Saturday, December 19, 2015

High Standards

Now that the school semester has come to an end,  I have time to reflect on my classes and school work.  As I sit and think, I have come upon a grand idea about classes.  You ready for it?? 
I think that it is wrong to hold students to such a high standard coming into a new class.  You see, we have no idea, for the most part, what we got ourselves into.  Some of us read the course outline, which gives us only a very small bit of information pertaining to the course.  School has turned into "how do we pass?" not "how do we learn?"Students are so concerned with passing tests and getting good grades, that we really aren't focused on learning to an extent.  Let me explain my thinking.
So in my lifetime, I have never been a good test taker... I hate how people don't study and always get good grades.  I study constantly and can never seem to get good grades on tests.  But! I've noticed that I improve slightly in my test grades from start to finish of the course.  That's because we don't really know what to expect.  There's really no way to know what the teacher is going to do on a test or a quiz, even if they try to give you tips or information about it.  The first day of classes, we all sit around and do the same thing... We introduce ourselves, we may have to say something about our interests or etc, then we all go over the syllabus.  The syllabus becomes your bible in a sense because usually the teacher puts all the due dates, dates that we come to class or don't have school etc.  Everyone abides by the same grading system, and we pray to be at the top of that scale.  But how can we be held to the same standards of grading from the beginning of the semester to the end of the semester? The information is so new, we haven't studied the information before, we don't know what the teacher is looking for in our answers, the list goes on.  I don't think that teachers can hold their students to such high standards in the beginning of the semester. I think there should be some wiggle room with scores.  Take my Communication disorders class, for example, my first test was 3 chapters worth of information and I failed it.  Even though I studied, I failed.  That's very disheartening because you work hard and it doesn't pay off. But I work my butt off throughout the semester and me, along with my classmates, get more settled in and realized what our teacher wants from us; then we begin to improve.  By the end of the semester I am passing all my assignments! Now take my edu 106 class: "new literacies". I had no idea what to expect in the class, although I thought I was pretty tech savvy but there was so much information to learn! I was lucky enough to have a teacher who understood that we needed trial and error before we could succeed at learning.  
I think a lot of people would agree with me that the atmosphere has changed in school; we are trying to pass, not trying to learn.  
I hope this makes sense. Thanks for reading!   

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Online reading comprehension

"Small Differences Matter: The DNA of Online Reading Comprehension" By Greg McVerry relates and differentiates our genetic code to online reading and traditional reading.  
The differences seem to outweigh the comparisons but that seems to be because not all students have had the time to be able to learn how to work with the internet.  I can connect this part of the article to another article we had to read about how people who live in poorer areas, never get a chance to use computers.  Everything is online now and if you are unsure of the computer and how to use the internet, then you may be plagiarizing and using non credible sources.  
Although, children who do have a background of using the internet still outperform those children who do not have the background; but are they going about it the correct way?
I think students learn by doing and by trial and error & "skilled online readers “manipulate and
mold information to achieve a higher goal” (Kaku, 2014, chapter 7, 24:26)."
For our maker monday challenge, we discussed how we would teach children about how to synthesize, analyzes etc online.  Our group talked about synthesizing online information.  We talked about how we used to have to do papers on a person of our choice and our teacher would make us use at least three references and then we had to do that awful peer editing and make a bunch of rough drafts before we could hand in a final draft.  This exercise, our group agreed, was a great for learning how to synthesize online data even though we all hated it as kids.  The kids learn to take info from online and in books and other places and read them, put it into their own words, then make it into a paper. But only after a couple times did we really get how to take information from all different sites to  make one idea on paper.  The peer editing part touches on analyzing other people's information to see if it makes sense or if they're just copying other people's information and not making it their own.  The more navigational and comprehension strategies the students learn the better they will get.

Monday, November 16, 2015

X-Ray Goggles on Robert Walkers Bio Page

While playing around with x-ray goggles on the internet... it really made me realize how easy it is to manipulate anything you see on the internet.  Last week I was able to tell everyone I won the lotto (even though I didn't) and people actually believed me! It really made me think twice about the articles I read online now. This week I changed a bio page of a scientist and made him extremely un credible. Check it out!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Grades; the good and the bad.

Lately on facebook I've been seeing a lot of my friends, who are also in college, posting articles about grades. A few articles I've read because I have been feeling down in the dumps about the grades I've been getting. I study so hard all the time for all my tests or quizzes that I have. Sure just like every other student I may forget about something and therefore my study time isn't as great as it could have been but for the most part I study like crazy.  There no feeling quite like the one where you think you did awesome on a test or quiz and then seeing that you failed. It crushes you self esteem. The articles I have been reading basically are trying to help students understand that a couple bad grades are okay. Things happen. These bad grades don't define you. Although it would be wonderful to be a straight A student... it's not always possible.  Students today are stressed out beyond belief, we work we go to school and some take care of their families, some have kids, you never know what other people are going through. "In a report by Counseling and Psychological Services, 51 percent of clients report working, with six percent working more than 40 hours per week. A full-time student takes 12 credits and should set aside six to nine hours to study for each class. Therefore, a full-time student who works a part-time job should spend 48 hours studying, about 10 hours commuting, 35 hours working and a suggested 56 hours sleeping every week. That leaves only 19 hours out of the 168 hours a week to socialize, maintain a healthy lifestyle and attend to family obligations." ( How are we expected to pay our way through college while being a full time student and leaving time for us to study and sleep? You see right above here the hours needed. That literally leave no time to talk to friends or eat. Our money is going to school, rent, car, phone, and then they wonder why there is a freshman 15. How can we afford a 7$ salad when there is a 2$ burger and fries.  ( I could get into obesity here but I want to continue with stress.) I've read a lot about suicide in college students because of the stress they're under. "“According to the American College Health Association (ACHA) the suicide rate among young adults, ages 15-24, has tripled since the 1950s and suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students…" ( How many more students have to complain, speak out or attempt self harm for us to see that something isn't right? The pressure to be perfect isn't something we should be striving for.  I want to learn and experience new things while I'm in college. I want to make more friends and do fun things when I don't have to work. I don't believe I should be tied up in my house, staying up till 1 or 2 EVERY NIGHT trying to get my homework done and study. And if I am inside studying every night why am I not getting good grades? I've decided... bad grades will come and I cannot let it bring me down. I will keep trying my hardest and life will go on. To students everywhere... Life will go on. It will get better!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Nepal has a female president !

