Friday, February 26, 2010

The advancement of the internet has made it extremely purposeful to discuss different methods and procedures so that are students can be safe when using technology in schools. Years ago, people were mostly concerned with certain security features of the internet such as publishing the name or names of individuals, typing and saving the street address of a person using a website, or paying for an item using a credit card. In addition, there was and still is the ongoing battle with adults blocking pornographic material from younger students on the internet. While there are state and federal laws that regulate these types of risks, a multitude of other dangers and security features still exist on the internet.
It is important to note that the number of people and the number of hours spent on the internet per day, compared to the amount of hours that people are abused via the internet is small. Most people use the internet at home, work, or school, everyday, and never encounter any type of security breach or abuse.
Through federal and state regulation, schools must follow the Child Internet Protection Act, which has schools do three different things: filter content that students access via the internet, monitor the activities of students when they access the internet, and have certain policies that students must follow when accessing the internet.
In addition to the topics discussed above, more and more users are using Web 2.0 tools to publish their own information on the internet. There are two different methods in which schools can block hazardous type of information from reaching their students. First, they can block all major websites that students use to find published material by random users of the internet. An example of a major website would be The second thing users can do, and the choice, I and many other soon to be educators and current educators agree to use, is to teach students how to navigate the web safely.
As students age and mature, less focus has to be placed on internet security and more on internet privacy. For example, as a third grade teacher I may want to monitor the websites and searched students may go onto the internet to view. In contrast, if I am teaching eleventh graders how to blog and connect with other students internationally, I may be more concerned with protecting that students privacy and personal information.
In addition, it is vitally important to decide as an educator which topics are internet appropriate and which ones are not. For example, discussing puberty with fifth graders may be more appropriate with a textbook, while explaining the usefulness of blogging may only be accurately taught using the internet. In addition to deciding which topic is best taught online, it is sometimes important for the teacher to have groundwork prepared for the lesson. It might not be the best idea for a teacher to state, “Go online and find some information on Ancient Egypt”. While the topic is clearly defined, it more or less gives students a free pass to go on any website until they get caught by the teacher. A better direction may be, “Students go onto our class homepage and click the link I have posted to the educational website on Ancient Egypt”. More specific, more topic relevant directions will help students stay on task when completing assignments.
With a well-versed educator, students can use the internet as a great tool for information and learning in the classroom.

KidsHealth, from The Nemours Foundation. "Internet Safety." 2010.
Richardson, Will. "The Read/Write Web." Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.Corwin, 2009. 71-83.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Professional development is skills and knowledge that are obtained for the personal advancement of a person in the workplace and career advancement for someone in the work field. There are many different ways in which someone can advance in professional development such as coursework, conferences, and meetings within the workplace. In addition, professional development can be completed in various ways such as lesson studying, mentoring and shadowing, and career coaching in formal and informal settings.
In education, professional development generally refers to school in-service workshops, in which a professional in academia or a curriculum expert travels to the school district and gives a presentation to the school faculty. Studies have shown that professional development is increasing vital to school success and increasingly important in facing challenges by different schools in integrating new laws, integrating new technology into schools, and meeting and enhancing achievement and success in schools.
Professional networking can be greatly enhanced through social networking sites and Web 2.0 tools. Some Web 2.0 tools that can be used for social networking in professional development are Facebook, Twitter, and DIIGO.

Everyone has heard of Facebook ( My mother, father, and four brothers all have Facebook accounts, as well as all of my family, friends, and co-workers. Famous celebrities have Facebook accounts, as well as small and large groups trying to get information out on the internet. Facebook has revolutionized that way people connect and network on the internet. While Facebook has a reputation for being strictly for social aspects, its capacity is so great that I am including in something future educators can use to connect to other teachers. For example, say you just joined a new school, and are looking for ways to connect with 1st-year teachers. The searches are endless. Besides searching for contacts you have met in college or school that are in education, you can connect with people in groups such that when you join you have instance access to their information, and can request to become with friends with him or her via the site. In the search bar, a user can type in teacher (971 results), or education (11,000 results).

Twitter ( is a soc
ial-networking website in which a user can “tweet” information that is going on daily, weekly, or monthly to connect with people about all different types of information and social media. I’m considering Twitter as a great social networking for professional development tool for many reasons. First, users can easily connect with other people be searching in the Search tab for the name of the user. Once they are found they can “follow” the user which enables him or her to receive that person’s tweets (when they update their
status with information). This is a great way to connect with people and find out the latest information via the internet or mobile phone. The best feature of Twitter is the ability to search for topics by looking up words/phrases that users “tag” in words after hash symbols. The search feature combined with the tagging system can be utilized to connect with other teachers which in then can be used to social network.

I wrote about diigo ( on another one of my blogs. DIIGO is a social bookmarking website where users can do various actions such as bookmark a webpage to view at a later time, tag a webpage in a specific category, highlight specific portions of the webpage, and/or attach sticky notes to a part of a web page to share with a users and share with a person or groups of people that are also on the DIIGO site. In a professional setting, teachers can link with other teachers by utilizing the bookmark features of DIIGO that enable users to select preferences and show other DIIGO users that are looking at the same page. Once two or more teachers link together, they can use the knowledge to socialize with one another and connect.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

