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Standard 9: Cultural Sensitivity

April 21, 2011

The following documents show that I have met the requirements set forth in Standard 9: Cultural Sensitivity. The description of this standard explains that, in order to meet this standard, I must show that I can establish a culturally inclusive learning climate that facilitates academic engagement and success for all students.

This following PowerPoint presentation does just that. It was created for the course EDU 6525: Culturally Responsive Teaching. The project itself is a well-informed call to action designed to get educators to understand the importance of Multicultural Education. I used historical sources, such as Carter G. Woodson and Mary Mcleod Bethune, as well as the work of more modern scholars, such as James A. Banks, to encourage multicultural literacy, interaction, integration and awareness, while insuring that continued success of all students.

Integration and Action Presentation

The next document is a response to Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.’ s book The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society. In this short essay I address Schlesinger’s interpretation of multiculturalism, which emphasizes the importance of both an American national identity and individual cultural identities within the realm of education.

Response to Schlesinger

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Standard 10: Technology

April 20, 2011

The following artifact, which is in the form of a vidcast embedded from YouTube, satisfies the requirements for Standard 10, Technology. This vidcast shows not only that I have the capabilities to use various current technologies, but also explains my beliefs about the appropriate use of Web 2.0 technologies in education, as it is my “Educational Technology Creed”.

Standard 11 Inquiry/Research

April 20, 2011

The following artifacts satisfy the requirements for Standard 11 Inquiry/Research, in that I have shown that I can competently consume and produce –  where necessary – empirical data to guide educational practice.

This first artifact is a research outline proposing a study to investigate the relationship between traditional and non-traditional teacher certification and the achievement of students in 10th grade English classes. This shows my ability to research, plan an design a study from which could be gathered empirical data for the betterment of educational practices.

Certification Study Proposal

The second artifact is a report in which I used statistical analysis to analyze and interpret gathered data regarding the controversy over equity in public school expenditures. In this report, I analyze the relationship between expenditures and academic performance using data for all fifty states plus the District of Columbia.

State Expenditure Equity Analysis

Standard 12: Professional Citizenship

April 20, 2011

The idea of professional citizenship infers that I explore the world of education beyond the classroom, engaging in and listening to dialogue, and taking a position on matters that relate to the ideas and practices that I see within the school and classroom. The following document, written during the course “American Education: Past and Present”, introduces and explores a concept that I like to call “the democracy argument”. In short, it is the epitome of the arguments that occur in the American education system, just as it is the reason that the arguments over education will never be satisfied; it is the fact that we exist in a largely undefined system of education designed “of the people, by the people, for the people”.

The Democracy Argument

Meta-Reflection: Integrating Technology in Education

December 12, 2010
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I have to be honest, when I started taking this course; I was still very much on the fence about utilizing technology – especially Web 2.0 type technology – in the classroom. After ten weeks of instruction I have learned about many new things changed my mind about others, but still remain fairly reserved about some topics as well.

We began the class looking at general information about web 2.0, and an idea that is very familiar to me: social networking. I openly admit that I was one of the first hundred or so people to hop on facebook when it first came to Bridgewater State College, where I was doing my undergraduate study, back in the “good old days” when it was only for college students. The ease and convenience of facebook amazed me, and I was able to connect with new friends and reconnect with friends from years past, and stay connected with friends from across the country. At the time, if you had told me that I would be using similar technology in the future to communicate with my students and other teachers – I might have called you crazy. What this first module brought to light for me is the fact that these sorts of technology have much more far-reaching implications than simply providing students with the ability to say “what up?” online – they also have the potential to be very powerful learning tools.

I was not entirely convinced of how useful this sort of technology could be in education until the end of this course: until I had used it for myself, and seen exactly how useful it could be. By using the typewith.me documents each week, reading fellow student’s blogs and other testimonials, I was able to see for myself exactly how helpful and truly enhancing it could be to use these things with my students. In fact, after reading about it during the first week of the class, I began using the site http://www.edmodo.com with my classes. I use the site to post homework assignments and questions, and even words of encouragement to my students. The students can then post questions of their own, comments to me, or even send documents to me from their home or school computers, which is especially helpful since the school district does not allow students to access email at school. I have also had my students sign up for google accounts so they have access to google documents; an invaluable tool for saving their work online and accessing it wherever they go.

