social media in education

Which Social Media Should Be Allowed in Schools?

Social networks dominated by Facebook now account for 22.7 percent of the hours spent in front of a computer, a leap of 43 percent over last year’s figures.

education reformAccording to the Neilson Co. report, the shift to social networks for communication caused a precipitous drop in email and instant messaging. Time spent emailing was down 28 percent and instant messaging dropped 15 percent.

If you don’t know what all the social networking stuff is, check out these two YouTube videos. They explain social networking in Plain English.

The question for schools is, how much of this should be let into the education environment. It’s way beyond the internet now. We’re talking about:

  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • internet access to email

These are all banned at my school. Yet, these are the sites that have kids excited about learning–excited about technology. So what are we doing? We’re cutting off the most effective avenue for keeping students interested in school because we’re afraid of them. (more…)

Tech Tip #7: Making Backgrounds Transparent

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q:  When I insert my picture, the background isn’t transparent, so it covers everything behind it. I want it see-through. How do I do that? BTW, I’m using Publisher.

A:  There are two ways, one simpler than the other. (more…)

hourglass

Life Wisdom From Your Computer #4: Hourglassing

Everyone who has used a computer understands the annoying, time-wasting hourglass. You’re trying to perform magic on a deadline and the computer screen pops up with an hourglass that lazily pours sand … for. Ever. You think it’ll continue until Harvard wins the Super Bowl

The computer moves on when it’s ready, with complete disregard for your frustration.

There’s a lesson here. Life includes predictable, spontaneous hourglassing. Patience is the key. We teach our kids that patience is a virtue, but we don’t embrace it as our own. Anger won’t get rid of the hourglass and stress won’t make it go faster. Sit down, relax, check your email if it takes too long.

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words – wait and hope” (Alexandre Dumas)

book review

God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World.

Here’s a book I think you’d enjoy. I discovered it through a fellow blogger, Yankee Sailor. It’s a testament to the strength America derives from our concept of religious freedom. That’s a freedom we take for granted, but few other nations in the world share that attitude:

The Soft Power Of Religious Freedom

Posted by Yankee Sailor in Foreign Policy, Religion on 22Jun09.

Foreign Policy notes two British scholars find soft power in an unexpected place: (more…)

book review

You Have Permission to Disrupt Class

Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

by Clayton M. Christensen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clayton Christensen offers a believable and intuitive approach to fixing our staggering American educational system. In a nutshell: people learn in different ways (no surprise here; it’s a well-documented theory). Teachers too often teach one way (or two or three–the point being, teachers standardize. I understand. I’ve been a teacher most of my life. One of us and many of them in a classroom). His solution: Use 21st century technology and Web 2.0 to individualize lessons to suit needs. (more…)

Does Homeschooling Work? Yes

Homeschooled Children Continue Outperforming Their Public School Counterparts ashomeschool

Homeschooling Increases in Popularity

In America, there was a time when the idea of homeschooling raised eyebrows of concern and could result in a visit from social services. A lack of trust by the government and public in general in a parent’s ability to educate their own children made homeschooling a bit of a stigma.

Even today in some circles, there are still many “old school” thinkers that go so far as to say that homeschooling is tantamount to deliberate child abuse. As ridiculous as that sounds to most of us, overcoming such ignorance has been a problem for some parents looking into homeschooling.

Overseas, it can be much worse. Homeschooling is illegal in Germany, a law instituted under Hitler and still enforced today. German families who choose to home school must do so in secret and run the risk of arrest; or worse, having the state take their children away.

Performance of home schools versus public and private schools

It doesn’t take much effort or investigation to discover that homeschoolers excel above their public school counter parts in nearly every category. According to a study conducted by Dr. Lawrence Rudner:

• The average home schooled 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average.

• One in four home school students are enrolled in a grade level that is above their age level.

• In every grade and in every subject, home schooled students outperform both public and private school students.

Other studies confirm these findings, showing that home schooled students have a much higher college entry rate, score higher on SAT’s and ACT’s, have a higher rate of college graduation, and earn higher incomes in the workforce.

(more…)

Tech Tip #5: Reveal a Program

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: Some programs hide the taskbar when they open (especially for young children–like KidPix). How do I access other programs without closing down the one I’m working on?

A: Push the Flying Windows key (it’s between Ctrl and Alt). That brings up the start menu as well as exposing the taskbar. Now, you can access open programs on the taskbar and/or new programs from the start menu. (more…)