Capturing My Thoughts

Archive for October, 2012

Is it Fair?

So in thinking about this week’s assignment, I am wondering if my previous post on my blog is considered fair use… I used an image that I found from google images to show the highlights of Twiducate. I used a caption to explain where I got the photo from, and I linked the photo to the original source where I found it. But is that good enough? I am doubting that my use was legitimate because I just edit copied, and edit pasted the image. I do not feel like there was any transformativeness. I did not use it to repurpose. I am basically using it for the same reason it was used before. But I am wondering if I am adding value to it, because I am promoting their social media site. Any suggestions?

After looking at all of the resources provided this week on fair use and copyrighting, I still feel very cloudy on the subject. I still do not feel comfortable using copyrighted materials. Before this class, I would say that I was a “See No Evil” teacher according to Renee Hobbs. However, now I am just afraid to use anything.

It seems as though much of the fair use policy is very subjective. Maybe I am understanding this wrong, but, I see this as if you can justify why you are using something, it is ok… but if it comes down to it, it is a judge’s final word. It also appears that educators get freebies for mistakes with copyrighting if they explain that they truly thought they were using it for the correct purpose.

After watching the A Fair(y) Use Tale by Eric Faden of Bucknell University, I decided that the kind of use of copyrighted material that I am comfortable using is taking a small portion of material and completely changing the way it is used. For example, I can take an image, but add speech bubbles, or take snippits of a video and use it in a completely creative way.

I guess what I am still up in the air about, is being able to use images from google images, and how to correctly use them. I know there is creative commons, but google images is much easier to find images that I want to use. I would appreciate any feedback on my copyright issues.

Here is a great resource to use with your students to teach them about copyrights and fair use.


Twiducate… Twitter/Facebook for Students

So for my tool exploration project, I decided to use Twiducate, which is a social networking site for students. I could not believe how user friendly this site was to use. Out of all of the social media sites that I have explored for using in the classroom, this is by far the easiest and most useful. Check out my tutorial below to learn the basics about Twiducate.

Twiducate Basics – A tutorial by Stacy Kotch-Jester

In thinking about how to use this tool specifically in my 4th grade classroom, I decided to use it as a way for my students to answer/discuss Essential Questions. Our curriculum is developed around Essential Questions that act as road maps for student learning. At the end of each lesson, students are expected to answer the Essential Questions in journals. I think the students would put more effort and be more excited to post their answers using Twiducate. This would allow for discussion amongst students, as well as an actual audience. Currently students are recording these answers in journals, and we typically only get to share a few. Using this tool, all students’ answers could be voiced and commented upon. I would also be able to better understand which students are understanding the concept.

I also will be using this tool to post educational links for students and parents to use at home. Each week I can assign a new link, and have students explore the link and share feedback in the discussion boards.

In searching for how teachers are using Twiducate in the classroom, I came upon this blog:
How One Teacher Tweaked a KWL Chart using Twiducate
I found it interesting how the use of this tool completely changed the KWL chart experience. In elementary school, we use KWL’s all the time. With this tool, it will be a much more meaningful experience with vast ideas to help spark other students.

In my search, I discovered these ways to use Twiducate in the classroom

Twiducate in the Classroom by: Alicia Moore

35 ways to use Twiducate for deeper learning

Trying Twiducate

Twiducate on Pinterest

Check out Twiducate on Pinterest

I Think I Will Teach Forever, Said No Teacher Ever!

Recently I have noticed a trend in education, which saddens me. Years ago teachers chose to stay in the education profession for 25+ years. Today, teachers are leaving the profession within 5 years. Why is this happening? From my personal experience, and from what I have heard from other teachers, there are many reasons. Teachers use to be able to just teach the kids, but today, teaching has become part of a two-fold job. With all the latest trends in educational reform, districts are trying to be number one. They are adopting the latest fads in education and quickly rolling them out to their staff. Sometimes adopting more than one idea at a time. They then expect teachers to just adapt to these changes. Much of teaching has become paperwork; collecting and analyzing data. With all the latest demands, it is hard to find time to teach. Planning time has been taken over by meetings. Meetings in the morning, in the afternoon, wherever there is extra time. This forces teachers to come in early and work late hours. Almost always flowing into personal/family time, including the weekends. All of these extra hours are not compensated. Could you imagine asking another employee to work extra hours and not be compensated? I think not!


