Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Research Shows Negative Impact

Recent research is stating that social media is having a negative impact upon youth and their ability to communicate and engage with others.  If you dare, read the link below to learn about this claim.

Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Possibly of Interest!

Click the picture to gain a larger view.

Facebook intern Paul Butler has been poring through some of the data held by the social networking firm on its 500m members. The map above is the result of his attempts to visualise where people live relative to their Facebook friends. Each line connects cities with pairs of friends. The brighter the line, the more friends between those cities.

"What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn't represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships." However, large chunks of the world are missing, such as China and central Africa, where Facebook has little presence.

Social Media

Social media, connecting us all via the internet.  It is something that is making the world more accessible and in a sense smaller as we all tend to know even the most minor of details from someone's life or the news that is being transmitted from the farthest reaches of the earth.  Obviously, the big facilitors and most popular applications being facebook and twitter.  But in other parts of the world they use social media sites like orkut to reach the same ends.  Using these in classroom can be beneficial because it allows people to exchange information quickly and with great brevity.  It is a novel way in which to communicate and can be accessed at all hours of the day, therefore the convenience factor is extremely high.

It would seem doubtful that social media will lose its influence and force in the near future, and as such it should be embraced and utlitized for its assets while it is present and in vogue.  I am sure someone will eventually manufacture something that will usurp facebook or twitter a few years down the road, but as of right now I cannot think of it and am not going to be that millionaire, so I will teach. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Web-based Courses

Here was another offering that is changing and challenging the way that we learn.  Group conferencing and web-based learning opens up education and avenues that might not be offered in your school division.  The implications are quite unique and definitely offer the opportunity for students to cater to their own interests even if they are in the hinterland of Manitoba and far from a school that could offer these courses.  The ability of the students to learn and gain insight from people all over the province, the country and possibly the world is an exchange that would be of great asset.  It provides the chance for learning and cultural exchange and perspective to all, even those who are found in a situation where it would have been financially unviable previously.

Opportunities of this nature were in their clunky primitive stages even just over a decade ago, and the leaps that have been made in that short span of time have afforded students today a vast wealth of opportunity to trek much farther into the global community.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Personal Learning Networks

PLNs were recently introduced to our class and they seem like a wonderful way to re-invigorate and refresh stale lessons and banal and mundane class activities.  It makes me wonder if some of the instructors from the Education Faculty couldn't benefit from that exact same lecture.  It allows for a transfer of knowledge and ideas that doesn't require one to make the same mistakes that other teachers may have made previously.  Sifting through all the potential sources may require a lot of time, but using the tools that are available through Diigo and others makes this venture a little easier.  The support and knowledge reduces the amount of potential prep time required and therefore allows the teacher to instead focus on other important aspects such as assessment or even just recharing their own batteries before another day.

I think that stagnation frequently occurs with teachers because they can end of teaching the same course time after time and sometimes they become very entrentched into the mode of operation.  Being able to reach outside of this and communicate with others who have come up with unique and engaging activities and practices allows for the teacher to infuse more life and vigor into the class.  The age old practice of having students sit down and read a textbook just doesn't work as well as it used to (if it ever really worked at all) because the attention span of students is dwindling by the second.  It just got worse, worse again, again....you get the picture.  This is not necessarily their fault as they have been brought up in a realm where they are bombarded by picture and sound so their senses are constantly under assault.  Entertainment has come very easily to them without them having to use their imagination or creativity, or without them having to read a black and white text.  So varying work will not only help in keeping their attention, but will also have the added benefit of hitting upon different intelligences.  DI anyone?  The first time I've been able to use that lingo.  In all honesty the jargon of Ed. can be quite grating, personal opinion I should strive to keep this neutral.  Hopefully PLNs will prove to be a fantastic resource in order to keep things interesting and also in finding new ideas that one might not have thought of themself.  The future has yet to be foretold my young pre-service teaching comrades.  We'll see if this internet fad has legs.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

At the start....

Welcome to this blog.  Be prepared to have your hair blown all the way back as we read and cry together on all of the different facets education reflection.  There is much to delve into on what has been learned and what has been left to learn in this faculty.  I welcome you.  So buckle up, stow your luggage, put tables up, and place your seat into the upright position.  You are headed for a crash landing!