The one Web 2.0 tool that I was concerned about using the classroom was blogs. Initially, I thought that the use of blogs in the classroom would be designed to revolve around some sort of project – with the idea that the students would place their finalized work on the blog, and then “submit it” for approval or review. While this idea is certainly workable, albeit complex, it seems like the addition of a blog to the process of a project is nothing more than an extra step.  Then it dawned on me that blogs could be successfully and easily integrated into a class to aid in the process of reflection. Reflection is an important part of the writing and learning processes, and I personally tend to engage in some form of reflection on a daily basis, be it written, verbal or internal. This process helps me think about my day, the success of my lessons, and reflect upon how the students did in class and what they learned. I have found that this process, whether it is formal or informal, helps me understand a lot about my teaching, what they are “getting” and what I really need to work on. It hit me that if I could have students post blog entries – which I could monitor through the use of a feed – it would be a great tool for student reflection.

Of course, Web 2.0 technology goes much deeper than this, and the ELAR’s reflect that depth. Component 1.2 of ELAR 1 dictates that students “Communicate and collaborate to learn with others.” In order to do so, students are meant to use a variety of formats, such as blogging, creating and editing documents online, using wikis, and creating websites. While student may communicate constantly by text, facebook, twitter and other means of social networking, it’s imperative that we get them to begin doing so not just for the sake of communication, but for the sake of learning. That is where technologies like google docs, epals, wikis and blogging come in. By integrating technology like this into the classroom, teachers can allow students to use the technological prowess that they already possess to work towards a set goal.

In the end, it’s really about getting students to learn and work with the skills and technologies that they’ll need in the “real-world” of the twenty-first century. We’re teaching students who have never known a world without the internet; student who ask for new phones and texting packages for their birthday presents rather than toys and games. And yes, these students know how to USE many of these tools, but it’s our job – my job – to teach them how to learn and collaborate with them.

Like I said in my technology creed:

“I believe it is my responsibility as a teacher to  ensure that my students understand, have access to, and are prepared to use technologies that will prepare the to be productive, ethical and collaborative members of our global community.”

Technology Creed

December 7, 2010

 

When I first heard about this assignment I was nervous, though not about actually creating the podcast or writing the script. I was nervous because I hate hearing my own voice on a recording. Once I got past that idea, it was simple, but time-consuming work to write and edit my script, decide which tools to use, and find the appropriate pictures. After perusing my options, I decided to use audacity to record the voice-over, and Windows Movie Maker (which I have used in the past) to create the video. I hope that you get something out of it!

Innovation?

November 28, 2010
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Reading through the blog posting from the Innovative Educator, I came across the following (albeit somewhat lengthy) chuck of text that I found particularly interesting: “Some teachers I speak with think they have a case against using technology in education after they explain that if students have access to all this information they’ll be able to cheat on tests and other assessments. I tell these teachers that in a “Whole New Mind World” we need to begin engaging in “know where” (to find it) rather then “know what” (the answer is) teaching…meaning it is more important to teach students how to access any information rather than memorize it. Ideally they’ll do something with the information that is more meaningful and authentic then placing answers in a test booklet.”

On one hand, I completely agree with the idea: I think that it’s very important that we teach students how easy it really is to find the information that is out there. We have such an enormous array of information at our fingertips that it would be a shame if we did not accurately and comprehensively teach students how to find it, and (more importantly) how to determine if the information that they find is good, quality information. Of course, this is a great way to integrate technology into the classroom, just as it’s a great way to foster an innovative mindset.

On the other hand, I think it’s important student build a traditional “knowledge-base” if you will. That is, I think that students need to know how to build from the ground up; that they are able to create knowledge for themselves rather than simply find it, or assume that it’s out there waiting for them to search for it. If students were to simply go through school knowing that they can find the information they need somewhere, I think that they would be missing out on one of the fundamental aspects of school. I’m not saying that they should simply memorize facts and take tests, but they need to take ownership of their own learning: they need to be able to synthesize information, not just assume that they can find someone else’s synthesis of that information.

The Innovative educator emphasizes that educators need to “begin engaging in “know where” (to find it) rather then “know what” (the answer is) teaching” – I disagree with this statement. I think that we need to do both. I know that this was not the intention, but to take it to the extreme, such a course could build extreme reliance on technology to a point that it would become a crutch rather than a method of enhancement.

The idea itself is not new – educators have been working for years to try to get students to try and find answers for themselves (in books, through interviews, by investigation) rather than simply asking a question and expecting a straight answer. Unfortunately (in my mind) technology has antiquated these methods of finding information, and has placed it (again) right at our fingertips – in essence, the world has grown lazier. Does this mean that we need to adapt to the process? Do we need to embrace the laziness that technology has allowed for? Who are we to assume that once the students find the information they need, that they will do “ something with the information that is more meaningful and authentic”, rather than just moving on?