Archive for the ‘CTER’ Category

How Common is Cyberbaiting?

According to Norton Cybercrime Report 2011, 21% of teachers have personally experienced or know another teacher that has experienced cyberbaiting.  Cyberbaiting is not as common as cyberbullying, but it does exist.  Cyberbaiting is a form of cyberbullying of teachers conducted by students.  It’s when students taunt their teachers, capture their reactions on a mobile recorder and threaten to upload the footage to the Internet.  A number of videos of teachers losing their cool can be found online.

I recall a situation just a few years ago where students provoked one of our English teachers and captured her reaction on video only to share it on the Web.  It wasn’t until then that our school established the rule of making all recording devices off limits for students.

It’s only natural that cyberbaiting is getting attention with teachers and students sharing an online relationship.  This online connection, despite its educational purposes, allows teachers to be targets for unruly behavior and revenge by their students.

According to Netsafe Chief Technology Officer Sean Lyons, cyberbaiting is a wake-up call for schools and their use of social media.  The Norton Report  reveals that 34% of teachers are friends with students on social media networking sites; however, 67% of teachers say being friends with students on social networking sites exposes them to risks.   Lyons believes schools can minimize these risks through the development of their own social media.  Such a development would allow schools to reap the benefits of teachers and students connecting outside the classroom while at the same time establishing customized limits and school monitoring.  Foremost, technology usage rules must be specific and in place for both teacher and student.  It is continually of importance that students be aware of right digital usage in the home and school environment with the hopes of it caring over to their daily social lives and their future.

In the video below provided by Breakfast, a New Zealand News Show, Lyons shares some examples of cyberbaiting and speaks of how it can be a fine line for school officials when it comes to making a decision on one’s employment solely on these videos.  Videos do not give all the details building up to the explosive moment and can be taken completely out of context.

The emergence of cyberbaiting is just another of many issues that arise and will continue to arise from the use of social media.  Society must learn to respect their boundaries and responsibilities when using such powerful tools.


Teen Texting and Communication Skills

I have to admit, I never felt the need to add the texting package to my cell phone.  Really never understood the need for it when I could call someone if I couldn’t talk to them face to face.  Choosing not to join the texting band wagon was my way of boycotting what I saw in society every day . . . two people siting across from each other in a restaurant texting . . . what is so important that one’s phone cannot be put aside for a short time?  I still recall while waiting to be seated at a restaurant a family of five with young children preoccupied with texting.  Four out of the five family members were texting on their phones while the youngest craved attention from anyone around.  It just made me question what’s happened to our society and the art of communicating.  As an outsider looking in, I felt sad for this family.  Just picture it . . . husband texting, wife texting, teen daughter texting, tween son texting, and then the lonely toddler.  Granted, I may be making too big of a deal about it, but it just seems that it’s gotten out of hand for some cell phone users.

According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, young adults stand far above all other demographic groups when it comes to their usage of text messaging. Fully 95% of 18-29 year olds use the text messaging feature on their phones, and these users send or receive an average of 87.7 text messages on a normal day (with the median user in this age group sending or receiving 40 text messages per day).

The high use of texting by young adults seems to be taking a negative toll on the way today’s young communicate.  It is evident in the classroom that their texting habits have carried over into their academic and professional communications where I see the acronym ur and the use of lower case i.  Many, including myself, believe texting has negatively affected writing causing students to take short cuts with messaging acronyms and to write so quickly with little attention to grammar.   It’s as if messaging with acronyms has caused today’s students to choose the quickest and simplest word usage when communicating in a formal setting limiting their vocabulary usage.  Many students have resorted to writing like they talk.

Not only has texting leaked into formal writing, it appears to have affected how the young communicate face to face as depicted in the PSA video below.

From: BackwordsBooksProduc  | Nov 10, 2011

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro technology and believe it greatly enhances and benefits our daily lives, but I just question how technology such as texting has affected today’s youth.  Needless to say, I eventually caved to the idea of adding texting to my cell phone package and have enjoyed this short form of communication ever since.  However, I have vowed to be sensitive to texting when with people, while in stores, and when writing.


In examining a number of PLE’s at EdTechPost’s wiki, I found myself relating to a number of creations.  One was Darcy Norman’s people oriented graphic for its bare bones simplicity emphasizing that our professional growth is all about communicating and sharing with others.  And really, isn’t that the truth?  I have learned so much in sharing with others in the CTER program and then I am turning around and pushing that information out to my students and colleagues.  Our own little professional growth cycle. If it weren’t for your willingness to share, I can honestly say that my current PLE would be minimal.  I would hope I’d eventually get to where I am now on my own, but I know it would not be at the rate it has been with your help.


