Monday, March 12, 2012

AUPs:

Acceptable Internet Use Policies are established to ensure the safe and proper use of the internet and other technological devices. According to the Virginia Department of Education, AUPs are written documents signed by the students, parents/guardian, and teachers outlining the terms and conditions for using technology at school. As technology continues to skyrocket, it is so important for students to understand the risks and dangers of the internet. Therefore, establishing a thorough and effective AUP is a must! This is the age of social networking: facebook and twitter. People are constantly putting their personal lives on display without second thought or hesitation. School technology is not intended for social interaction unless it supports the learning of relevant academic curriculum. Over the years, technology has proven to be a fun and efficient way to promote learning and understanding. However, technology can also be a major distraction for some students if they do not stay on task and use it properly. AUPs address network security, actions that are prohibited pertaining to technology use, consequences for violating the terms, etc. The importance of AUPs cannot be expressed enough, especially since we live in such a technology dependent society.


"Acceptable Internet Use Policy." VDOE ::. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/safety_crisis_management/internet_safety/acceptable_use_policy.shtml>.
Gender Gap:


Currently, I am sitting in the library's computer lab and there are thirteen females and only one male. This is a a recurring theme throughout Virginia Wesleyan College. Most of my classes consist of female students. According to 2011, Virginia Wesleyan Fact Sheet, 62 percent of the student population is female. 64 percent of the Freshman class consists of female students. Throughout my research on the gender gap, I learned that this is a recurring trend across the nation. Women are more likely to succeed academically in grades K-12 and thus, more likely to attend college. Richard Whitmire (former USA Today editorial writer and author of Why Boys Fail), explains to Education Next that boys are more likely to drop out of high school, are not doing well on tests when compare to girls, and have overall lower grades than their female peers. Because of this vast  disparity, colleges are admitting male students using lower standards as a result of less competition. In order to maintain a diverse equilibrium in colleges and universities, admissions offices all over the nation are admitting males that are sometimes less competent than female applicants. There are many factors that contribute to this gap, some of which include societal ideas about gender roles and stereotyping. However, gender is not a definitive characteristic of whether one succeeds or fails. There are many demographics that must be considered when considering success in the classroom. It is important to try and make the education system as impartial to gender, race, nationality, creed, etc. as possible. The way a person is born should not determine whether or not that person is successful. It is important for educators to maintain high and equal expectations for all students regardless of gender and avoid bias. Studies have shown that higher expectations result in higher achievement.

"Education Next." Gender Gap :. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <http://educationnext.org/gender-gap/>.

"Fact Sheet 2011." Virginia Wesleyan College. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <http://www.vwc.edu/about-us/fact-sheet-2011.php>.
Fair Use:

Educators frequently use the works and ideas of others to substantiate or support a subject that is being taught in class. In order to appeal to different learning styles and to teach an idea more thoroughly, it is important to have diverse information from varying credible and helpful sources. Thus, it is imperative for teachers to understand the copyright and fair use laws that establishes what materials are allowed to be used in the classroom and under what circumstances it would be a violation to use certain sources. According to an article from The University of Maryland University College, there are many factors to consider when determining whether copyright information is being used fairly. Some of these factors include whether or not the information will be used repeatedly. In this case the educator must attain permission from appropriate persons involved. How much copyrighted work is being used in a lesson, how much the "new work" differs from the original work being used, and the proportion of the work being used are all important factors to think about when making decisions of fair use. The author of the work should always be acknowledged and given credit for their contributions to the new work produced. Making multiple copies of a work, instead of buying the books or any act that will affect the success of the author is not fair use.

"Copyright and Fair Use in the UMUC Online or Face-to-Face Classroom." Copyright and Fair Use. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <http://www.umuc.edu/library/libhow/copyright.cfm>.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Child Safety:


In order to provide students with an efficient and comfortable atmosphere in the classroom, teachers must establish a safe and stable learning environment. Developing a consistent sanitation routine is very important in order to maintain a healthy and clean classroom. Instilling the importance of hand washing and covering one's mouth properly is very important to maintaining a sanitary environment. Students should not have to worry about catching illnesses or being harmed in any way, shape, or form. Their only focus should be attaining the adequate information and knowledge needed to move forward in school and in life. It is also important to prevent accidents among students by establishing rules such as personal space boundaries and overall respect for others. Promoting tolerance and understanding will hopefully prevent tension and confrontation in the classroom. As students learn the importance of accepting and appreciating diversity, the learning environment will become more harmonious and enjoyable. Child safety is a vital issue in the education system and being able to provide a more comfortable atmosphere for students will produce a more efficient learning environment for students.

Digital Divide

Digital Divide:

As the production of technology continues to increase rapidly, some students are falling behind as a result of lack of access. For example, students of low socio-economic status and students in certain locations have limited access to technology and thus, limited access to information. As assignments become more dependent on various forms of technology (typed assignments, research papers, power points, presentations, online quizzes, etc. ), it becomes increasingly difficult for students with limited access to keep up with their peers. Furthermore, the quality of equipment plays a factor in the digital divide between students. For example, students that attend schools with limited funds are unlikely to have access to updated computers.

"Distance Education and the Digital Divide: An Academic Perspective." The University of West Georgia. Web. 09 Mar. 2012. <http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/spring131/block131.html>.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Language Diversity


Language Diversity:
According to Mary J. Drucker's article, "What reading teachers should know about ESL learners", the number of ELLs or English Language Learners is growing rapidly. It is becoming increasingly important for educators to become aware of varying cultural factors that may impact the development or success of students in an English based classroom. Thus, it is imperative for educators to develop many different strategies that appeal to the needs of the ESL (English is a second language) learners. Some of these many strategies include, “shared reading,” which is when the students and the teacher read together from a single, enlarged text. This allows students to hear the pronunciation of English words while observing the text. Often times, a student may have difficulty comprehending text because they are not familiar with American customs and schemas. So, another effective method to promote success in the classroom, would be selecting texts that “match the cultural schemata and background knowledge of ELL students” (26). Furthermore, it is important for teachers to be cognizant of the fact that English is a language in which there are many “irregular sound-letter correspondences,” so many students may have difficulty grasping phonology in the English language. It is important to remain understanding,patient, and to provide a comfortable and positive learning environment for these students so that they do not get discouraged. 

Mary J.Drucker. What Reading Teachers Should Know About ESL Learners. 2003 International Reading Association (pp 22-29)