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.