Cyber Bullying

Bullying is no longer just physical. The introduction of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and new communication tools such as text messaging and instant messaging has brought a new dimension to child protection issues and in particular bullying. These technologies are being abuse and used by children and young people to harass, intimidate and annoy on another. These can range from harmless to quite damaging and upsetting. There have been cases of teenagers committing suicide from being cyber bullied. The majority of the time these children do not seek help and so the problem continues to increase to the point where it becomes unbearable. Cyber bullying can be psychologically damaging  and can take the form of nasty messages, emails and saying hurtful things on message boards, and even pretending to be someone else and/or accessing someone else’s account and causing trouble. When this behaviour is intense and repeated constantly, this is classified as bullying.

According to the Office for Internet Safety, Ireland, there are many different ways technology can be used for cyber bullying. This includes personal intimidation, impersonation, exclusion, personal humiliation, and false reporting. The reason why many children and teenagers do not get help is because they feel threatened that the bully will hurt them further if they do, and this can be particularly prominent throughout school environments. These technologies are spaces for young people to express themselves without the influence of adults, therefore adults and teachers can be unaware of cyber bullying.

Cyber Bullying can be stopped. Children and teenagers need to be made aware of cyber bullying and to tell an adult when they see it happening or if they get bullied themselves. It is imperative that the bullies be stopped. Teenage victims of cyber bullying in particular should be able to express their concerns with anyone who can do something about the issue. As cyber bullying does not just occur in school environments, parents need to be aware of their child’s activity on the internet and need to monitor signs of any bullying that may be occurring and help to stop it and prevent it for good.

Office for Internet Safety (2008). Get with it. Brunswick Press, Dublin.

Prevent Cyberbulling!

http://econtent.thelearningfederation.edu.au/ec/viewing/L940/index.html

Anti-Bullying campaign. The link above describes phsiycal bullying, but you can adapt this for your class to entail cyber bullying. The children have to create flyers and public brochures to make people aware of cyber bullying and ways to prevent it.

The Learning Federation. (2012). Anti-bullying campaign.

Retreived from http://econtent.thelearningfederation.edu.au/ec/viewing/L940/index.html on 8/4/12.

Education Services Australia Ltd.

Social Constructivism

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This week’s blog is on social constructivism. Like Personal Learning environments, social constructivism is a relatively new learning theory that is another move away from traditional teaching and learning pedagogy. Learning is a social activity, and is done in a variety of ways and in a variety of different settings, learnt and taught to different people of all ages.

According to Oluwafisayo (2010), learning can be viewed from two different perspectives. These are traditional teaching and learning pedagogy, and progressive education. Traditional pedagogy entails the teacher imparting all knowledge to students through the medium of the traditional text book and by “isolating the learner from all social interaction and seeing education as a one on one relationship between the learner and the objective material”. Progressive education on the other hand recognises the social aspect of learning which requires interaction and conversation between people, either peers or student to teacher. Teaching is the foundation of many educational processes, and one of these is social constructivism.

Fosnot (1996) suggests that social constructivism is where learners actively construct their own knowledge and meaning from their experiences. The theory has its foundations in philosophy and psychology which suggests that reality can only be sensed through experiences and as each experience is different, each person has their own unique view of reality (Satish and Munsung, 2004).

Education has to be changed to adapt to an ever changing world, particularly the 21st century. Children born from 1992 are considered to be the “net generation” as they have never known life without the internet. (I am part of this generation myself!). Having grown up with the internet and now studying to be a teacher, I can see that the internet plays a large role in the implementation of social constructivism in classrooms and education today. Social constructivism therefore offers a new perspective to education in this “new age of information” (Oluwafisayo, 2010) where new technologies are constantly and rapidly being developed. Social constructivism allows students to be in control of their own learning and allows the learner to play an active role in acquiring new information to previous knowledge.

Fosnot, C. T. (1996). Constructivism: Theory, perspective, and practice. New York: Teachers College.

Press as cited in Oluwafisayo, E. (2010). Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the Emerging Learning Era: A Global Perspective. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability.  Vol. 6(4).

Oluwafisayo, E. (2010). Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the Emerging Learning Era: A Global Perspective. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability.  Vol. 6(4).

Satish, M. and Munsung, R. (2004) Enhancing educational learning through some TQM principles. The International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management. Vol. 21 (8) Pp. 801-816 as cited in Oluwafisayo, E. (2010). Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the Emerging Learning Era: A Global Perspective. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability.  Vol. 6(4).

Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning?

“ A Personal Learning Environment is a facility for an individual to access, aggregate, configure and manipulate digital artifacts of their ongoing learning experience” ~ Lubensky (2006)

According  to Attwell (2007), the idea of a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) recognises the role of the individual in organising thier own learning process, and that present day technology can now be used to support that learning. The pressures for a PLE are based on the idea that learning will take place in different contexts and situations and will not always be provided by a single learning provider. Along with PLE’s, there is also an increasing interest in the idea of informal learning and that teachers can use informal learning in their classrooms to allow the students to use other modes of education that they find useful to support their learning.

