September 18

Photo Sharing: The Good and the (very, very) Bad

Photo sharing is a large part of our social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are all apps that are largely, or completely, revolved around photo sharing. I am an avid user or social media outlets and I share photos of myself, my friends, and my family. In addition, I like seeing updates from my friends and family members through photos that they share. However, as a 21-year-old, I feel like I am responsible in the way that I conduct myself on social media.

But can photo sharing go wrong? What happens when children have not adequately been taught how to properly use social media and been given safety tips for photo sharing?

Lets look at Amanda Todd’s story.

Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old girl from British Columbia that got caught up in the negative world of photo sharing. While in an online chat room, Amanda was convinced to show her chest to a man on the other side. Unbeknownst to her, the man took screen caps of Amanda and later used them to blackmail her to get more “action” from her. Eventually, the photos were shared with Amanda’s friends and family. In the midst of all of the blackmail and bullying caused by the photos, Amanda Todd made the following video:

One bad lapse in judgement led to a photo going viral, bullying of all forms (especially cyber bullying), and eventually a suicide. Amanda committed suicide about a month after posting this video on YouTube.

This is clearly a tragic example of how what we do on the internet and what we share with others can have repercussions that we cannot reverse. Throughout the story, we learned that people continued to taunt Amanda, even when she was at her lowest during her self-harm. Teenagers can be cruel in these cyber situations, not realizing the full implications that their words and comments can have on the lives of real people.

Luckily, there are many people who have been outraged by what happened to Amanda. Most importantly, there are many teens that have been outraged. Watch the following video to see teens discussing Amanda Todd’s story, their own experiences with bullying, and their thoughts on internet safety.

This story is an clear explanation on why we have to teach our students the importance of internet safety, especially concerning photo sharing. Below are a list of questions we should all ask ourselves before posting a photo on social media. Photo sharing is a trend that will not be going away anytime soon. Therefore, it is important that we make lessons on this topic for the safety of our students.

Internet Safety2

September 16

Blogging: The Writings of the 21st Century

Technology changes so rapidly in our current day and age, and schools are doing a great job of keeping up-to-date with the trends! Many students have their own blogs and websites, or they are familiar with how they work based on their experiences with social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.). Additionally, students enjoy reading blog posts compared to newspaper articles or textbooks. From what I’ve read, many teachers are changing their writing and English projects to be completed in cyber space in the form of a blog. This keeps the students engaged and invested in the school work that they are doing!

Check out the image below for more information about blogging is not necessarily about the technology, but rather about the continual engagement of the students:

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September 14

Teaching with Technology

In this week’s readings for Curriculum Planning, Implementation, and Assessment, there were many themes that overlapped. Specifically, the theme of technology being integrated into teaching and assessment was one that has always interested me.

Mishra and Koehler spoke of the importance for teachers to see new technologies and learning tools, rather than threats to the education system. In fact, they encouraged teachers to use technology, saying:

“Teachers need to develop a willingness to play with technologies and an openness to building new experiences for students so that fun, cool tools can be educational (p. 18).”

I believe that this is so important in the classroom today. So many students resort to using technology (i.e. texting, Facebook, Twitter) during class time for one reason: they are bored. This is where the teacher could either go to war with the students over using this technology at an inappropriate time, or change their approach to parallel the desires of the students. A young adult, I would align myself with the second approach, creating innovative ways of teaching which utilize technology. However, I can definitely see how experienced teachers could fear the use of technology, especially if they themselves are not comfortable with it.

By adopting an acceptance of technology into the classroom, the role of the teacher does in fact take a shift. As Cooper says in Chapter 2:

“The sheer volume of information available today, as well as the rate at which information is increasing and being replaced by current and better information, cannot all possibly be captured and transmitted by teachers and textbooks (p. 13).”

We as educators want nothing more than for our students to learn as much as they can during their time with us. By integrating technology into our classrooms, we are not only introducing them to the subject matter at hand, but we are also teaching them technology competency, opening them to a world of additional learning before their eyes.

My father is someone who believes that one day, all teachers will be replaced by computers. Since I’ve had my fair share of debates with him about this topic, I will admit that I was relieved to see that the 8th Big Idea of assessment affirmed my position. When Cooper mentioned that “one of the essential characteristics of the teaching-learning process is the human interaction that occurs between students and a caring, sensitive, skilled teacher,” I immediately sent a screenshot to my father (p. 7). His response surprised me:

“Some teachers could be [replaced by computers], but you will never be that kind of teacher because you have the passion to teach and will be a success.”

It looks like it is possible to have teachers and technologies working together to create the best possible learning environment for students. I look forward to and welcome the introduction of many technologies into my future classroom.

September 13

Urban Education

I’ll admit, my schooling experience was far from “urban”. I grew up in a relatively privileged city and was not exposed to many cultures that were different from my own. With that being said, I have always been someone who is fascinated by people and their story (can you tell I’m a Psychology major?). Albeit a little apprehensive about being the in Urban Education cohort at first, the readings from Daniel and Chambers changed my mindset.

Daniel’s approach to the topic of “urban” is one that provoked a lot of thought. One of the strongest themes that I took away from her article, “Reimagining the Urban: A Canadian Perspective”, is that for us to fully grasp the concept of urban, “its relationship with the suburban needs to be conceptualized, explored, and analyzed as another mutually constituted relationship” (p. 823). By establishing a strong distinction between the urban and the suburban, we are further increasing the divide between the two, thus refusing to create a feeling of unity and inclusion among all areas. As Daniels states, we must change our perception of urban to “move beyond the notions of geography, space, and social class exclusivity” (p. 828). We are all citizens of the same city, province, or country, and despite whether we live in an area that is deemed to be urban or suburban, we should all be entitled to the same quality of education.