I was also drawn to David Hopkins’ hybrid/abstract design for its visual attraction, but then beyond that, I was craving structure.  Following these two, I noted Christine Lampe’s use and action oriented PLE for including her PLN and depicting her PLE in a circular motion with two way interactions within.  This allowed me to piece together David’s attractive design and Darcy’s simplistic approach making sense of my own PLE/PLN giving way to my very own graphic interpretation.

My PLE is a little of everything focusing on tools for sharing and gathering resources plus taking action in creating projects, while at the same time, keeping a two-way connection open with professionals, colleagues, students, family, and friends.  With my subject matter focused on assisting my students in developing technical skills in graphics, web design, and animations, a great deal of my time is devoted to exploring and becoming comfortable with tools.  My PLE includes organization tools, social media, software and equipment, my job, video outlets, the Internet, and last but not least, I still refer to traditional modes of communication such as documentaries and magazines for ideas and news.  Maybe some of you would label me old school, but I love to look at print for design ideas and examples for my students as well as news specials about technology.  Every January a news channel airs a week of specials and documentaries about the latest technologies/social media.  It acts as a great supplement to my classroom instruction.

I don’t think I can ever really say I am fully happy or satisfied with my current PLE/PLN, as I would hope that I continually reflect and move forward as the world moves forward.  If I accept my PLE/PLN for what it is, I believe I would be doing my students and myself a great disadvantage in guiding them in the development of their own PLE/PLN.  It’s a continuous cycle . . . once I come to a halt in expanding my own PLE/PLN, my students will lose out.  It would be as if I bolted the door shut on them narrowing their scope of opportunities for exploration and knowledge.  Just imagine if every student’s teacher did the same.  It would be solely up to the student and his current PLE/PLN to pave their way to success.

With EPSY 556 being my final CTER course, I’m a little nervous as to how I will manage to continually expand my PLE/PLN.  At the same time, I’m taking the first step in recognizing  that this is not a matter of if I will continue, but rather, how will I continue.  I know it is a must!  It is my responsibility as an educator to continually add elements to my PLE so that I can become an active and vital part of my students PLN.

Digital Curation
Tweeted Times

Wow, all I can say is, “Where have you been all my life?”  At least, that’s what I thought at first when I first hooked up with and Tweeted Times for this week’s assignment.  Within a matter of a few clicks, the computer decidedly placed all who I follow in Twitter in a preset layout.  What more could a busy teacher want than to have someone organize and filter their educational tweets.  But then, I started questioning this process more.  According to Article for Library & Archives, January 2007, digital curation is the active management and appraisal of digital information over its entire life cycle.  Sure, and Tweeted Times do just that.  They actively organize and manage with regularly set updates and they approve stories to be highlighted in your paper.  However, the key word here is ‘they.’  Whose appraisal is it?  Who decidedly placed the stories and most importantly who decided the importance of the story to be highlighted?  They did.  These curation programs give users say with how often they would like these updates, but not as much say as I would like as to what information is important to me.  Therefore, proving that this form of digital curation is not quite the equal counterpart to human curation.  That is, not yet.

Is this curation or only aggregation?  Curation and aggregation both strive to gather information and push it into a defined area; however, curation takes it a step beyond simply gathering information.  It allows the user to carefully pick and choose the information to be organized.  Aggregation without curation could just create another mess of information overload for the user leading them once again to a mass of useless information.

In all honesty, I never really viewed the importance of curation until now.  I would say that human curation let alone digital curation is a weakness of mine.  I’m very good at aggregating information, but then I seem to lose direction beyond that point.  So much like some of my students.  Some students simply aggregate information in the form of papers/notes stuffed in one book or binder, while others take it a step further by carefully organizing the information into related topics with separate folders, notebooks, and binders.  And then there are some students who don’t even attempt to aggregate. and Tweeted Times could be an excellent stepping stone in teaching organizational skills to those students who seem to never have it together. Not only that, today’s wired students and students of the future will continually be bombarded with more digital information than they will know what to do with.  The first key to their success is and will continue to be their skill in organizing and filtering that digital information in a meaningful manner allowing them to work more efficiently on the true task at hand.  Every high school student should be exposed to digital aggregation and curation.  It appears that these digital tools are simply an extension of teaching students study skills such as how to take and organize notes in a meaningful manner laying the ground work for academic success.

