Sunday, March 25, 2012

Social Networking

Social networking is embedded into our society by means of communication, entertainment, politics and education. The people of the United States are second in internet usage at 78.2% and are only out done by the people of the United Kingdom at 82% ( People have become so accustom to having instant access to information and real time communication with friends, family and peers that even commercials are being made with reference to “that was so 10 minutes ago”. The popularity of social networks and the desire to understand the pros and cons, and the impact of our technology usage lead me to read about social networking. I am very interested in looking at the formation and usage of social networks for educators and students. The articles I read were Examining Social Software in Teacher Education, PEW Internet Project Data Memo PEW / INTERNET and National Study Ranks City Governments' Use of Social Media, from Science Daily, March 22, 2012.
Richard Ferdig (2007) from the University of Florida takes a look the usage of social software and suggests that with proper usage social media can be advantageous to learning; however, without constraints social software can be the downfall for some teachers and classrooms. Ferdig explains there are four theoretical concepts to adhere to when using social software. The first concept of the constructivist theory is to set the learning objective at the high end of the students “Zone of Proximal Development” (Ferdig, 2007).  The software should then be able to scaffold the student to higher learning. The second concept is having active participation from the learner. The learner who is actively engaged in the learning will find the process more enjoyable. This goes hand-in hand with Carl Rogers’s experimental learning theory of engaged learning and student driven curriculum. The third theory is for students to produce artifacts and generate feedback and reflection from the artifacts. It is through the feedback from other students that new ideas and concepts are learned by students (Ferdig, 2007). Ferdig explains that blogs is an excellent means of feedback. The fourth concept is “learning occurs through centripetal participation in the learning curriculum of the ambient community” (Ferdig, 2007).
Ferdig goes on to say that although we have various tools for social networking such as blogs, wikis and social bookmarks, email is still a very good tool for communication. Also as technology is moving much faster and faster, the use of hand held devices is becoming the technology of choice among many people. The important factor to keep in mind for students is to have enough instruction/engagement to keep the student on task. Otherwise, the student will find a way to fill the time using technology and not necessarily curriculum driven usage. Ferdig also mentions other articles addressing social networking and gaming.
            The PEW Internet Project Data Memo by Amanda Lenhart reported on data showing the percentage of various uses of the internet in 2008.  Some the information includes that 35% of adult Americans use social networks compared to 65% of teens. The breakdown of social networks also is arranged by age showing the largest group of adults using social networking is 18-24 at 75% and the lowest is over 65 at 7%. In 2008 most of the users went to; however, Facebook is now the most used social network among young and old alike (March 2012,  In 2008 the reasons for using social network was 51% to 43% with the larger percentage for personal use verse professional (Lenhart, 2009). Today people are still using social networking for personal reasons; however, the reasons are varies from current communication and finding old classmates, to sharing current events and professional uses. Also, the age of Americans using social networking is rising.
            Lenhart goes on to report the demographics of age, race, sex, annual household income, education and locale (urban, suburban and rural) and the usage of social networks. The report compares Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, the use of a profile or deleted profile and political likeness and differences.  The data was collected from telephone surveys of 47 questions including the questions about the different social networking sites the user used, how often the user was on a social network and why the profile was used or deleted. The data from this report was collected between April 8 to May 11 2008 from 2,251 adults 18 and older and from November 19 to December 20, 2008 from 2253 Americans including 1650 internet users. The report had a 2-3 point margin of error.
            The last article is from Science Daily, March 12, 2012, National Study Ranks City Governments' Use of Social Media. Karen Mossberger and YonghongWu, both administrative graduate students, from University of Illinois collected data from 75 of the U.S. largest cities to determine the capabilities of civilian use of online communications. Seattle and New York ranked first and second respectively in the innovation and use of technology for their populations. Chicago, San Diego and Minneapolis tied for 17th, while Toledo ranked last of the 75 (Science Daily, 2012). Mossberger and Wu also found the use of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were most commonly used to by civilians. The percentage of cities using Twitter increase from 25% to 87% since 2009, Facebook increase by 13% and YouTube by 16% (Science Daily, 2012). There are twelve cities using open portals, which allow users access to city statistics such as crime, building permits, vacant properties and other matters. Seattle is trying a software that allows the users to make suggestions and also for others to comment on the suggestions. You can find the complete report at
            As an educator the information from these articles could be used in various methods. The first article Examining Social Software in Teacher Education gives an outline of methodology to obtain student learning when using social networking. To set the scene for learning the educator must know where the student is currently and set goals at the high end of the ZPD so the learner can achieve at the highest level. The educator must also remember to set artifact goals to show learning and encourage feedback to help develop new ideas. The second and third articles were basically statistical data of social networking. In a high school setting this information may be helpful in a business class and to help students develop problems for research. I see the second and third articles more useful at the undergrad or graduate level while doing research.  
Ferdig, R. (2007). Editorial: Examining Social Software in Teacher Education. Journal of Technology & Teacher Education, pp. 5,10.
Lenhart, A. (2009). Adult and social networking sites. Retrieved January 9, 2010, from
Science Daily, March 12, 2012, National Study Ranks City Governments' Use of Social Media

