Sunday, May 24, 2009

21st Century Skills!!!

It's been awhile since I've posted anything but I'm back and have lots to say about incorporating 21st century skills into our schools. I just finished viewing the website "partnership for 21st century schools and I thought it was AWESOME! I am no stranger to the concept of creating 21st century schools. Earlier in the school year my principle emailed everyone a report about New Jersey and 21st century skills. New Jersey (state I live and teach in) is in the process of turning its highschool into 21st century schools. Unfortunatetly our schools today are still geared towards 19th century life/jobs. How are we preparing our students for their futures if we are two centuries behind? Answer is simple: WE'RE NOT!!! Many college professors and businesses have complained about how ill prepared our students were once they reached their schools or businesses. The best solution to the problem is to find out what our students were lacking and find a way to make it better and right for our future graduating seniors. New Jersey like a few other states are busy rewriting curriculum and redesigning schools that will produce better quality students.
Regardless of whether we like it or not, the world is changing and education has to get on the bandwagon of change. Our students are living in an age of technological innovations and its only going to keep on changing and getting more technical! When it comes to the website and their mission I agree with them 100%! We must change all of our schools for the better and make sure that all students regardless of their socioeconomic status have access to this new 21st century learning. They must be taught to think critically, think on their feet, and be literate not in only in reading and writing but in technology. Once our schools begin changing our students will be placed in a position where they can better compete in our global society. Any thoughts? Please share.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blogging in the Classroom!

I knew very little about the world of blogging before taking my technology course for my master's program. I have seen them and written a response here and there but was never sure of how I could use "blogging" with my students. As I learn more about the world of blogging I am very excited to incorporate this style of learning with my students in September.
I currently teach history to 9th and 10th grade ESL at Newark Tech High School. Luckily I teach the same group of students for two years in a row, this allows me to know my students well enough to get busy creating a blog over the summer they will enjoy and benefit from. I have spent sometime brainstorming with some of colleagues on creating a blog(s). We all decided that a blog would give our students the opportunity to interact with one another in a new way as well as give them the opportunity to share ideas with students in other grade levels. Using a blog as a teaching tool will help students read, think, and write more critically. Critical thinking skills are lacking for the students in our school, this would be a new and more interesting way for them to improve their thinking skills. One of the best ways to do this is to assign an id number or tag name for each student to encourage them to speak openly and honestly in their post to one of the teachers or students. Creating a blog for my students may also reach those shy students who like to hide in the back of the classroom hoping I won't notice they are there! What do you all think about blogging? Do we blog or stick to the good old fashion round table discussions in the classroom?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Social Networking Sites & Education?????

I was wondering if social networking sites such as MySpace, Twitter and the like can be used for educational purposes. Our students are constantly on these sites-are they really learning anything? Can we find a way to make them educational? What do you all think?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What impact does technology have on students?

Teaching students who are growing up during the midst of a technological revolution can be quite challenging at times. Students are constantly distracted and bombarded by the latest and newest technologies around. It amazes me how a student may walk into my classroom without the proper supplies ( because they have no money) but yet they have the latest new cell phone or ipod! In all honesty I am only 28 years old and am no stranger to the technology of today but I did not grow up with all the same technology as my students. I never heard of social networking sites such as MySpace until I began teaching 3 years ago! My question is how much does technology influence the way students think and learn in the classroom? Students all over the world have so much access to a variety of information and all it takes is a click of a button on a keyboard to get it all. How do we as teachers compete with all of this? Unfortunately I have access to very little technology, a television with a VCR and DVD player and two computers that sometimes work. Some of my colleagues have smart boards, projectors, computers, and a TV at their disposal courtesy of NCLB funds. By no means I am complaining about the lack of technology in my classroom or about technology in general. I am a firm believer that many schools need to update themselves and become a part of the 21st century. Our students have changed but many of our schools/classrooms have not. Since so many of our students are "connected" will the incorporation of modern technology in all our schools result in students receiving a better quality education that will allow them to better compete globally?