poor grades, potential to become bullies and increase chance of harming themselves or others (The dangers of cyberbullying).

If you are a victim of cyberbullying, you need to tell an adult you feel comfortable with confiding information.  Make sure you collect all evidence and report offenses to the appropriate authorities.  Your confidant can help you.  However, NEVER, EVER, engage the bully in likewise fashion (Dos and Don’ts).  It will not deter them; it will only make them ramp up their retaliation and will hinder your credibility as an unwarranted victim.  Learn how you can stop cyberbullying.

Cyberstalking involves using electronic devices to stalk another person or group of people. It seems similar to cyberbullying but, it is generally worse.  Stalker have an obsession and desire to control you.  They also are willing to make collateral victims of your friends and family in their efforts.  A stalker has four objectives:  locate, surveil, emotionally harass and criminally manipulate their prey (Gil).  If you find yourself a victim of a cyberstalker, you should contact the police and warn family and friends to prevent them from being used against you (Gilbert & Meyers).  This can also help them to become witnesses to the offenses.  Read more preventive steps to take and what to do if you are being cyberstalked.

References:

Dos and don’ts for cyberbullying victims. (n.d.). Parental Control. Retrieved from http://puresight.com/Cyberbullying/dos-and-donts-for-cyber-bullying-victims.html

From pfishing to pfarming: the top five spam scams of March 2005. (n.d.). DMA Responsibility. Retrieved from http://www.dmaresponsibility.org/cgi/disppressrelease?article=643++++++

Gil, P. (n.d.). Cyberstalking: what is cyberstalking? How should I deal with cyberstalkers?. About.com Internet for Beginners. Retrieved from http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/c/f/What-Is-Cyberstalking.htm

Gilbert, K., & Meyers, S. (n.d.). Insight Is 20/20. Victim of romantic cyberstalking: signs, what to do, coping. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201308/victim-romantic-cyberstalking-signs-what-do-coping

Google/Microsoft- can you really stop child pornography?. (n.d.). Examiner.com. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/google-microsoft-can-you-really-stop-child-pornography

The Innocent Justice Foundation | Helping Rescue Children From Abuse. (n.d.). Innocent Justice what you can do to stop it comments. Retrieved from http://innocentjustice.org/solutions/report/

The dangers of cyberbullying. (n.d.). Parental Control. Retrieved from http://puresight.com/Cyberbullying/the-dangers-of-cyber-bullying.html

EDTECH 504 Week One Discussion

The video mentioned how people have always fretted the use of technology.  My answer is that we must prepare students for their future, not our past.  Pittsburgh, where I am from, was steel mill town in my father’s day.  Now, the mills are gone and it is a high-tech city. Unfortunately, many from my generation were raised, and thus raised their children, for a life that no longer exists.  They have skills that are in rare demand and are unqualified for the careers that are out there.

Cuban (p6) mentions how “non-teachers are changing classroom practice.”  This is a major problem with education.  The people in charge often have little experience in the classroom and weren’t very good teachers.  I have always believed that the school system needs to look to the military model where the best are promoted to positions of authority and decision making.  Imagine how WWII might have turned out if General Patton was replaced by Beetle Bailey.

Another interesting finding of Cuban was obstacles blocking increase use of films in classrooms (p57).  He lists teachers’ skills, overall cost, accessibility and appropriateness of the material.  Ironically, these are probably the main reasons for the lack of current technology in the classroom today.

Resources

Cuban, L. (1986). Teachers and machines: the classroom use of technology since 1920. New York: Teachers College Press.

Toppo, G. (2012, September 29). A different way to think about technology in education: Greg Toppo at TEDxAshburn. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D17P3kqB3_0