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Identity: Will Yours Shine Through?

6 Apr

The project that we did in class is all about identity and what is your identity online. It was interesting to do and think about. I figured out that everyone tweaks their own identity depending on the space they are in. I may change mine a little when I am talking on this blog from when I am on Facebook. But in the end the question is; will your identity shine through? Please enjoy my prezi presentation about Identity linked below.


The Identity of a Teacher

25 Mar


Some say that everyone changes their “identity” in different situations, from being on the internet to talking with your family. Teachers need to have a “perfect identity”. They are always being put up on pedestals and no one remembers that they are human too.

I do agree that teachers should have a sense of ethics. But, we need to understand that they are human too. Teachers cannot be perfect one hundred percent of the time, and neither can anybody else. If you put a teacher on a very high pedestal they only have a longer way to fall down.

Identity is who you are, where you have come from, and what your personality is. Teachers need to have a “secret identity” because they must be perfect. They cannot drink alcohol because this is not considered being perfect. They also should not have a social network page such as Facebook or Twitter because they could also talk about things that may not be considered “perfect”.

A teacher’s “secret identity” is how they really are with their friends and family. They cannot let their students see this person, the other side. It is what society has made teachers to be and why when they fall off the pedestal it is such a long drop.

You Tube Phenomenon

15 Mar

After watching An Anthropological Introduction to You Tube it made me think about my own “You Tube Journey”. My dad is very technology savvy and is always telling me about the new phenomena on the internet.  I remember when my dad first told me about You Tube and of course it was around the time You Tube first came out.  Nobody really knew what to think about You Tube but I remember him telling me, “Look Laur, you can put yourself or anything you want up on the internet. You can become your own little star.”

This was all happening while I was in high school, so You Tube was exploding around me.  When you walked down the halls you would hear about the new video on You Tube. I used You Tube in high school to figure out how I would act out a certain song on stage because everyone put their performances up on You Tube. I finally made my own account and put my first video up. The video was of me in Footloose singing Let’s Hear It for The Boys.  It didn’t catch on like a lot of other You Tube videos but to this day it has over 1,000 views.  If you think about it one thousand more people saw that video, and that is amazing.

You Tube is an amazing phenomenon. It gives people the opportunity to do things such as create movies, music videos, instructional videos, and much much more. It’s a powerful tool for freedom of speech. You can also use You Tube in the classroom. It is a great place to get free material and every teacher likes educational material that is free. We should not sensor You Tube from the schools. We should learn how to use it to our benefit. You can actually learn a lot from You Tube. For example my brother made three experimental steady cams and learned the concepts all from watching You Tube videos. You Tube gives people the opportunity to show the world what they can do. 

Identity; Who Are You?

9 Mar

What is identity? What is your identity? Well you probably have a name, a place you grew up, and a birth date. Is there more to your identity than what it says on your license or your social security card? What about your identity online? Do you change who you are online?

Identity can be proven by many different items from your passport to license and social security card. There are other factors that make you who you are too, such as your personality, who you like and dislike, and what you like and dislike. If you walked into a liquor store and wanted to buy a nice bottle of wine you would have to prove to them that you are 21 so you give them you photo ID. How do you prove to people online that you are who you say you are.

When you are online you can basically be whoever you want to be.  How do you prove to someone that you are who you say you are? Well there some ways you can identify people by who their friends are or the networks they are in. You also prove to a website that you are yourself by putting in a name and a password. Dick Hardt has an idea for Identity 2.0. It is where you basically have what I would consider an internet ID. Think about it like this, you have a license or other form of photo ID to prove who you are in the “real world” well why not have the same thing in the virtual world?

Maybe some people would not like this because they like to become a different person online. But, for me I think to know that who I am talking to is actually who is on the other side and I am not being tricked. Identity is you. It is your name, and your personality. You can’t change who you are but you can change how you act.

Factors about Schooling Areas

9 Mar


Every new semester I have an opportunity to visit different schools around my area and observe what they do. We are also suppose to research some contextual factors about the area. Contextual factors are defined as “attributes of areas that derive from structural or social characteristics of the area” ( The following is how contextual factors can help educators and what they can tell us about the area.

Contextual factors can help us in a lot of ways. They can help us identify the area we are going into and what to expect. For example in Bridgeton New Jersey there is a high population of Hispanic speaking citizens. You need to know this because you need a plan on how you will communicate with the parents. Also Bridgeton has a lot of poverty, and diversity. These three contextual factors should and will affect the way you teach.

Having a high population of Hispanic speaking citizens, means that you might need a translator at parent teacher conferences. There are also students who are bi-lingual and don’t know a lot of English.  The best way to approach this is to be patient. In the Bridgton school district they have translators that can speak to students and help them with their work. In the classroom I observe we have a Spanish speaking aid that comes in everyday to help with the Spanish speaking students. I also learned from being in the classroom that it is hard to send home notes to the families if they speak Spanish. I would look into finding a translator for the letters I have to write home.

