Tag Archives: education

Should teachers be concerned with copyright infringement?

22 Mar

I have gotten many lesson plan ideas, activities, or games to use in the numerous lesson plans I have written. I am sure that I will continue using the public domain of the Internet to collect ideas, show my ideas, and always have something new in my classroom. But should I or other teachers be worried about copyright infringement? “Copyright is a “deal” that the American people, through Congress, made with the writers and publishers of books,” (Vaidhyanathan, 21). Teachers have numerous online, text, references, and resources for developing unit plans and activities for their students.

If it’s from the online public domain we don’t have to be worried about copyright because all rights to the ideas expire once they are on the Internet and anyone is allowed to use and distribute the ideas, activities, or lesson plans on the Internet. This is important to know because from one idea generates another and since there are numerous ways to teach a lesson the more teachers can share the more we are able to collaborate. Thinkfinity.org is a free online public domain for teachers to find, share, and connect with other teachers. It is a search engine website that only generates to other teaching websites, links, and online resources. It is an absolutely amazing domain to look through for any lesson plan. You can search a topic, a subject, or even curriculum standards and pages of information will turn up at the click of a button.


Although most things educators find on the Internet are safe to use we should still be aware of what copyright means.

Copyright was created as a policy that balanced the interests of authors, publishers, and readers…Copyright is more than one right. It is a       “bundle” of rights that includes the exclusive rights to make copies, authorize others to make copies, create derivative works such as translations and displays in other media, sell the work, perform the work publicly, and petition a court for relief in case others infringe on any of these rights. (Vaidhyanathan, 20-21)

Since teachers mostly like making numerous copies of worksheets or display different forms of media in the classroom some may begin to worry about possible infringement. However, the online public domain makes it harder (not impossible) to break copyright laws.



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” (hsph.harvard.edu). 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.

Less Budget for Early Childhood Education

8 Mar

While this article (linked below) is for the state of Kentucky, who knows what’s going to happen for the other states including New Jersey. $7.5 million dollars LESS is in the budget for early childhood education which was originally $15 million. Though this still leaves a large sum of money, is it really enough?

As a student going to college to be an early childhood education teacher, this boggles my mind. The early childhood years are the most important years in fostering a child’s learning. How you set them up in preschool and kindergarten is going to set them up for their future in schooling. How could someone take away from that? Early years of schooling are what gives a child socialization skills, where they learn to write their name, identify numbers, letters, shapes, and colors, and many other things. Yes a child can learn those things in later years of school, but that is only going to set them back and put them behind on what they really should be learning at certain ages. Early childhood education isn’t any less of schooling then elementary or secondary education. If anything it is MORE important.

Even though they are assuring people that with less of a budget, the early childhood education for children will stay the same, how could it? Less of a budget means less room for children, less supplies, and less of other things. The budget should be cut in things that aren’t as necessary for children (which I’m not going to state now because that can be saved for another blog). I can only hope that budget cuts for early childhood education don’t keep happening.



Can children learn from video games?

1 Mar

Video games are taking over and many argue that children learn from video games. I do believe that children can learn from CERTAIN video games, but not all. Children are not learning from video games where they are robbing stores, killing people, or bombing a certain race. The only thing children are learning from those type of video games are violence and how to hate a certain group of people. These video games make it okay for children to kill off an entire race of people, sell drugs, or run over people with cars. That is not the real world. If we teach children that all of these negative things are okay by including them in video games they are going to grow up wanting to do the things they learned from these video games. However, there are video games that are educational and do help children learn. They help children solve problems, strategies, learn math, etc. There are also many educational apps that help children with math, reading, learning the alphabet, or writing. If we are going to use video games as a way for children to learn, they need to be educational video games and not video games where children are only learing to kill people.

Video Games and Learning

28 Feb

  Video games have become a major phenomenon amongst not only children but also adults these days. I have two cousins under the age of 7 and they are both experts at any type of video game you put into their XBOX360 consol.

At such young ages children are becoming experts at video games, and by playing many video games I personally think it promotes learning. I learn a lot from playing video games. Some of my favorites are games like Portal and World of Warcraft. (or WoW for those of you who play) These games help you learn strategizing and organization skills. There is a method to most video games that you have to follow in order to advanced to another level or actually win the game.

When I first got the game Portal, it was a mystery to me. I had such a hard time grasping the concept. But, as soon as my 6 year old cousin picked up the controller he instantly knew what he had to do. These games are helping children be so smart and to make quick, precise decisions. The whole game is a puzzle you need to solve by creating these “portals” to get from one side of the map to the other. It really makes you think.

Today with all the educational video games that are out there, I think it is setting kids up for a good foundation to learn.

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.




Technology in the Classroom

23 Feb

I agree with Jenkins points that technology should be taught in the classroom and that it is the teachers responsibility to teach technology to his/her students. If the teacher doesn’t teach technology and all that it has to offer a student will never learn it. I believe that technology should be taught in the classroom because it is very important for students to learn the new types of technology and all that technology has to offer. We are living in a world full of technology and technology is constantly changing. If we do not teach students anything about technology they will not know how to use it at all. If we teach technology, students are more likely to get better jobs because they do know how to use different types of technology. Blake Ross, from the article, was not taught technology in the classroom, he taught himself about technology by playing simcity. Blake Ross ended up creating different webpages and eventually created Firefox. Technology should be taught in the classroom because you do not know what your children will do in the future, so we should give them all the skills we can to succeed in life. I also believe that it is important to incorporate technology in the classroom. There are so many softwares for teachers to use such as kidspiration and inspiration that can be used in the classroom as ways to teach your students. By using these softwares, teachers can get away from using handouts and use these different softwares to engage their students in learning. Technology is a very important aspect of a classroom and should be taught in schools.