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Experimental Learning

The theory I am looking at is experimental learning by Carl Rogers. I think it is valuable to know first that Carl Rogers felt that people were basically good (Boeree,C.) and trust was essential between the client/therapist and learner/teacher ( .  Rogers believed a teacher did not teach another person; instead, a teacher was a facilitator to aid in engaging the learner. A theory Rogers developed was the actualizing tendency (Boeree,C.), which simply states that people will achieve to their fullest potential. Rogers did not just apply this theory to humans, but to all living things. Rogers explained that people and all living when left to choose without outside or environmental influence will do what is best for self; however, humans and all living things are influenced by environmental and societal factors.
Taking a closer look at actualization or self-values verses societal influences explains further Rogers’ ideas of the learner/client knows what is best for self. First the living thing experiences organismic valuing, or knowing what is good or bad because of senses and trusting our senses. Next is positive regard, which is the instinctive need for love, affection and affirmation. Positive self-regard  follows knowing one’s self-worth, having self-esteem and a positive self-image. Rogers then explains that because we do not live in a vacuum, but instead are surrounded by various values and opinions we become tainted and begin to doubt our self-worth and capabilities. Humans look for acceptance and think our positive regard and  positive self-regard are conditional depending on others values. This is the cause for the difference of real-self forming from actualization (individual values) and ideal-self forming society values. Rogers explained the gap of real-self and ideal-self is called incongruity. The further we are from where or what society expects from us the more incongruity, which means more suffering.

Rogers’ theory also stated it was essential for the learner to have an interpersonal relationship with the teacher.  The development of the interpersonal relationship needed to have three basic  characteristics. First, the teacher needs to be “real” or sincere (what you see is what you get). Second, are prizing, acceptance and trust, which say to the learner that his or her opinion and feelings are acknowledged and important. Also the learner needs to feel the teacher will hold the feelings confidential and trust in the capabilities of the learner. The third  characteristic is empathic understanding. Here the teacher has an understanding of the learner’s feelings about education and the process of education (

Carl Rogers’ theories of client-centered therapy and experimental learning in education support the current trend in education of making learning relevant to the learner through guided facilitation of projects. As educators we are faced with the challenge of engaging students and taking ownership for their learning, whether in a traditional classroom or web-based instruction. However, educators in the traditional classroom would have an easier time of developing a relationship with the learner because they can look at the learner, read body language and have the opportunity to see reactions to various teaching strategies. Educators taking the challenge of web-based instruction need to develop lessons that will engage learners without any personal contact. This can be done by offering a variety of choices to accomplish the same objective. Also the instructor needs to be available to give feedback very quickly. I feel the instructor needs to be very flexible and accepting of the different levels of experience. The one issue educators of web-based instruction do not have to deal with is the influence from the classroom environment. Students are allowed to be their real-self rather than the ideal-self. In Rogers theory that would allow the learner to achieve at an optimum level.


