Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Miguel's 2nd Grade Writing Lesson Plan

Miguel's lesson plan using blogs seems like a good way to introduce young students into the field of blogging. However, there are a few things that I would change about his plan. First of all, towards the end of the lesson plan, it says that students will vote on the poem they like best and then assess their peer's work. Although I have never worked with second graders, it seems to me that they might be too young to judge each other's work. I fear that kids would not know how to give constructive criticism. Secondly, it often seems that incoroprating technology into lesson plans can end up taking lots of time. Having to sign in each child to his or her blog may take valuable time away from teaching. I have observed that both teachers and students get frustrated in lessons that require so much individual attention.

Finally, while I am a proponent of using technology in the classroom, I also have my reservations about children and blogging. I believe that it should be introduced at an older age because more and more children are becoming addicted to computers and video-games as their free-time activities. Yes, technology has added so much to our society, but I believe that it can also be detrimental to human interaction-- especially among children who have grown up with it. I believe that too much time spent on the computer could reduce children's desire to read literature in old-fashioned print. I am not trying to bash blogging and technology, but I am also cautious about the number of assisgnments I would use the Internet and blogging as a main component.

Technology at DJ Montague

After speaking with teachers at DJ Montague, and observing the technological resources available, I am awed by the advancements that have been made since I was in elementary school. I remember that the availability of computers was far and few between, despite the fact that I went to school in one of the wealthiest and highly regarded counties in the nation-- Fairfax County. Every classroom certainly did not have a computer of its own, let alone a computer for each teacher. I also do not remember any trips to the computer lab or lessons relating to technology in general. Furthermore, the World Wide Web had not yet become mainstream. I do not even remember having dial-up in my household until middle school. However, it has been almost a decade since my last year in elementary school, and times have changed. Today, kids seem to be clicking away at their mouses, downloading songs on iTunes, and Instant Messaging on a daily basis. Today, students in my school have widespread access to the Internet and computers. Their predisposition to technology from a young age has allowed them to become adept at computer skills.

Not only that, they also have access to engaging technological educational tools such as the "Personal Response System." Using this system, students can each answer questions that are projected on a screen, using a remote-control-like device. The class results are instantly calculated, so that the teacher can use the quiz as an assessment tool for how much their students have learned and the students can see how they did as a class. Not only is this useful for teachers, but students seem to love the interactive system.

Students are also using technology in subjects that are not traditionally considered to be related to technology. A perfect example of this is the nationwide "Accelerated Reading" program, which provides online quizzes that are related to educational literature. After completing a set of tests, the teacher can print out each students' responses and use it as an assessment tool. All of these technological tools are great educational devices that should be utilized often, to increase creativity and engagement among students in the classroom.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Can technology harm our children?

The use of technology in today's classrooms, homes, businesses, etc. continues to grow everyday. When technology is implemented for educational purposes, it has proven to be extremely beneficial to our students. With access to the internet students from all walks of life can have the world at their fingertips. Furthermore, the World Wide Web has allowed students to not only use computers for educational purposes, but also for learning in everyday life. In fact, the phrase "google it" has become commonplace among children and adults alike. However, can free access to the internet be harmful to our children? This is a question that is receiving extensive scrutiny, as more and more children are getting into trouble with unchecked use of the internet.

A Primetime investigation airing on ABC last week featured an experiment conducted by Brigham Young University professors, that showed how adolescent girls have been utilizing various forms of technology to bully their peers. The use of Instant Messaging, texting, and the copy & paste feature in computers, has resulted in girls threatening, bullying, and outright being mean to other teenage girls. This leads me to believe that technology in our children's world is a double-edged sword. On one hand, students are becoming more and more proficient in using technology resources at younger and younger ages. On the other hand, the increase in bullying could cause more harm than technology is causing good. While I do not believe that this is necessarily the case, it certainly leads me to question how teachers and parents can address the problem, without denying our children access to the World Wide Web.