Learn to be Bored

In today’s society, technology is normally described as only one of two things: a great improvement to our lives or our biggest nightmare. For the first ten weeks of this class, we have examined the truly awesome things we can do with technology and how we can incorporate it into the classroom. This week, all of the sources we explored discussed why technology is bad for us. Well which is it? The answer to this, like many other things, is balance. Technology was created for the advancement of society, and society certainly has advanced. With the help of computers and the internet, education alone is vastly different than ever before. On the other hand, that’s not what it’s used for most of the time. Why are we all so attached to our mobile devices? It can’t possibly be because it makes us happy. Like Rebecca Hiscott said, “The longer you’re on Facebook, the worse you feel.” I downloaded the Moment app, which keeps track of how often your phone is used, and it has opened my eyes to how much time I waste during the day. My first day using the app, I was on my phone about three hours. Granted, I watched Netflix  for an hour and a half of those hours, so I wasn’t on social media for that whole time. But I still wasn’t being productive. What would happen if I took back those hours?

Since my first day on Moment, I have spent less than an hour on my phone each day, but imagine how much time would be wasted spending three hours on my iPhone every day. In other words, that’s twenty-one hours per week, over eighty-four hours per month, and one thousand and ninety-five hours per year, totaling forty-five days of the year… If I consistently spent three hours on my phone every day for an entire year, I would lose forty-five whole days of that year.

Something that many people mentioned when lessening their time on the internet was boredom, and I can’t remember the last time I was truly bored. When I feel boredom even coming on, I scroll through my Instagram feed or watch my current show on Netflix. While technology cannot be avoided and has proven to be very beneficial in many situations, it also has detrimental effects. Personally, I need to learn to separate the good from the bad aspects of society and learn to be bored every once in a while.

Switching it Up

Due to scheduling conflicts over the past couple of weeks, Eli and I have not been able to meet. Instead I have been reciting the alphabet on my own as well as attempting to memorize the words he has taught me. Today, we were able to meet for the first time since before spring break. We, like every other lesson, went over the alphabet, but instead of showing three weeks’ worth of practice, my phonetics had actually gotten worse. Somehow all of the practice I did at home and in my free time over the past weeks didn’t show.This both confused and frustrated me.

I have to admit, even I’m getting bored with my Independent Learning Project blogs. Although attention to detail is crucial in learning a new language, it isn’t necessarily blog-worthy. I felt myself getting bored with the same lessons and repetitive blogs, so I asked Eli if we could switch it up a bit this week. First after going through the alphabet normally, I practiced how letters sound in words rather than just how they sound in the alphabet. Exiting right? Just wait, it gets better. After completing the alphabet, we went on a walk around campus while practicing words, phrases, and complete sentences.

This week’s lesson made me ponder two things. (1) In order to completely master a skill, not only is constant practice necessary but also attention to detail. My coaches always say they would rather players practice a skill slower while making sure it is done correctly than sloppily at full speed. This also applies to my Spanish-speaking endeavors. Instead of just practicing as much as possible, I need to make sure to practice well. (2) Students have more fun when they aren’t doing the same activities during every lesson. Every lesson Eli and I have had appealed especially to auditory learners because we were speaking and listening throughout. Later, we advanced to writing words and phrases which I (a visual learner) appreciated. Although I’m not a kinesthetic learner, today’s lesson has been my favorite. I loved getting to move around while still being productive. Most of all, I loved that it was different.

This got me thinking about my future classroom. In my high school English class, we did the same thing every day for years. While I didn’t mind, I’m sure some of my other classmates couldn’t help but be bored out of their minds. As teachers, we must remember to not only teach the method that is easiest or how we were taught but switch up our lessons to effectively teach the entire class.

Let’s Get Active

Before this week’s module, I had never heard of the term “digital activism.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise because, as I have stated many times, I’m not great with technology. However, after learning the basics of it, I did wonder if it had the same effect as non-digital or physical activism. While some nickname the phenomenon “slacktivism”, it is a great way for kids to find issues they are passionate about and get involved. Digital activism isn’t just posting your opinions. It is signing e-petitions, donating, reaching out to those in need, being a positive influence to your followers, etc. What is social media if not a place to share ideas?

I have never participated in digital activism, but as a teacher, I find the significance in it. Many have discussed the value of teaching kindness, and this is a great way to do so. Digital activism is also much safer than more traditional forms of activism. Students wouldn’t put themselves in any type of physical danger, and they can also post their opinions anonymously.