Boeree, C,G.,  Carl Rogers 1902-1987,
Carl Rogers, Core Conditions and Education,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Soical Media Networking

I found this week’s assignment an extension of week three and I was very glad I had the opportunity to go back to Diigo and explore the different groups available to join. I actually joined two groups the week we looked at Diigo bookmarking. I joined Diigo in Education and Collaborize Classroom week three of our assignments. I was not sure what to expect from joining the group. I get an email daily with updates on education. I find the emails very easy to sift through, because each update has a brief description of the article/news. If I find the article of interest I can then read it and if not I can move on or delete the entire email. Collaborize Classroom is a site that allows teachers, administration, guardians and students to communicate. This week I joined Edutopia because many of the videos we watched in this class were from Edutopia. I thought this may be a good source for research in technology and science education. WeAreTeachers is the final group I joined. This group has many opportunities for lessons and for applying for grants.  

The social media groups I explored are valuable to young and old alike. As adults social media groups allow for communication of ideas for learning and to pass along new information on content and technology. Teachers and parents can communicate about student progress. Young people are able to continue discussions from class and they can also do group projects. I can think of many positive uses for social media in the classroom. Students can keep track of assignments, groups can work outside the classroom, parents can communicate with teachers and administrators and this is only the beginning of social media use. It can only think of a couple of negative issues to overcome in the use of social media. First, not every student has access to technology; therefore the mandatory use of technology cannot be implemented. Second, student and adult communication would need to be monitored to be sure no bullying or poor choice discussions are occurring.

At this time in my life I would probably spend my time in a social network with professional appeal, such as Edmodo or Collaborize Classroom. I have very little spare time and I try to accomplish as much as I can with as few steps. Using an educational social network could help me with lesson planning and research. Another advantage to using an educational site would benefit my students.  Right now the only drawback is that all my students do not have access to technology so I cannot use the site to present and track lessons or have students do work together outside the classroom.

I have found this assignment to be very helpful and I will continue to use Diigo in Education for daily updates in education.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I found the exploration of games, simulations and virtual reality to be a fun and educational assignment. As an educator I feel these three venues of technology could be extremely useful not only as skill builders, but also as content builders that promote project based learning (Horizon Report, 2011).

I checked Channel4Learning, . This is a science site for users between the ages of 11 - 14. I checked out two of the games in this site. The first game was about fashion. The user created a player then went out to shop realizing the need for money to purchase items and also learning about the fashion industry, textiles and details of each product. I think this would be an interesting method of presenting foundation information for young people interested in fashion. This game will enables the user to experience some different aspects of the fashion industry. The second game was all about energy. The game started the same way with creating a player. I like this game much more because there was audio and literary interaction. The game tracked use of human and industrial energy, along with using various types of energy. This game does promote content building as mentioned in The Horizon 2011 K12 Edition.

The site I explored for simulation was Walking with Dinosaurs. I first played the game as a visitor. I was able to incubate a dinosaur and then create an environment and feed the dinosaur to grow into an adult. I found the game to be for very young users. I then checked the tab that has clips from videos produce by BBC.  This section of the site was very insightful. I have shown Walking with Dinosaurs to my students and it would have been an effective use of time, if I could have shown short clips and then have a discussion with my students. Also this site has new productions that I would be able to show without cost. I can see were these clips could be used to help students work of projects.

I visited three different virtual reality sites. The first site was Gaia, . I was first able to create a virtual person, which I enjoyed creating. Then there were many options to click on and investigate. I only opened a couple of the choices and the screens were very complicated to use; therefore I did not investigate this site any further. The choices were concentrated around daily issues teen might face. The second site I visited was Virtual Cell , . I really wanted to investigate this site because I am a life science high school teacher. However, after registering with this site I was not able to log on. I found the site Geology Explorer and it is made by the same designers as Virtual Cell. I found this site to be very instructional. I took a quiz at the beginning and was given goals at different sections of the scenario. At one point I logged out and then went back to the site. I was able to pick-up at the same point at which I left. I would have my students use this site for independent study. The only problem I found with the site is it did not give any feedback to the quiz or choices made when attempting to complete goals set-up in the site. In a report prepared by Strangeman and Hall, several authors reported that although they could see that the users were having fun with virtual reality, they could not find evidence of learning by the users. I cannot disagree more with the authors. I would have to believe those findings are based on the time of the research from 1992 - 2002. Technology has certainly made tremendous growth since then and content learning as been included in virtual reality.

