Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Digital Citizenship Inside Highschool

So what is Digital Citizenship? Dictionary.com says that citizenship is teh character of an individual viewed as a member of society: behavior in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen.(dictionary.com) In other words, it boils down to the acceptable practices of a society,
that a typical citizen
would take part in. Being a citizen of any state, or a member of any institution comes with acceptable and non acceptable behavior. Sociologists refer to those acceptable behaviors as social norms. 

The term digital simply refers to the use of digital media, ie, the internet. 
So, to smush them together into one term, it would be:
The adherence of social norms (acceptable behaviors) of a digital society.

Mark Ribble, creator of digitalcitizenship.net has made the same statement:

"Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use."   --Mike Ribble

Citizens have a responsibility to abide by the "laws" in order to obtain the benefits of their society. So it is within a digital society. In order to enjoy the internet, we have to abide by some basic protocols if we want to keep ourselves from the possible pitfalls of this digital society.
So with that out of the way, we are going to discuss how Digital Citizenship relates to high school students. But rather than a drawn out and wordy talk, here's a short presentation to sum it all up.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Learning to Unlearn

Learning is necessary only if we want to grow. I don't know about you but I want to grow. Not only do I want to grow, but I want to excel! In this light, I have realized that I have some unlearning to do for growth to take place. And I never really thought about needing to unlearn something in order to learn something. In order for me to grow as an educator I have to unlearn the concept that I have that I can't learn that much from people over the net as I can from people in person. I'm seeing that this may just be reversed. I have always kind of been against social networking in general, but the idea of connected learning is something that I can't ignore! As much as I need it to grow, my future students will need it just as much if not more than I do.

I see that some challenges on this journey of learning to unlearn is just in the realizing that there are things that I think or do that aren't effective and need to change. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that that stings a little. But that's the cost of learning. To leave things behind that don't promote the future-even when it hurts to leave them behind.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Interactive Whiteboards in today's classroom

Interactive whiteboards or IWBs are an interesting breed. They seem like they would be great tools to use in classrooms because of their great boasts, but I'm not so convinced. First off is the cost. For a new IWB, a good one (with good reviews, including a projector), your looking at spending close to $2,000, upwards of $3,500 to $4,000. Now if we're talking about including these in every classroom, we're talking a SMALL school, we're looking at 30-40 classrooms. That's a whole lotta cash! So this first becomes an issue of, "do IWBs produce enough bang for the buck?" PCs kind of have the same issue. If you have to buy 30 $2,000 IWBs to suit all class rooms, how many $400 laptops will you have to buy to suit every student? Or most students?

Another thing in consideration of IWBs is do they really do what the companies say they do? The article, Interactive Whiteboards and Learning, made by Smart technologies concerning studies that were done to show the effectiveness of Smart's IWB, it makes some big claims. The two most interesting benefits the article spoke of were increased attendance and differentiation. Their research showed how the use of IWBs could improve attendance with the extrinsically motivated students(uhh ok, until they get bored with it... maybe...), and changing formats to suit different learning styles (totally agree). It was a good article, and I want to go buy one right now...not so much...

I have to admit, the article was more on the side of being convincing, however, it was produced by Smart. Of course Smart is going to make the cost seem worth it. If ABC company just produced a product and needs to sell it, they're going to get the research to promote it. They're not, however, going to show any of the negative research results. To be politically correct: DUH! But other non-IWB-producer (article from Washington post) research is showing that IWBs just simply reinvented the wheel. They take teaching methods and strategies and place them in the context of an IWB. So this issue of cost vs value boils down to teacher motivation and skill. Students are still distracted, sleeping etc. Once the novelty wears off, IWBs become a more colorful chalk board that you can watch movies on.

I graduated back in 2000, so I have no experience with these personally, but they seem like they would be a good way to get students to interact, but I think that age is going to play into that a bit. I'm sure that elementary students would be much more interested in using them than high school students, simply because most elementary aged students can still be mesmerized by technology.

One thing I do love about IWBs is there potential in differentiation. Their good for all the learning types because students can see, hear, and touch what their learning. For that I have to like them. That's a great set of options for a teaching tool. And I would say that that almost equates to the cost.

The bottom line here is this: IWBs can be great. I'm not contending with that. But how great? Great enough for the cost? Great enough to buy these instead of laptops? Let's see more studies from independe
nt sources that aren't funded by the producing parties and maybe then we'll see...