As students are exposed to digital tools such as and Tweeted Times, they must be informed that the user must customize the program to benefit the user or they’ll end up with another pool of digital information lacking meaning.   The content curation can be customized according to your preferences through the use of keywords and hashtags.  I would say limited customization is a key disadvantage to these two programs.  Where RSS feeds aggregates the information the user chose then allowing the user to easily pick and choose as to what’s important to them.  I see this as an advantage over and Tweeted Times.  Another possible disadvantage to any digital curation tool is the “opportunity cost” factor.  Will people become so narrow minded and not as well-rounded citizens by limiting their exposure to only topics of choice for their daily read while missing out on other important topics?

With only working with and Tweeted Times for a short period of time, it is difficult to take a stance on one over the other.  They both serve the same purpose of digitally organizing a users information, so in the end, it may come down to the personal preference of appearance.  For me, I’m more attracted to Tweeted Times for its simpler layout that more closely resembles a newspaper layout.  However, it seems that offers more user control with keywords, hashtags, and the option to add an RSS feed.

Digital Media in the Classroom

With my subject matter being technology, it’s a necessity my students work with technology in a positive and responsible manner.  Face it, it’s a necessity for all of us; it’ become an extension of common etiquette in everyday social interactions.  With that being said, I’m trying to explore different ways of laying the ground work of cyber ethics for my students.  In the past, my ultimate goal was to help my students develop technical skills using a particular software program such as Adobe Photoshop for graphics, but I can no longer exclude the importance of being responsible users of technology with the surge of social media.  This responsibility is beyond the days of instructing my students to stay away from inappropriate sites and no downloading during class.  Our students were born into this social media environment with no direction on how devastating and long-lasting poor digital use can affect them and those around.

How do you think the students will benefit? What resources will be needed? How might you assess it? . . .

I’m excited to try this lesson in class!  Using xtranormal, a free online video creation program, I created a digital introduction to my class about their cyber citizenship assignment along with a project example.  Along with a partner, students are to create a skit or informative dialogue about being digitally responsible in the area of Internet safety, social networking, cyberbullying, or cyber ethics such as copyright.  To get started, one student per group will need to setup an account at

(sorry, couldn’t get the video to embed into the html)

I will provide students additional project details in the form of a handout until I have the class set up in Edmodo where they can access details online.  First, students will research their topic of choice being sure to note their sources in their video.  I will also list a variety of note worthy sites to cover the aforementioned topics in depth.  Secondly, they’ll work together to produce an informative dialogue/skit in xtranormal.

I feel my students will benefit in a number of ways with this lesson.  Rather than the lesson being teacher led, it becomes student led with them taking ownership of their learning through a partnership of researching and the creation of a new media piece reflecting what they’ve discovered.

Unfortunately, with all assignments, there’s the process of assessing a student’s work.  This project could be assessed in the following areas:

  • Teamwork participation? (yes or no) – assisted in research, typed in their portion of their dialogue or skit into xtranormal
  • Completion of video using xtranormal?
  • Did video project a specific detail of cyber ethics ranging from Internet safety, social networking, cyberbullying, or cyber ethics?
  • Did students cite their sources of research?

As I’m typing this entry, it got me thinking that maybe having 4 topics to choose from may be too broad.  Perhaps I should divide it up by having all students create an xtranormal video about a specific issue of Internet safety.  Then, in another lesson, I could have students focus on responsible social networking using a different form of digital media such as animoto, responsible cyberbullying using prezi, followed by glogster for cyber ethics.  In the past, I have had my students choose from a listing of technology topics and collaborate with a partner to create an informative wiki page about the topic.  So a wiki could also be used for covering the cyber ethics topics.

Education in 2025 – EPSY 556

Consider your current teaching/learning environment.

  • How do you think learning/teaching and learning spaces will be different in 2025?
  • What aspects of your current environment would you keep?
  • What aspects of it would you change? And why?
  • How will the change you foresee affect teachers, learners and educational institutions?

With every year, we have changes in world population, resources, economy, and government; however, the greatest changes that come at us with such gust, are the changes in technology and the information it generates.  Flash forward 14 years into the future and you’ll witness the extinction of some of today’s businesses and the faint memory of how things were once done, but you will not witness the elimination of technology.  It brings us to that old adage; “you can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” meaning, “you can’t take technology back.”  As more and more technology is unleashed, we, the people, are incessantly hungry for more.  As we flash forward 14 years, this addiction to technology will continue to have a significant impact on the way schools exist, teachers teach, and students learn.