Oh Ya Know…Just ANOTHER LFS (Learning Focus Strategies) Training.

So after thinking about my personal experiences, and what I have hear from people around me, I decided to check out what others were saying about this topic.
One Teacher: Why I Quit – One teacher’s story about why she quit.

Teaching: The Profession I Will Eventually Leave – Are teachers considered professionals, or even treated like one?

Giving up a Career You Love –  What makes a teacher leave a career they love

Why Do Teachers Quit?


Why They Leave according to NEA

I am hoping that one day society will realize a teacher’s worth, and that school districts and the government will understand that a teacher can only do so much. Quit burning teachers out!

Welcome to Flubaroo

via Diigo

Self-Described ‘EduPunk’ Says Colleges Should Abandon Course-Management Systems – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Abandon LMS at Universities?
via Diigo

Edupunk or Bust

I absolutely feel comfortable stepping out of the institutionally supported technologies like the LMS (Learning Management Systems.) For one thing, most of these technologies are ridiculously priced. With the economy and how expensive things are these days, there is no need for fancy LMS. Everything that LMS can do, can easily be created using free resources on the Web. The following article explains the many services that Web 2.0 offers that makes it possible to have free online learning: Never Mind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle.

After taking a social media course, I have realized that almost anything can be done using free resources such as Google and WordPress. I’m wondering why we even use Canvas at all… All assignments can be posted on blogs, students can meet face to face with Skype or Google hangouts, discussions can be held on blogs or through Google groups, and private or whole group messages can be shared. The greatest benefit is that these technologies are not exclusive, but they are open to a much wider audience. Being open allows for a much greater source of information, feedback, and idea sharing beyond the classroom. Instead of just a small class audience, the world becomes the audience, which makes this a more valuable and realistic experience. Anya Kamenetz referrs to this as “massively open online courses” in her article Edupunks Revisited.

So… What are the implications of going Edupunk? I honestly had a hard time coming up with any implications. The only things that I could think of would be the learning curve for learning all of these new technologies, and the privacy issue. LMS are usually laid out and very straightforward. Once you have used one, they all tend to be very similar, which makes them easy to navigate. If it wasn’t for the current class that I am taking on social media, I would never have known all the great technologies that are free to use. I also would have never made the time to learn all of these new technologies. So, I am thinking that many people would be hesitant to learn various technologies when they could simply learn one with LMS. Also, I think many people would be uneasy about the openness of these online learning communities. With LMS, the information is shared with a small group, and protected by password access. When things become free, they tend to become open, and some people do not feel comfortable sharing with the world.

I for one am definitely a huge fan of the term Edupunk and what it stands for… I’m just hoping to learn more and expand my knowledge on the different technologies available.


If Only There Was Enough Time, I Would…

Something that I have always wanted to do but have not had the time, is to learn how to create a Wikispace for my classroom.

Different Approaches that I could take to learn how to create a Wikispace:
Wikis in Plain English

10 Minutes:
Read the tutorials online
Watch a YouTube tutorial – Creating a Wikispace website and web pages
Step by step handout created by Maryna Badenhorst for Netbook Reflection Trial 2010

One Week:
Spend time collaborating with a tech savy colleague who already has a Wikispace up and running
The Old Fashion – Learn by doing method – Continue to play around with the space.

A Year or More:
Get involved with the Wetpaint Wiki Educational Community
Research with others and how wikis are being used in the classroom – PB Works Online Team Collaboration
Attend tech conferences involving Wikispaces in education

This all sounds great, If Only there was enough time!