Although I do not have the technology to explore augmented reality, I did find the videos very interesting to watch. Reading a story to young children certainly looks and with glasses with will feel very different than the traditional bedtime story. I always wonder how people come up with all of these ideas, but with the push for STEM and project learning I think the sky/space is the limit.


Johnson, L., Adams, S., and Haywood, K., (2011). The NMC Horizon Report:2011 K-12 Edition.
           Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2010). The 2010 Horizon Report:K-12            
          Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 Horizon  
          Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Strangeman, N. & Hall, T., Virtual Reality/Simulations. National Center on Accessing the General

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Open Content and Ethics

Until this week I was not aware of open content. The idea of open content is really quite interesting and as reported in the Horizon Report K12 (2011),  the ability to tweak material to fit personal needs is a huge step forward for education. I know for myself without exception I use materials that are not exactly what I would like to use in the classroom. I believe if teachers could personalize the material being used the students would benefit. I find the material in a text that is not covered is disruptive to the cognitive process. Also if open content is used in the classroom teachers and students alike would have the most current information at a minimal cost.

Although I like the idea of having the ability to alter someones work, if I were an author I am not sure I would be able to agree with idea. In science for example, if some text is removed then it is possible that the meaning or credibility of the material could be changed. With the meaning being changed and still having my name attached could make it appear as though I was giving false information. Open content for teachers and being able to personalize material can be very effective; however an author could feel any altering of the material could relay incorrect information.

I understand the concept of open content; but as I think of people sharing their creative ideas in whatever area they are interested in I cannot understand why they would want someone else to change it. I know others have great ideas to add or critique work and for that very reason it is good Creative Commons allows authors of creative works to determine the type of creative protection they want to tag to their work.

The use of ebooks is very popular and the Horizon Report (2011), suggests that the next step to go along with the ebooks will be interactive capabilities. As an educator I think interactive possibilities with ebooks would be beneficial to students. I demonstrate dissection to my students through interactive technology and it is effective in giving my students experience of what to expect when they do a hands-on dissection.

I think we have all experienced researching a topic and having to jump through several hoops before being able to access academic material. It is very frustrating and then when you finally find something and do not bookmark it, then trying to get the information back can be just as frustrating as finding it the first time. Karen Coyle reported in the New York Times (March 16, 2010), C-Span the network that reports on the government has released all the videos the general public. Cornell University released restrictions on files held by the university for use not only for students, but also for the general public (May 18, 2009 internetarchives). I do not understand why there are such tight restrictions on accessing academic information and the release of such restrictions would encourage the general public to look for more research based information.

The concept of open content, ebooks for reading and interaction and the ability to tag the work with the creative protection desired is very controversal and in my opinion will fill the courts with undue activity. I do believe the concepts are here to stay and to keep up with technology and current information educators should learn how to manipulate their way through the process.


Coyle, K., (March 16, 2010) New York Times

Creative Commons.

Internetarchives. (May 18, 209)

Johnson, L., Adams, S., and Haywood, K., (2011). The NMC Horizon Report:2011 K-12 Edition.
Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 Horizon
Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Monday, January 23, 2012

In the Clouds

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          title="Wordle: Algae Research"><img
          alt="Wordle: Algae Research"
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This week has truly been a challenge for me. Somehow I opened another blog account with a different email and then clicked the box that kept me logged in. I was able to find my original account, but not able to access it for any updates. It took a great deal of time and moving back and forth through the screens and using different passwords, but I finally figured out what happened. Although this has been a very challenging week, I can say without a doubt it has also been very rewarding in the fact that I feel more confident using technology.