In 2025, I envision the affects of technology in education will stretch further than today beyond the classroom walls allowing educators to reach a greater number of students, especially those who have been lost to the traditional classroom setting.  I believe today’s traditional classroom of students seated at desks and being teacher led will need to shift to a more flexible, free flowing setting where the students are leaders in their own collaborative learning process and the teacher is more of a guide/observer.  I hope it’s fair to say we will see a greater number of students tuned into their own personal learning environments who are better equipped in researching, filtering, and managing the vast of information overload.  A time when the norm is no longer teach to the majority, but rather allow students to take charge of their learning.  On a more realistic note, in 2025, I foresee schools still being faced with the challenge of being fully networked and equipped to accommodate the surge of technological advances.  It would be wonderful if I’m wrong, but I feel educators will continue to be faced with unmotivated students despite the availability of technology and loss of boundaries within the classroom.

However, it’s not 2025, it is 2011 as I examine the current learning environment at Highland High School.  An environment that is strongly traditional in setting with a glimpse of technological interventions.  I witness students who are born wired, but not for our traditional setting.  I see a school that is lacking in financial resources lending to the lack of technology available to teachers and students.   As a result, I see teachers who are frustrated and students who are uninspired.  As hopeless as our current environment may sound, I’m proud to be a part of an environment that does not give up and continues to move forward fighting against our current barriers.  Our staff is continually sharing what works and what doesn’t work.  You currently see teachers working together to replace rote memorization with lessons where students are highly engaged taking charge of their own learning making it more meaningful and lasting.  Whether 2011 or 2025, schools and teachers will continue to face uncontrollable roadblocks.  What matters though is how schools and teachers react and work to oversee such roadblocks for the good of their students.

With the foreseeable changes in education in 2025, schools will need to find a better way to quickly adapt to the rapid changes and growth in technology.  Administrators and teachers will need to become more flexible in the learning environment allowing for more of a student driven learning process.  Students will need to be motivated and aware of their own personal learning environments in and outside of the classroom.  In the end, all involved will need to continue to share and work together to make life long learning the ultimate goal in education.

CTER Born Explorers – Course Reflection

CTER born explorers . . . If you weren’t a natural born explorer at the start of the CTER program, you’re definitely on your way with the completion of the EPSY 590. A course that not only allows you to explore technology, but explore technology that benefits you and your instruction in your very own classroom. Freedom to work with technology in a way that would help my students become more engaged and me to become a better instructor. Even as an adult student, it’s not very often that you participate in a course that allows such freedom. And it is for this very reason that I thank you for the freedom to explore technology without restraints.

Of all technologies covered in this course, I valued the time blogging, exploring Edmodo, use of cell phones in the classroom, and simply the value of all the resources shared by all. Some of you may be asking how I could have valued blogging when my blog is so bleak. The answer is that it actually encouraged me to start my own classroom blog for my web III class. It is with this blog that I stepped outside of my comfort zone of teaching students how to create web sites to actually discussing the impact of these very technologies on society. Students began to explore and blog their thoughts on the ethics, responsibility, and anonymity of living with web 2.0 technologies.  It was a great accomplishment and addition that brought life and interest back into my method of teaching.

And just when I was excited about using Moodle in my classroom, this class introduced me to Edmodo.  I was so impressed with its ease of use and appreciated its similarities in appearance with Facebook.  I didn’t implement it in my classroom this semester, but am currently preparing an Edmodo location for next year’s Consumer Education courses.  I would have never been exposed to Edmodo as an option to Moodle if it wasn’t for EPSY 590.

I have also started experimenting with cell phones in the classroom despite our district rule of no cell phones in school.  The way I see it is that they use them anyway, so why not show them how to use them for educational purposes.

Most importantly, I valued and appreciated the time to develop a curriculum project of relevance and use in my own classroom.  Without this course, the likelihood of developing a digital citizenship wiki for our business department this year was slim.  We now have a central location of lessons, videos, and statistics on a topic so desperately needed by students.

Thank you to all for sharing your knowledge and spreading your passion and energy for teaching with technology!  The course was a great example of how web 2.0 technologies work by allowing us to share and collaborate so easily taking away ideas and knowledge that fulfilled our specific needs and motivating us to continue to explore.