After researching some active teens, I was especially interested in Gabby Frost’s Buddy Project. A major problem in today’s teenage society is mental health. Many social media accounts have been created to encourage kindness and positivity, but Gabby Frost takes it a step further. With her Buddy Project, she pairs people with similar interests and of similar age. She is also working on creating an app to make the whole experience more convenient for herself and those who use the Buddy Project. The program also acts as a charity and sells t shirts and other merchandise to give profits to mental health organizations.  What a great influence for my students! Gabby, online sixteen, has already helped so many people feel loved and helped them make a friend as well as making money for the cause she is passionate about. Not to mention, she does the majority of the work all on her own with just a little help from close family. While Gabby’s has been very successful, I do not expect my students to all create substantial organizations like she has. Many of them may not know what issues might interest them, and many of them won’t have time to be as involved, but Gabby is a great role model for them to learn from.

My only concern, similar to digital citizenship, is how I can fit digital activism into my lesson plans. After teaching my students the content of my lesson while incorporating digital literacy, how will I find the time to teach my students about digital activism?

Being a Good Citizen

For most of the semester, we have been exploring what it means to be digitally literate and what that means as a teacher. In today’s society, technology is old news, so it’s important for technology to be integrated into the classroom as well, but what happens after we (teachers) and students are digitally literate? Should we only teach them how to master technology? It shouldn’t stop there.If we teach digital literacy to our students, we must also teach them digital citizenship.

Whether we like it or not, students use technology way more outside of the classroom than inside. They are checking a plethora of social media accounts before school, at lunch, in between classes, when their teacher aren’t paying attention, after school, etc. They tweet, share, favorite, like, post way more than their teachers and they realize. With this constant obsession with social media comes negative aspects as well. Teenagers in today’s society are prone to a type of bullying different than any other that came before: cyberbullying. Before the rise of technology, bullies had to vocally insult and their victims. Today, it is much easier to be cruel using social media. These websites also gives people an easy opportunity to witness unkind behavior and take no action.

What does this mean for my classroom? Well, I think if we are integrating technology and social media into the classroom, we should also teach students how to act while they are using it. This can begin as early as students start school, but at this age, students probably aren’t active on social media. By the time they get into my class (middle school or high school), they will most likely be active on multiple social media websites, which makes their knowledge of digital citizenship even more important. It takes little effort to learn almost everything about a person through their social media accounts, and what is posted is almost always permanent. Juan Enriquez talked about the long-lasting nature of social media posts by comparing them to tattoos. Tattoos give a representation of who you are, and social media activity does too. Would students like the electronic tattoos they have given themselves? Do they even realize they have done so?

This brings me to the question: should teachers be friends with their students on Facebook or follow their students on Instagram or Twitter? Katherine Sokolowski, a seventh grade teacher, allows her students to follow her on Instagram, so she can be a positive influence in their lives. I think that is a great idea. There is a lot of negative aspects and dangers in technology and especially social media, and students could use a positive role model on their feed reminding them how to portray themselves on social media.

“If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t Exist.”

Quote by Jimmy Whales

Throughout middle school, I and my classmates loved Googling ourselves to pass the time. Since we were so young, not many links or pictures that we found were actually about us, but we would see what other random things would turn up. Since, middle school, I haven’t spent much time doing this, so I was excited to see what has been added about myself to Google throughout the years.

To begin this task, I simply typed “Timmi Keisel” into Google. The first link that popped up took me to the Chadron State 2016 volleyball roster. Here I saw a few pictures from the season as well as some of my stats. The next link took me to my Facebook page. Although I check it more than I’m proud of, I don’t post much. My pages consists almost entirely of posts and pictures I am tagged in (by my mom mostly). The next couple websites were MaxPreps (showing my high school volleyball and basketball stats), an article about my signing to play volleyball at Chadron State College, and some of my social media sites (both Twitter accounts and my Instagram account). Over the past eight weeks, I have been the most active on the Twitter account for this class, and I haven’t even looked at my other account for a few months. I occasionally post (always appropriate) pictures on Instagram as well. Adding my middle name to the search uncovered newspaper articles about my high school graduation as well as a few family members’ obituaries who shared my middle name (Anne). I also explored my name in Google Images, and nothing too shocking appeared. I found countless pictures from high school sports, a few from FBLA, one picture of me as homecoming queen, and a few pictures relating to Chadron volleyball. I found some pictures of my sister playing sports as well as some other family members too.