Another element adding to having a lot of Hispanic students is to make sure your classroom is still diverse and multicultural. Mark Chesler in Teaching well in the diverse/multicultural Classroom, states the following key points in handling a classroom of diverse culture: “Handle race- and gender-related incidents in the class with confidence, avoid racist behavior as an instructor, incorporate critical thinking about race, gender, help students deal with these differences in class.” Teachers should take these suggestions into consideration and apply them to their classroom. To make your classroom more multicultural you could have different books that talk about different parts of the world. You could also set up your dramatic play center to inspire children to go on air-plane rides to different parts of the world.

Poverty can affect a child but don’t assume it affects the way they learn. The pedagogy of Poverty Versus Good Teaching says that “you cannot assume poverty prevents a child from understanding the material.” You can help with having an enriched learning environment also. From Eric Jensen’s book Teaching with Poverty in Mind “An enriched learning environment offers challenging, complex curriculum and instruction, provides the lowest-performing students with the most highly qualified teachers, minimizes stressors, boosts participation in physical activity and the arts, ensures that students get good nutrition and provides students with the support they need to reach high expectations.”  To have an enriched classroom is to change up the normal routine and to explore many new things. Students should also be involved in the preparation of their class. “Whenever students are involved in planning what they will be doing, it is likely that good teaching is going on” (Haberman 82). When a student is involved with what they are learning most likely they will learn better. This reminds me of “Play Planning” from the Tools of the Mind curriculum that they use in Bridgeton. When students “play plan” they are planning out what they are going to do in the play centers.

The contextual factors in Bridgeton differ from other areas. To be a teacher in Bridgeton you must be aware that students come for Hispanic backgrounds and some from poverty. You also must introduce them to different cultures. The teacher must make sure that they understand the students and where they come from. Knowing what the contextual factors are of the school and students will help you in every way to be able to teach affectively.


Facebook Experiment

3 Mar

Wordle: Facebook

It is almost safe to assume that everyone knows about Facebook, the social network that everyone flocks too. Some say that Facebook is an addictive site. Others think that they can stop Facebook whenever they want. Well I am here to tell you that I did stop Facebook for a week and it is very difficult, at least for me.

Some say that Facebook distracts you from doing your important work during the day. To me Facebook does do that, but I noticed that with out Facebook, I found other ways to distract my self. I am a procrastinator and Facebook is only one of the many things I use to procrastinate. I can also procrastinate by taking a nap, watching TV, cooking, and the list goes on and on. To blame Facebook for my problems with procrastination would not be accurate.

I do miss Facebook though. I miss seeing my friends new pictures and what they are doing. I have some friends who live far away and I like to stay in contact with them. I am not very good at staying in contact with people and Facebook helps me stay in contact with far away friends. I recently noticed that I had a lot of friends on Facebook, about 400. I decided that I would not talk to a lot of these so called “friends” so I deleted about half of my Facebook friends. I am taking a different approach to Facebook, only friending people who I would actually talk to. The best rule I can come up with is, if you can not put something on their Facebook wall than you probably should delete them. My dad actually taught me this concept. He uses Facebook to stay in contact with old college buddies that now live across the country. He always keeps his friends to a minimal, they consist of people that he would actually talk to and call on the phone.

My experiment with being off Facebook will end this coming Tuesday and I can’t wait to go back on. I enjoy Facebook because I like to be connected to my friends, and share experiences with them through pictures and posts. Facebook is not harming me but aiding me by staying in contact with people that I would have lost other wise.

Play to Educate?

28 Feb

I have seen my brother play on xbox Live for countless hours a day. All of my friends play on xbox Live and in reality, do I think they are learning anything from it? My first reaction is probably not. But, I would be wrong.  They are learning something from playing video games. They are learning strategies and developing a different way of thinking.

Schools have developed this way of learning “content”. I put content in quotes because we think of content as information that comes out of a text book. James Paul Gee the author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us says:

“Consider, for a moment, basketball as a domain. No one would want to treat basketball as “content” apart from the game itself. Imagine a textbook that contained all the facts and rules about basketball read by students who never played or watched the game. How well do you think they would understand this textbook? How motivated to understand it do you think they would be? But we do this sory of thing all the time in school with areas like math and science” (22-23).

Let me put this in plain terms, teach students by problem solving and experience. We should not be teaching them by what some call the “skill and drill” way. Video games are problem solving machines. If you play any video game it is all about how do I get around the obstacle a head of me. Why can’t we adapt this way of thinking into our schools.

Now, I am not saying that we should play COD in the classroom. I am saying though that we should consider having more problems solving ways of learning. Why can’t students have adventures when they go to school? Did you know that the way preschoolers learn is by exploration and discovery, also known as play. Who said that adults cannot learn by play anymore? Of course you would have to adapt it to a different kind of play.

Before I start rabbling on I want to finish with one statement. America is in a creativity crisis because of the “skill and drill” method of teaching. When Newsweek wrote an article about the creativity crisis last Fall (2010) they were quick to blame video games. Video games are doing the opposite, they are exploring creativity. To read more about the creativity crisis you can check out the following links.