Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blogging in the Classroom

Blogging can be a useful tool in any classroom. I think it allows students to share ideas and feelings that they normally would not feel comfortable with in person. I also think it's interesting how the internet can make people feel safe, but at the same time everyone knows that it's actually dangerous at times. Things from credit card fraud, stalking, to people lying about who they are online.

But I think if blogging were done in the classroom, under the teacher's supervision and control, it would allow for a greater exchange of student ideas. It would allow for discussion of ideas and opinions. There would have to be guidelines and general rules to follow so that the environment remained friendly and educational, and the teacher would have to have the final word. I think it could apply in any class/subject and topic within that class. 

As teachers, sometimes we only hear from the same students and it's hard to reach those who do not want to voice their opinions to the entire class. This offers them a chance to let their voices be heard.

There are a few websites that talk about how to set up an educational blogging experience and some useful tips along with an article on how school boards and courts have reacted to teacher's blogging about their jobs.

The Role of Technology

The drive toward complex technical achievement offers a clue to why the U.S. is good at space gadgetry and bad at slum problems. ~John Kenneth Galbraith

When I think about technology, the first thing I consider is an email that I received a few months ago from a friend, that was a bit terrifying as an educator. Here were some of the statistics and facts that this video had to offer: 

- If you are one in a million in China, there are 1,300 people just like you.
- China will soon become the NUMBER ONE English speaking country in the world.
- The 25% of India's population with the highest IQ's, is Greater than the total population of the United States. Translation: India has more honors kids than America has kids.
- The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010, did not exist in 2004.
- We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't been invented, in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet. (For an example look at the technologies current in movies today...)
- The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today's learner will have 10-14 jobs, by the age of 38.
- 1 in 4 workers has been with their current employer for less than a year.
- 1 in 2 has been there less than 5 years.
- 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met online.
- There are over 200 million registered users on MySpace.
- If MySpace were a country, it would be the 5th-largest in the world (between Indonesia and Brazil).
- The #1 ranked country in Broadband Internet Penetration is Bermuda.
- #19 The United States
- # 22 Japan
- We are living in exponential times, there are 31 billion searches on Google every month.
- In 2006, this number was 2.7 billion, to whom were these questions addressed B.G.? (Before Google).
- The first commercial text message was sent in December of 1992.
- Today, the number of text messages sent and received everyday, exceeds the total population of the planet.
- Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million, radio 38 years.
- Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million, TV 13 years.
- Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million, Internet 4 years
- Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million, iPod 3 years.
- Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million, Facebook 2 years.
- The number of internet devices in 1984 was 1,000.
- The number of internet devices in 1992 was 1,00,000.
- The number of internet devices in 2008 is 1,000,000,000.
-  There are about 540,000 words in the English language, about 5x as many as during Shakespeare's time.
- It is estimated that a week's worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century.
- It is estimated that 4 exabytes (4.0x10^19) of unique information will be generated this year. That is more than the previous 5,000 years.
- The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years.
- For students starting a 4 year technical degree this means that, half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.
- NTT Japan has successfully tested a fiber optic cable that pushes 14 trillion bits per second down a single strand of fiber.
- That is 2,660 CDs or 210 million phone calls every second. It is currently tripling every six months and is expected to do so for the next 20 years.
- By 2013, a supercomputer will be built that exceeds the computational capabilities of the human brain.
- Predictions are that by 2049, a $1000 computer will exceed the computational capabilities of the entire human species. 
- During the 4 minutes and 21 seconds that it took to present all that information in the video:
-67 babies were born in the US
-274 babies were born in China
-395 babies were born in India
-And 694,000 songs were downloaded illegally

Research by Karl Finch, Scott McLood, Jeff Bronman

Technology can be a scary thing. It's growing faster than anything else on the planet and has yet to truly come to a solution to some of the world's major issues. But if you consider all the advances science has made it feels as though it may  just be at the balance point between good and bad.

If we look at technology in the classroom, it has reached the next generation even faster. I had the old macintosh computers in kindergarden to play math games on, but children now have computers to write papers with. Most classrooms and school districts have some form of technology in the classroom. It has led to more information being processed and sometimes easier ways of finding things out. But it can also be a crutch. Instead of making your own conclusions and deciding things for yourself, it's easier to find someone else's opinion online.

Technology in the classroom can be good or bad depending on what you have students do with it. With proper instructions and guidelines it opens up communication and increases globalization starting with students who have the power to change things. It is here that we can teach them tolerance by having pen pals from other counties, researching crimes against civil liberties and giving them a more honest outlook of the world. It is through knowledge that we can help to have more educated citizen to make things better.

My Biography

I am currently an instrumental music education major at Middle Tennessee State University. I hope to be student teaching next fall in the Nashville and Franklin areas and am very close to finishing my course work. I am researching graduate programs for clarinet performance and hope to find a great school.

I am originally from Minnesota, and moved around quite a bit as my dad found different jobs and my mother wanted to be closer to her family. When I was 5 we settled where we live now in Tennessee. I had great music teachers from the beginning of my public school career, which had such a positive influence on my desire to pursue music. In kindergarten I was part of the Christmas play and sung with my class. I was in choir in elementary school and loved it. In middle school I decided to play an instrument and choose the clarinet because that's what my best friend at the time put down. Everyone that wanted to be in band had to meet in the cafeteria to take a listening test, that checked our aural skills and if we were suited to the instrument of our choice. I continued to participate in both choir and band until we had to choose between them in middle school. I picked the clarinet.  I did mid-state and all-state, all the regional try-outs and festivals that I could because I really enjoyed them. In high school I was one of the top clarinet players. I attended a very good high school that was performing arts friendly. We did not have a competitive high school marching band and were able to focus on symphonic music. Our program gave more concerts during the school year than other schools in the area, that did compete. For a high school band program, we were at the level of a moderately good college band. Our school had the most progressive music program in the area. I had two wonderful directors who helped to shape me into the musician that I am today. It wasn't until I graduated from high school that I realized that I really did love being a teacher and I had been doing just that for most of my life. 

I started my collegiate career at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, but soon realized that their program was the exact opposite of what I needed. The following year I transfered to MTSU and I couldn't be more pleased with the program. Not that there aren't the bad with the good, but the benefits from this program far out weigh anything that is negative. I have taught master classes and band camps since I started college and have enjoyed every teaching experience. 

I have also worked with Curb Youth Symphony, for 3 years, which is part of Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music pre-college program. I currently work with the MTSU symphony orchestra as an assistant and have been here for 4 years. I just completed my senior recital which was a testament to the fact that hard work does pay off and as long as you think you can do it, you will.