DIIGO is a social bookmarking website where users can do various actions such as bookmark a webpage to view at a later time, tag a webpage in a specific category, highlight specific portions of the webpage, and/or attach sticky notes to a part of a web page to share with a users and share with a person or groups of people that are also on the DIIGO site. DIIGO stands for “Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other Stuff.”
DIIGO can be utilized as a research tool and platform. Users with the DIIGO can highlight portions of the webpage, or images in the webpage that are of particular interest to the user, and then attach a sticky note to that part of the webpage. Unlike other websites with similar features, DIIGO’s highlights and sticky notes are “persistent” in that they stay on the webpage if the user leaves or shutdowns the computer. According to DIIGO’s website, users “can easily search, access, sort and share this collection from any PC or even iPhone.”
In addition to its research capabilities, DIIGO also allows many social networking features. Since DIIGO allows user to tag comments and highlight, other networkers can search for subjects and view if any other DIIGO users have tagged or made comments on web pages with that tag. Then, users can subscribe to the most recent and bookmarked items and write comments about them which other users can then read at a later time. In addition, DIIGO uses the bookmarks and your most recent page views to find trends in which you can select and read other similar websites in a particular topic. In addition, when the user is reading a page, the DIIGO sidebar feature allows the user to view who else has bookmarked this page, and other similar pages that the user has bookmarked. DIIGO writes, “you are what you annotate..”, in other words, a user’s personality and interests can easily be found by the types of web addresses that he or she uses, making DIIGO not only a powerful site for information and storage, but for social profiling and networking as well.
DIIGO can be a powerful source when employed in the classroom and teacher professional setting. Imagine that all of the students in your classroom have access to a computer and the internet. The amazing feature of DIIGO is that only one computer is needed for infinite amount of students to use the program. Since DIIGO remembers the users saved web content, any student can log into the same classroom computer and use DIIGO to save information on the website. In a professional setting, teachers can link with other teachers by utilizing the bookmark features of DIIGO that enable users to select preferences and show other DIIGO users that are looking at the same page. For example, a teacher viewing a website of chemistry lesson plans can link with other educators who have also viewed that page using DIIGO.

For more information see:

The DIIGO sidebar:

DIIGO sticky notes:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

There are many ways in which blogging can be utilized as a teaching tool in the classroom. First, educators can use the blogs to post student work and comment on their progress throughout an assignment. For example, a project or homework assignment can be given to students and then the students could be asked to publish their work on a blog. This would allow students to showcase the work that they have completed as well as comment on the work of their fellow classmates. In addition, the teacher can also comment on student work and write suggestions for students to follow up and edit their submissions.
Another way in which blogging can be utilized as a teaching tool is for teachers to share with other educational professionals the lessons and assignments that they are giving to students in their classrooms. For example, a new teacher could post assignments and student work on a blog and have other teachers comment on suggestions and opinions of the work. This would allow the new teacher to receive feedback on the pros and cons of the lesson plan. The teacher can then take the thoughts and ideas of the comments and incorporate these to make his or her lesson plan better.
A third way in which blogging can be useful as a teaching tool is to teach students different forms of technology and have them learn the different ways in which they can access forms of technology to improve their education learning. For example, students can learn how to blog, set up their own blog, learn to make a wiki page, set up a classroom NING or learn to e-mail one another as a means of educational communication. See and
Blogging connect students to people from different cities, states, and even countries. For example, a student studying French language might post comments on other blogs from French bloggers. This would immediately connect the American student with a blogger from another country. If the French bloggers writes back, then the American student has made a connection from someone that he or she does not know, nor had any connection to before. Together the students can help each other and improve their language skills via blogging on the internet. See
Blogging does not only help students connect and improve their education, but it also helps teachers with professional development. Teachers can use blogging to connect with other professionals’ nation and worldwide such that their ideas and techniques can be improved and perfected. Teachers can then go back to their classrooms with more information on a topic, improved skills in instruction, and access to others professionals should other obstacles or challenges come while teaching. For some tips from other teachers, check out

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In class, we discussed globalization, particularly how the “world is flat” ( and the different changes that are happening to the global economy, and how it affects the American education system. In particular, the rapid incline of China and India as forefronts in educating their citizens has put particular pressure on the United States to compete by using technology to advance the knowledge that they instruct their students.
ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) is the premier organization of educators and education administrators aimed at improving technology in K-12 education. The ISTE have made six principles in which they have formed standards for students to follow including: 1.Creativity and Innovation, 2. Communication and Collaboration, 3. Research and Information Fluency, 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making, 5. Digital Citizenship, 6. Technology Operations and Concepts. The ISTE has transformed classroom learning by giving instructors guidelines to follow when incorporating technology into classrooms. For example, the ISTE lists Creativity and Innovation first, placing emphasis that students learn how to use technology to expand and develop creativity in the classroom. The NETS are so crucial to use as a planning springboard because it keeps teachers focused on the importance of the lesson and not to get so caught up with the technological aspect. Moreover, when teachers are given guidelines to follow their lessons will be more robust with guidelines set forth by ISTE.
While ISTE has made six different guidelines for teachers to follow, Part Three, Research and Information Fluency, is most important because it explains guidelines for students to gather, evaluate, and use information effectively. The first section of Part Three states “plan strategies to guide inquiry”. This is important because students must understand how to show the students how to obtain information and data, and how to plan their time spent finding information accordingly. In addition, this section details the importance of student to ethically find information on the internet and use it properly. Another important part of this section in the ISTE standards, is to “select information sources..based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.” With so much technology and with the industry expanding at a rapid rate, its important to for teachers and students to understand what tools to use as not to create more work for themselves. Most importantly, students should have a grasp of how to use technology to process results and how to manipulate data.
The ISTE are important and useful because they show instructors how to integrate technology into their classroom and use it effectively. For more information see: .