Attwell (2007) argues that a PLE is not a software application, but that it is a new approach to using technologies for learning. The main problem with PLE’s however questions the role that schools and teachers play in the students learning process. If students are able to use new technologies to create their personal learning environment, where do teachers fit in to these environments? Aside from this, PLE’s can be useful within the classroom and need to be integrated as the face of education changes with the introduction of new technologies.

Personal learning environments can be used to help students take control of their learning. It moves away from the traditional teaching and learning pedagogy and allows students to create their learning to revolve around the students own learning styles. PLEs maintain interest, encourage optimism and promote positivity around learning. They are student centred and encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning. The question is to where the teacher fits in to students personal learning environments. Teachers no longer have the dominant position in the classroom, however the teachers role will be to guide the students learning processes by placing the work needed to be completed on to the PLEs.

I do not however necessarily agree with students having personal environments. Yes, they are useful and productive to students however personal learning environments can be detrimental to student progress as teachers may be unable to properly assess student work. Much of student work needs to be demonstrated one on one with the teacher to enable the teacher to give necessary feedback to students regarding areas of improvement and weaknesses. If this is done all through the medium of technology, students may not be able to understand fully what is required to improve. One way the teacher explains to the students may not always be understood and may need to be re-explained first hand to the student work completed on personal learning environments may also be difficult to asses to begin with. Teaches need to be able to observe the processes and skills in which students use to problem solve and complete the work set.

Personal Learning Environments are spaces in which students can organise their own teaching and learning envrionment. An example of this is symbaloo.com.au. Personal learning environments may be the future of education, but will this always be a good thing? There are advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately I think the answer lies with how the students learn best and what works with your class, which again will be different for every student.

 

Attwell, G. (2007). Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning?. eLearning Papers. Vol. 2 (1).

Lubensky, R. (2006). The present and future of Personal Learning Environments (PLE). Blog Entry.

Is Symbaloo good for education?

Symbaloo is an online personal learning environment which students can access easily and stay up to date with their learning. Students can create their own personalised page with links to track down keywords, read their assignments, and access any information anywhere on the internet. Its is safe, secure, and best of all, it’s free! Anything you need takes just one click to take you where you need to be.

Most importantly, teachers can use this resource to create contracts for the students to complete in their own time. Teachers can imput websites to do with class topics that students can read, suggest links, and even include games that consolidate understanding of content. Symbaloo can be used as a homepage for students to access at school to take them wherever they want to go to. Last but not least, teachers can place student work on symbaloo so it is easily accessible for both the student and the teacher.

http://www.symbalooedu.com/ 

Promoting Intellectual Quality with an Interactive Whiteboard

This week’s blog is about promoting intellectual quality with an interactive whiteboard. Personally I feel that interactive whiteboards are a fantastic way of engaging students in their learning and by making their learning interesting and fun. Classrooms are no longer about reading straight from text books and using pen to paper. The pen to paper technology of today is the interactive whiteboard, which can be used for every subject in any curriculum. The interactive whiteboard integrates learning content with games, fun and even physical movement. I believe they are an amazing piece of technology that has a lot of potential to be developed into the future. Interactive whiteboards are changing the face of education and challenge the traditional classroom methods.

The interactive whiteboard is a tool that can be used to promote intellectual quality within the classroom. It can enhance the structure of a lesson and encourage engagement from students which will benefit their learning. The interactive whiteboard can help teachers probe student knowledge which allows students to take their learning in personally relevant directions. High intellectual quality within the classroom is achieved through diversity in integrated enquiry along with instruction and content used.

The interactive whiteboard gives students the opportunity to directly interact with the learning content, and the more they are able to do this, the higher the intellectual quality of learning. Interactive whiteboards can be a medium for learning and can cater for a variety of learning styles. The traditional classroom included the use of concrete materials and the use of voice. This did not cater for children who were visual learners. The interactive whiteboard on the other hand can be tailored to suit the needs of the class.

Two of the most important aspects of interactive whiteboard lessons must include the characteristics of ambiguity and randomness in order to promote high intellectual quality. Ambiguity promotes student discussion, and randomness encourages students to focus on the whole problem. A higher level of both will equate to higher levels of intellectual quality. The interactive whiteboard must be used to promote follow-up discussion and debates, and must allow teachers the opportunity to ask open-ended questions to probe student understanding. Ultimately, the interactive whiteboard is an incredible piece of technology that is changing education for the better.

Kent, P. (2008). Interactive Whiteboards: A Practical Guide for Primary Teachers. Macmillan Education, Australia. Pp. 19-42.

Using the interactive whiteboard as a tool for learning

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http://insightsystems.com.au/assets/image/1243858117-whiteboard_teacher.jpg