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Archive for March, 2013

Blog #4

KCS plans Internet on school buses

Part One: Summary

In the Kokoma-Center school district they are planning on installing wireless Internet in all of their buses. Installing this would be just one of the new additions of school districts transportation upgrades costing almost $200,000. Along with Internet, officials are also planning on installing GPS systems. This process is not a new idea for most districts, according to one superintendent they have had this plan for more then a year and just never took action until now that is.  This is something the kids will look forward to. What kid would not want to have Internet access on the bus? This does not only include to and from school bus rides. Internet access will be available to students who are involved in after school activities who are traveling to and from events, games and competitions. This will give not only the kids, but also the coaches the ability to do business and homework on the bus. The kids and coaches are not the only ones who benefit; it is the parents and bus drivers too, not because of the Internet access, but the GPS systems, allowing them to track the buses and know exactly where their kids are. Not only does it show where the buses are at, it tells the speed and what the divers are doing. The new system will help the transportation of the buses run smoother, helping the parents who have concerns about where their children are. But this, of course, does not come free. It will costs districts $60,000, and then every year after $25,000 and the Internet access will cost $125,000 up front and $5,000 a year, but these high costs are worth it.

Part Two: Questions and Answers

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

A1: I believe it will help student’s learning because they now do not have an excuse for not doing their homework when they have another obligation that night. It is hard to tell if they will actually do homework or just go on Facebook on the bus ride, but they now have the option to, where as before they did not. 

Q2: What is your opinion of the issue in the article? Agree or disagree? Why?

A1: I agree with installing Wi-Fi in buses because like I said before students can now get their homework done. I remember the long bus rides to cheerleading competition and how there was nothing to do. Now with the new upgrades kids will have plenty to do to keep them busy. Also, I agree with the GPS system because if I were a parent I would want to know where my children were. 



Blog #3

Teaching 2.0: Is Tech In The Classroom Worth The Cost?

Part One: Summary 

At first glance, Westlake High School in Maryland is just like any other school. Kids are talking in the hallways and learning during their class periods. But in one of the classrooms it is different. Instead of the original chalkboard and teacher in front of the class, the kids are listening and learning via Skype. As you would think this would be with their teacher, but it is not. They are listening to an author on what they are studying in history class at the time. This is a new and different approach to teaching, which costs the country billions of dollars to support, and many are wondering if it is worth the cost. The author does not charge to give his lecture and the students seem to pay attention, the problem is the technology is costing thousands of dollars when their teacher could give the same lecture.  One English teacher says the new technology is worth the cost because it gives the kids someone new to listen to and keeps them engaged. Even though the kids usually do not know the speakers who talk to them, they encourage them to push themselves. Even though the speaker and the class are not physically together, they do not feel removed from each other. This technology connects the classroom to the outer world. The big screen in front of the class is more efficient than laptops, say some of the teachers, because it is easier to monitor. Technology is going behind computers now. In many classrooms it is not uncommon to be using cell phones and tablets in the daily lesson. Although we now have all this technology, there has not yet been a way to see if there is an increase in scores and engagement of students. The difference between low-income school districts and districts with access to funds is still a major issue. It is very important teachers know how to use the technology provided because if they don’t it is only a distraction to the students.

Part Two: Questions and Answers 

Q1: What examples of issues have you observed in your own experience?

A1: I have never been taught by a speaker via Skype before, but I am currently enrolled in an online class. So, in terms of being taught through technology, I personally do not care for it. I don’t believe the students get the proper education. I am finding I have a lot of questions about assignments. Online classes are not good if the student cannot teach and motivate themselves because there is not a teacher there to answer those questions or remind you to turn the assignment in. I learn better when there is a professor in front of me talking and showing me what to do, because thats the biggest thing for me, I learn best when I see it being done.

Q2: How will the issue affect your relationship with your students, parents, colleagues, and/or principals?

A2: Even though it is said the teacher and students do not feel removed from each other when technology is brought into the lesson, I believe I would feel removed. If someone else is teaching them, yes I will be happy they are getting another take on the issue, but I will feel like I am not doing my part. Kids need that one-on-one time with a person to really learn the material. Yes, times are changing, I guess the way I would teach is old fashion, and I think that’s the best way for students to get the best education.

Blog #2

Students pioneer the iPad frontier

Part One: Summary

Although the IPad has not been around for long, it is already changing the ways of teaching. Some schools around the country have provided each student with their own IPad. One example of this is in Williamsville where every fifth grader received an IPad for the year. The following year the six graders will also be provided IPads, and within four years the whole middle school will have them. Most schools have not been lucky enough to get IPads for their district, so when schools finally do get them, its like winning the lottery, everyone gets excited. But, they are becoming more popular and you see them more and more in schools. Students can complete their whole assignment just by using the IPad, such as creating a book. These projects are completed in partners, considering there is not enough for every student. The IPad was brought into the classroom in the 2010-11 school year to see if it increased academic performance. Times are transforming into electronics. One principal said she has her kindergarteners emailing their homework. At Roy B Kelly Elementary, kindergarteners certainly have IPads, now first, second, and third grades also have them, and forth grade is the next. In the school district in Chautauqua County every middle school child gets an IPad and every high school honor student. Now they are building the program even more so every student will have one from third grade through high school. These changes in the classroom are tremendous. They are helping kids understand the material better because they have everything they need for the lesson right there in their hand, from a dictionary to a calculator. IPads also save a lot of time. Classes no longer have to make a trip to the computer lab. More information can be covered in a day as a result. No more wasting time calling on students for answers. Now teachers use polls, and the students submit their answers through their IPads. This also allows teachers to see everyone’s answers in the class instead of only a few. IPads also save time by automatically having the homework assignments uploaded, instead of having to write them down. Students no longer have to worry about misplacing their homework or leaving it behind at school. Teachers are also finding IPads to help the special education students, because now they feel equal with the other students by voicing their opinion. The gap is now closing behind the students and they are coming together and it is all because of the IPad.

Part Two: Question and Answers

Q1: What is your opinion of the issue in the article? Agree or disagree? Why?

A1: I believe there are both positives and negatives when it comes to IPads in the classroom. I would say the positives are, there will always be technology in our children’s lives and it’s good to get them familiar with it at a young age. Also, Students always have their assignments with them, they don’t have to worry about losing them. The negatives would be, students can very easily get off topic by going on Facebook or any other website. Also, students will not get the opportunity to write with the original paper and pencil and we could see decreases in writing abilities.

Q2: How will the issue help or hinder your teaching practice? Why?

A2: I believe the IPads will help my classroom because students will feel more confident in their answers. They won’t be put on the spot of being called on in front of their peers, now all they have to do is submit the answer to a poll for the class and teacher to review.

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