Have you heard?
I just did.
Nepal has a female president!
I hope you're excited.
I think this is a huge deal because of Nepal being such a male dominated area. 
I know its always a big deal when female politicians run for anything in the U.S. 
Her name is Bidhya Devi Bhandari, 54 years old, and was the deputy leader of the Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist and that she served as defense minister from 2009-2011.
I was reading up on her background and found out that  she is an advocate for woman's rights and passed a new constitution makes it mandatory that one-third of that nation's lawmakers be women. It also requires that women are part of all government committees. 
An Article says Nepal is a very male dominated place to be and woman are usually working in the homes or out on the farms. This is such a huge step not only for Nepal but for women everywhere. This could open doors for other places to finally take the leap for women to be in big positions in the law or even other jobs.  Bhandari won her election with votes of 327-214. Also, she is only the second person to hold this position since Nepal abolished its monarchy and became a republic in 2008.
Not only is she the first woman president for Nepal, but the first president since 2008!
I also read an interesting fact about her. It said that she was elected to parliament after her husband was killed in a "mysterious car crash". 
Anyways, this gives me hope that the world is changing with the times and I hope its all going to continue to get better. 
Im all for change and equality so i'm excited!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Social Network Sites as Social Learning Resources"

So, another reading, another day.  The thing I took away from this reading that we had to do, was the idea of the meaning of "friend". You can have friends on facebook and on myspace (which they talk about in the article), on twitter and tumblr and so many more social networking sites (SNS).  The definition of friend according to is "noun 1: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. & 6. a person associated with another as a contact on a social networking website We've never met, but we're Facebook friends.
We, as a SNS generation has made it so that the definition of friend has changed the meaning to something that relates to Social Networking.  It directly relates to someone we could have never met but still connect with on a SNS.  It kinda blows my mind, you know, the idea that the Internet is basically a whole different world but its such a "normal" resource that we use daily... no hourly... whether it be for school, work or for personal pleasure.  I personally can find that I can be a whole new person behind a computer (in a good way because I'm really shy in person) and have these great conversations with people I don't know, but if i was forced to do this in person I might freeze and not be able to go into the kind of depth I would be if I had a computer, phone or tablet in front of me.  
This reading assignment also made me think of how easy it is for people to get bullied.  Its such an awful topic but I remember being in high school getting lectured on how awful cyber bullying is.  It was a new topic to us because we hadn't really used many SNS before but man, it was a scary thought.  They would tell us stories about people who had committed suicide over comments people say on their pictures or profiles and I just wished I could have helped those poor people out.  I cant believe some people can be so cruel.  I have to be honest and say that I never imagined that computer would be such a huge part of learning.  Since Ive gotten into college, all my homework, reading and assignments have been  online, finding new sites to work on and such so much going on.  Since Ive taken my new literacies class, I have learned so many new sites that I can do cool things with.  I have used thimble, blogger, with known,, pixlr, flickr, twitter (in a whole new way with twitter chats) and so many more.  Moral or my post is, the SNS generation has really changed the meaning of friend and the way we are learning. All we have to do is keep an open mind about the Internet because it can be helpful for everyone. (Which I have learned recently too) Also, do not use the Internet for mean or hurtful things because it affects people beyond belief. Lastly, check out everything that can help you become a better student, worker, teacher or person! We can build our name up and there is so many sites out there to help. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Confronting the Challenge Reading:

In our reading, "Confronting the Challenge", on page 6 there is a sentence that says "Not every member must contribute, but all must believe they are free to contribute and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued." This part of the reading spoke to me because I cant count the times where I wouldn't contribute anything because I felt like no one would even acknowledge it.   I always think about how there is so many kids out there who don't speak up because they feel that they wont be heard but what if that kid has the answer to world problems like cancer, sicknesses, crazy math problems, who knows! Anyways, I feel it is so important to make everyone feel like their thoughts are welcome because if they're not then we might never have came up with computers or social media which our world revolves around today.  On facebook, your status asks you what you are thinking, on instagram, there's no limit on how much you can write, on twitter... well i'm not sure why there is a limit on how much you can write but you can still tell people what you're thinking! As I've learned in our class, there is so many sites that are out there to help you create anything you need. When I participated in a twitter chat about education technologies, the amount of resources they were talking about was endless.  It is very easy to use these sites to create a learning environment for students and other teachers, whoever the audience may be.   On the other hand, students could be using all these tools to help teachers learn as well. Point is, don't limit yourself and you can accomplish anything!