Sunday, March 24, 2013


If I were to give differentiation a very basic definition, It would be this: differentiation is a technique that a teacher would use to make sure all their students learn and process information effectively- AT THE SAME TIME. I mean...what else matters when you're a teacher? Those kids aren't in the classroom to make friends or eat snacks. That's what joining a soccer team is for. Kids learning effectively means your teaching effectively! And differentiation is the key to unlock that door for all the kids at the same time.

 Differentiation brings out the hidden potential in all the kids. I see it as a way to keep the more able and ready students engaged and moving forward while at the same time taking those students who might normally be constantly behind up to a whole new level. And from what I have seen, it makes the class room exciting. Of all the differentiated classrooms that I have seen, this one exemplifies how exciting differentiation can be.

Now from a personal experience point of view...I have none. I don't honestly remember any differentiation going on in any of my classrooms. At my high school I remember all of my classrooms were front facing and boring. In my years there I had one teacher in my senior year take extra interest in my learning, but the class room was not in any way differentiated. And the atmosphere, like all of my other classes, was sink or swim. And the teacher would try his best to answer questions and work with students but there was no breakdown of different levels. You either passed or failed. Sad huh? But anyways...differentiation, in my opinion, is the way to go!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Twitter and me...

When considering twitter, I have very little positive to say about it. I can see the idealistic value, in that it can connect learners/ educators, but it is so cumbersome. To much information all at once. Out of the educators I have followed, when I sit and look at all the tweets coming in, all the information just blends together. The majority of the tweets are irrelevant or completely random. Maybe I just haven't grasped the value of twitter as of yet, but as of right now, I don't see it as a tool that I myself would use, within a PLN or a PLC. There is one teacher on twitter that consistently has interesting things to say. Here's one on internet learning.
Concerning today's experience, twitter wasn't all that helpful to me. Again, there were to many people saying to many different things all at once to be able to use it as a focus point. It was more distracting than helpful. Twitter get's a thumbs down from me.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Final Frontier

So our Tech for Teach class was given the task of creating a presentation dealing with an article we read talking about technology use in classroom and teachers beliefs about this tech/teach fusion. The article was written with the intent create an investigation into the pedagogical beliefs of teachers and the extent to which they use technology in their classrooms.

In the creation of this presentation, we were asked to collaborate with a group of three fellow students. I found this process to be better than expected. I had never been involved with a classroom collaboration before, and had only heard horror stories. But the two students that I worked with came through and did their parts and our presentation turned out great!

Now the presentation itself deals with pieces from the article and brings in a persuasive twist to encourage teachers to change their thinking and beliefs as they relate to using technology in their teaching process. And without further delay, here it is.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

All About Me

Well, for starters, my name is Andrew Rupp. I'm originally from Prince Georges County Maryland but I currently live in Erie. I love Jesus, my hot wife, and my 3 b-eautiful kids. Aside from Jesus and my family I love music and people. I play a couple of instruments- piano, bass, guitar- and I want to learn more. Anything with strings fits the bill. So that's the condensed version of me.

For the longest time I had no idea of what I wanted to do, which is why I am attending college at 30 years old. But I came to an realization that by not planning to do something...anything, I was actually planning to do, or be nothing. And that did two things for me. It first got me off my duff to start pursuing something, but more importantly, it gave me something to pursue. Since I graduated from high school in 2000, I've worked the most random, annoying, unfulfilling jobs that one could imagine. So this gave me the idea of helping to prepare others for the realities of life after high school. So I am in the pursuit of becoming a high school educator. Specifically history/ social studies.

As a future educator, I feel very strongly about utilizing technology in the classrooms for a few different reasons. First and foremost is that of experience. I have been working with teenagers for the past 8 years as a youth leader in the church I attend, and I have found that when you bring in some cool videos, or when you give the students tasks related to their technologies (cell phones, ipads, etc.), they tend to retain the information as if it were the latest facebook drama. Another reason I feel so strongly about incorporating technology into the classroom is because it makes the information presented seem more relevant and appealing to the tech generation of today.

As far as teaching is concerned, it needs to be relevant in order for the students to really grab hold and want to continue on. If there is no relevancy given, no relation to their lives shown in the teaching, than I believe that most students simply check out mentally when it comes to all things concerning school.