As I was browsing around the cloud educational sites I was looking something I could use now in my classroom. I found Collaborize Classroom:Online Education Technology for Teachers and Students, . This site allowed me to set-up classes and communicate assignments. This site also allows communication between students, teachers and parents. I see how students could use this for group projects or to discuss ideas. This site could be used for students absent or days missed because of whether delays. I joined the site and looked around, but I did not actually take this back to my classroom. This site works much like the Edmodo site. Once again this technology leaves me wishing all of my students had access to technology so I could effectively implement this into my classroom.

Another site I found Algae-Fuel-Research-Oilage-Blog, I choose this site because of my involvement with the LEADERS program and alternative energy. I am extremely interested in the research being done with algae. My Biology II class is going to begin to do a project with algae and I want them to learn various means of gathering data. I think reading the most current work being completed by scientist in different parts of the world and throughout various industries helps our students to realize the magnitude of the need and work that goes into changing our world.

The third site I am sharing is Free Gradebook for Teachers -LearnBoost
Although I am using a web-based gradebook through TPS, I wanted to see a if another site would offer a more flexible method of recording and maintaining attendance and grades. I set-up two classes and added on assignment. I would have to use it more to see if I would recommend using it on a regular basis. I am giving OGT work now in my classes and I do not want to add a grade everyday in the TPS system, but I do want to add a grade for the quarter. I am going to use this site to keep track of the student work, instead of using paper and pencil. I will let you know what I think of the product in about 6 weeks.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I found this week's assignment very challenging; however, I feel becoming familiar with using clouds and bookmarking would be a great time saver for teachers and students. The use of Clouds in the classroom would allow us to save material in the library when we are there using the computers and then access the material later at another computer. The students can begin word documents and save them. They can also work on documents in groups without having to start over or copy and paste materials into another document. I think teachers and students would benefit by using bookmarking because we could go instantly to the site of interest, instead of searching for the information. The use of tagging would allow us to group our work into catagories so it is easier to find.

I feel this is a huge step in the right direction to use technology, but we all know if you don't use it you loose it. Therefore, I am going to incorporate these techniques into my research and lesson planning.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Blogging & Twittering

This class has forced my hand at setting up a Blog and Twitter account. I have been extremely unaware of the use of types of accounts. I was also completely unaware of the number of people using this form of technology to communicate.

Blogging has most definitely taken me by surprise. I had no idea of the number of people using a Blog to communicate about such a wide variety of topics. I used a blog site set-up for one of my other classes and we posted a couple of communications within the blog; however, I have learned we did not use it to its' full potential. I spent some time moving through Blogger's Choice Awards and found very interesting material that could be useful to me for school, my classes and RCIA classes at church. I found the nature of the blogs that I checked to be interesting, intellectual and believable. The2009 Horizon Report K12 Edition metioned the use of communition tools merging use by the public within that year 2009. Blogging is another tool that allows people to communicate information and opinions, but in a more detail method than twitter. Using a blog in education can be extremely useful. Teachers and students can communicate ideas and ask and answer questions. In the state of Ohio legislature is looking for a method of communicating with students during days they are not able to attend because of bad weather. Using a blog such as Edmodo can give students assignments and display grades. Students can also communicate with each other for group work or to help each other.  I have actually set-up an Edmodo account for all my classes, but I do not utilize it because so many of my students do not have access to a computer. I have also learned that TPS administration does not want teachers using any social network until they can make rules for the useres.

Setting up a Twitter account and beginning to use the account has actually been fun. I had only heard about different stars making comments on Twitter and I wondered what the real purpose of this form of communication was really accomplishing. I learned that Twitter is about communicating what is going on in my life at the moment or maybe extending an opinion to someone that I may be following. The 2010 Horizon Report K12 Ediction metioned how the collaboration between the media and social networks such as Twitter. I also check the Twitter Counter. I was amased that all twitts are being counted and even estamated for one day in the future. It is an instant method of delivering a message to followers as David Pogue mentioned in Pogue's Posts. I choose to follow Bill Nye, Science News, Dr. Lambert and a cohort in the LEADERS program. I checked everyday to see if I received a response. I am actually excited to communicate with my cohort from LEADERS because we are partners in delivering professional development. This type of communication can be used in the same fashion for my students. Using Twitter in education can be an asset by asking and answering questions quickly and instantly.