Thursday, July 26, 2012

"5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class"

There has been tons of controversy in schools across the country when it comes to cell phones being used in the classroom.  There are a wide range of policies extending to the extremes, schools outright banning cell phones from school property (not just the classroom) to schools fully embracing the technology within the classroom.  I recently read the article 5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class.  The article points out that school is there to help students get ready for the "real world" which usually means using technology on the job.  At some point, students need to learn how to use the technology that they have. 

While I like the idea of allowing students to use their cell phones to enhance their learning experiences, I am still very unsure of some of the issues that could result.  One of the biggest concerns for me is the distractions that can occur.  I can students abusing the privlage and using the time to text with friends in other classes (which then distracts them from their learning) and going onto Facebook.  It also concerns me that not every student has access to a smart phone.  Most school districts can't afford to supply students with smart phones.  While there can be ways around this, such as students pairing up, it is still a concern to me.  

Digital Life 102 (9-12)

Through CommonSense Media I looked at a lesson having to do with teaching students about using digital media in their lives.  This lesson gets students to think about how they currently use digital media in their lives, how it enhances their lives and the downsides of it in life.  This is a lesson that would be great to implement in and English classroom as it incorporates the use of similies as part of the lesson. 

"Power Point is Evil"

Edward Tufte talks, in the blog post, about his disdain for power points.  I have sat through many meetings myself having to look at slide after slide while the presenter reads each one word for word.  How boring!!  While power points are definitely over used, I do believe they have a time and a place.  I think power points should be there only to enhance a presentation...use a slide show a picture of what you are talking about, or to show a chart or graph that goes along with the presentation.  Just like Edward I really don't think power points should be used as the full presentation for someone to just read from. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Abominal Snowman going after my friend Amy while we were on a ski trip in Colorado!  Watch out Amy!!

Visuals in the Classroom

No matter what the subject, visuals should always be a must in the classroom.  When teaching a class full of kids you are bound to have students with a variety of learning styles.  By providing visuals to go along with any type of lecture you are now helping out those students who are visual learners.  Also, having a lesson done with multiple modalities will help all students to learn better and to retain, regardless of their learning styles.  Visuals can also be a way to help draw kids into the lesson.  Let's take math for instance...when teaching pythagorean theorem I might find as many pictures of triangles being used in the real world.  Students could then go through and determine if those triangles are right triangles.  By seeing the concept being used in the real world, students will be more connected to it.

In a blog by Susie Boss,, she discusses the importance of visuals in the classroom.  She also links to a blog by Dan Meyer,, who has created an entire blog dedicated to using visuals in the classroom.  Dan's blog in more about giving examples of visuals he has used in his math classroom.  With most of his posts, there are a great deal of comments and converstations about the different examples posted.