UrbanEducation
Chambers took more of a personal approach to the topic of urban in her article “’Where Do I Belong?’ Canadian Curriculum as Passport Home”. My favourite quote from Chamber’s article follows:

“… home is that place where the past is continually present, both complicating this moment right now, and giving us and them, children and students, the courage and the confidence to face the future.”

This is such a strong reminder that our home, Canada, is what we make it to be. If we continue to neglect certain areas or display prejudice against certain cultures, then we are weaving hatred into the fabric of our nation. How do we as teachers help to rectify this problem? I am a strong believer that leading by example is one of the most invaluable teaching tools. In addition to adopting a positive curriculum, we as teachers can help by displaying acceptance and promoting inclusion and diversity in our classrooms.

Needless to say, after reading these two articles, my preconceived notions about what urban education was have changed. Here’s to two years of learning more about urban education!

September 10

Extending-My-Family at Extend-A-Family

My main job for the summer of 2015 was working at Extend-A-Family. Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region (EAFWR) was founded in 1980 by parents of children with developmental disabilities as a way to build friendship and nurture community in Waterloo Region. In the beginning, the “Extend-A-Family” program matched supported families with other volunteer families in Waterloo Region. Over the years, EAFWR has added additional services to continue to meet the needs of individuals and families in our community.

I am very grateful to had been hired as the Summer Program On-Site Director! The On-Site Director helps to lead the implementation of a summer program for individuals age 13 and up, with a physical or developmental disability. Some of my responsibilities included: hiring, training, supervision, community outreach, administration, booking, evaluation, etc. In my role as the On-Site Director, I was a positive role model and exemplified the values that EAFWR represents in the community, while overseeing the development and implementation of an inclusive, person-centered summer program.

AKA, it’ was an AWESOME summer, and I hope to return next year 🙂

EAF

September 9

Jumpin’ for Joy with JUMP

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1 of my 3 jobs this summer was working for JUMP at Laurier! JUMP (Junior University Multidisciplinary Program) is a three-day residential experience at Wilfrid Laurier University for grade 5, 6, 7, and 8 students during the months of May and June. JUMP is hands-on, educational, informative, and fun!

I had the role of the Psychology Course Coordinator! The Course Coordinator’s role is to develop course content, teach the courses, as well as perform administrative tasks. I’ve had a blast putting together different content to create an interesting, age-appropriate Psychology course for the incoming students. There’s everything from Dr. Phil, classical conditioning, ambiguous figures/optical illusions, mental health, and Positive Psychology!

Here’s a video introducing this awesome program:

September 1

Here’s to the Start of the Rest of My Life

It still doesn’t feel real… I’ve not only been accepted for a Bachelor of Education from multiple universities, but I’ve finally accepted an offer. After many conversations with my friends and family, I’m so excited to have accepted my offer to:

uOttawa-logo

Ottawa will definitely be a brand new experience for me. Not only will it be my first time living on my own (it’s definitely time), but I will be moving almost 6 hours away from my family. It’s quite the commute, but ever since I first visited the city 7 years ago, I’ve loved it.

What were some other reason’s I chose uOttawa’s program? Well…

  • uOttawa’s Faculty of Education is the largest faculty in Ontario that offers two-year teacher education programs in French as well as English.
  • Teacher candidates have the opportunity to study with skilled professors who are receiving worldwide recognition as researchers.
  • Teacher candidates can participate in community service learning placements outside the classroom setting.
  • The Faculty of Education also organizes both an Anglophone and Francophone Career Fair in Education every year, where BEd students can meet over 50 potential employers from Ontario, other parts of Canada, and abroad.
  • The Faculty’s Educational Centre provides a spacious environment for teacher candidates to work individually and in groups. Services include educational resources, workshops and more.
  • Candidates enroll in one of four cohorts within their program: Comprehensive School Health; Developing Global Perspectives; Innovation, Imagination and Creativity; or Urban Education Community (my cohort).
  • The Faculty of Education also offers a strong professional development program, including a large selection of Additional Qualification courses.

I’m looking forward to becoming a Gee-Gee!

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June 28

I’M A GRADUATE!

After 4 long, hard years, I have completed my undergraduate degree! Being a Laurier Golden Hawk was definitely one of the best times of my life. I learned so much more than Psychology; I learned about myself and the person that I wanted to become.

This is just the beginning of my path to becoming a teacher… 2 more years of schooling and I’ll be on the job hunt!

Grad Announcement

June 1

My Interest with Pinterest

Yup, I caved… I got a Pinterest account.

I held off for a long time, but honestly, there’s just too many teaching resources on there for me not to sign up. Everything from classroom ideas, to lesson planners, to bulletin boards, to activities… It’s got it all.

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And now you can join me in my new creative way of procrastinating:

https://www.pinterest.com/spencerburtonca/

Pin away, my friends.

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April 23

Multitasking

Teachers preach it to their students. But more than that, teachers use it every single day of their life. Multitasking is a HUGE part of being an effective and efficient teacher! But just how much multitasking does a teacher use on a daily basis? Check out the facts below:

Teachers Multitasking