From just a quick search, possible employers will learn that I was very active in extracurricular activities, especially athletics, in high school and that I play collegiate volleyball. I haven’t ever had a huge presence on social media, so my different accounts shouldn’t hinder my employment process.

Because technology has been integrated into most of society’s daily lives, it is critical for people to be conscious of their online presence. This may be even more critical in education. I have heard many teachers debate over whether or not they should be friends with or follow their students on social media. Some of my old teachers don’t mind being friends with their students to be updated on extracurricular events they participate in while others think it is inappropriate until their students graduate. Either way, teachers have a great responsibility in their online identity because they are looked up to as role models. If a teacher is posting rude or inappropriate things online, how can different behavior be expected of students?

 

I have included some of the Google images that came up if anyone is curious!

Journal Advocate1

Photo By: Journal Advocate

Chadron State College Athletics

Photo By: Chadron State College Athletics

Journal Advocate

Photo By: Journal Advocate

South Platte Sentinel

Photo By: South Platte Sentinel

Taking a Moment to Reflect

Digital literacy… Coming into this class, I wasn’t quite sure what those words meant and how they would affect both my education and my future classroom. During my prior schooling, technology was first being implemented into the classroom. I remember utilizing a tool called “Type to Learn” all throughout elementary. Then in middle school, my class started learning how to use different Microsoft applications. In Language Arts, we focused mostly on Microsoft Word but also Publisher and PowerPoint, and we briefly learned about Microsoft Excel in some of my other classes. Promethean Boards were first being introduced in my school at this time as well. In high school, I had to blog only a few times, but my technological knowledge did not grow much. My mother, who is the sixth grade teacher at Fleming School has begun to implement different technological tools into her classroom, and other teachers have been doing the same.

Because I didn’t have much prior experience of using technology in the classroom, I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this class, but I was definitely excited to expand my current knowledge level. This class has done that and so much more. Other than just learning how to use technology for my education, I have greatly enjoyed learning how to implement it in my future classroom as well. Something I have loved about this class is that we are not taught what to think about technology and/or what resources to use. Instead, we are encouraged to research and discover for ourselves what will be useful in our classrooms.

My favorite module so far has been Module Six. During this week, we chose an approach to learning and researched it. This was my favorite because it really made me think about the way in which I am going to teach my class. All of the optional approaches were useful and applicable in different situations, but I thought it was really fun to think about my personal pedagogical theory and how I want my students to learn. The toughest module so far has been the one focused on digital storytelling, week seven. At first, it was a tough concept for me to grasp, and I had to do a lot of digging to fully understand what ds106 was. However, after I did gain a better knowledge of it, I found it to be really interesting and definitely found benefits to implementing digital storytelling into my future classroom.

There isn’t one specific topic I wish to learn about during the remainder of the semester, but I am looking forward to becoming more prepared to incorporate fun and beneficial technology into my future classroom.

The Power of Progress

This week’s session was just like any other. We started with the alphabet; however, rather than taking over ten minutes to pronounce all of them correctly, I finished this week’s alphabet in record time (probably, I didn’t actually time it). Although Eli was jokingly bragging that it was only because he was such a good teacher, it was so great to see progress! We then moved on to the bathroom terms again. I found that I was able to remember more words and meanings than our last session. We moved on to phrases using some of the bathroom terms, and we ended this week’s session going over a few new words.

Eli and I have also begun greeting each other in Spanish. Although these conversations are very brief, it is great to have to have to think on my toes about what each word means. It sparks conversations with those around us as well. People seem really interested in the fact that I’m learning Spanish! I also like the way my name sounds with a Spanish accent better than the way I say it (the Spanish version sounds like “Theemee”)! Today, in a class Eli and I have together, he asked me what I would say if I needed to use the restroom and was very impressed that I remembered, “Necesito ir al banol.”

Something substantial I noticed from this week’s session was a gain in confidence. After reciting the alphabet (almost) perfectly, the rest of the session was completely different. I was more confident in reciting words as well as their meanings. Moving on to phrases, my accent was smoother, and I think it was because I was more confident in my Spanish-speaking abilities.

After our session, I began thinking about my future classroom and the importance of progress. Not every student will be an A+ student by the end of the year, but I as a teacher need to recognize the progress they do make to build their confidence. Being a positive role model for my students will inspire them to do the same for other people in their lives. As students, teachers and just as humans, I think we too often focus on what we didn’t do; however, we must always remember the power of progress.

 

 

I also included two pictures of notes I have taken from our most recent sessions. At this point, the bathroom terms are review, and the phrases are becoming more familiar. The terms in the last picture are new to me.