Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 8: Cell Phones: A Tool for Cheating

After the first test, I would've been more proactive with specifically watching Laura and Jessica with the first exam, because of their having "the exact same explanation", possibly to the point of making it apparent to them that I was concerned with them.  However, once the instructor caught them cheating, she followed through accurately.  Once finding out that they did cheat on the other test and exam, though, I would've given them a zero for those exams and referred them for disciplinary action.  Then I would reiterate to the entire class the school policy regarding cheating, letting them know without any doubt, what consequences they should expect for their actions.  This would also be a great time to discuss ethics and integrity with my students.

Banning all cell phones in my classroom would seem to be a knee-jerk, extreme reaction to an unfortunate situation.  After using the cheating incident as a teaching tool on integrity, I would still allow cell phones to be on, with all sounds off, in the classroom; I believe this is in the best interest for the safety and security of the student.  I would permit cell phones to be placed in the upper right hand of the student's desk, where I could see them, and where students would have access in the event of an emergency.  I would also require that student's hands be visible on the top of the desk.  However, if school policy dictated that cell phones would not be permitted in the classroom, then I would have to honor that policy, regardless of my personal feelings on the matter.  I would then work within the system to try to get the policy modified, again, for the security and safety of the students. 

Laura and Jessica, in my opinion, should be suspended for cheating and should receive a zero for each test when they cheated because there was enough evidence in their answers to indicate it was more than one time. Upon their return, I would have them sit in the front of my classroom, with their cell phones in the upper right hand corner of their desks and with their hands always visible to me, and they would be required to listen to my several talks on integrity.  It would take a lot of time and effort on their part to earn my trust; therefore, I would be watching them like a hawk!

Prohibiting cell phones in schools would not be a good solution for the cheating issue, as I presented in the second paragraph above.  I believe the policy to allow the cell phones to remain on a student's desk in full view of the instructor, while requiring the students to have their hands on their desks also in full view, would be a policy enforceable by each teacher.  This would allow for safety and security as well as avoid any temptation the students may experience.  Additionally, a strict policy should be developed by the school administration for violations of the cell phone policy, and even more strict for cheating....with or without a cell phone. 

Integrating what I've learned into the classroom would be the policy that I've presented as a solution to the cheating problem.  However, it's important to note that if a student wants or feels the need to cheat strongly enough, they will find a way to do so, with or without the cell phones.  It is, unfortunately, a fact of life within the academic world as well as in the real world.  Thus, teachers need to address integrity with students as well as examine their own instructional pedagogical emphasis in the classroom (i.e., emphasis on grades vs. knowledge acquired).  While there may be decline in morality within our society, students need to be taught and to understand that even within our court system, there is a standard.  Ethics may include a grey area, but integrity should not be compromised for technology.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reflection on Digital Story Telling Project

This was my first experience with digital storytelling, and it made a lot of sense when I went to the various websites contained in our lab manual.  However, doing it was another thing.  Summing up my experience would be the phrase, "I can't believe I did this!"  For my lack of computer knowledge, I believe that I presented a quality project.  Once I worked within the imovie product, I was relieved that it didn't seen as difficult as I had thought.  Truly, without this couse, I wouldn't have done something like this, and I really have a sense of accomplishment.

Struggles included not knowing how to get from one piece of technology (google search to get it into imovie).

Classroom applications are endless.....any subject, any grade.  It would be exciting to have students do this type of project because of the creativity involved.

Sorry; out of time.  Great project!  Thanks for the experience.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week Six: Digital Storytelling

From a digital storytelling learning experience, students would have the opportunity to gain the following skills:  written communication skills to describe, inform, entertain, and/or to explain; oral communication skills for narration and an oral presentation; non-verbal communication skills through the use of other media, such as still pictures and video; technological skills such as using audio effect, video effects, editing, inserting text overlays, applying transitions, using jpg files and program files, folders, camera skills and filming;  other planning and organizing skills such as utilizing an outline, a storyboard, following through with the project; and if working within a group, cooperation skills, communication skills, and conflict resolution skills.

For a teacher to properly implement the use of digital storytelling in his/her classroom, the teacher will need to have an understanding of digital storytelling and should have completed an example him/herself to be able to demonstrate and model the process.  Training could be from personal research on digital storytelling via the internet, software instructions/directions, workshops, classes, professional development courses, etc.  In short, the amount of preparation and training will depend upon the individual teacher and his/her previous knowledge and experience with technology.  As seen in our lab for this course, the spectrum of previous knowledge/experience of the teacher candidates is wide and varied.  However, it must be noted that if a teacher would like to utilize digital storytelling but does not have a strong background with technology, there are plenty of resources and examples available on the internet for the teacher to be successful with the lesson.

Digital storytelling would be beneficial to shy, quiet students because the student would be able to produce the final product without having to leave his/her 'comfort zone'.  However, if an oral presentation is required of the final product, this may hinder the shy student.  Also for students struggling with writing skills, so 'shy' in the sense of a lack of confidence in his/her writing ability, the digital story will also make available to them another form of communication.  Exposure to digital storytelling for a shy and/or quiet student may open an avenue for that student that he/she never knew existed, allowing him/her to have an outlet for expression.  Digital storytelling may also help this student to realize his/her potential in communication.

For an outspoken student, digital storytelling will provide for him/her an opportunity to express him/herself in ways other than verbal while also exposing him/her to technology and creativity as additional channels to progress with communication skills.

For integrating digital storytelling into the classroom, I've learned that I must take into account the spectrum of technological experience/knowledge of each student, allow ample time and practice for those who lack technological skills to be successful with the assignment, when considering my obejectives for digital storytelling I will also need to consider the spectrum of  communication skills of the student, and most of all, to allow the students to have 'fun' with this assignment rather than seeing it as merely an assignment to complete.  Digital storytelling has a wide range of uses for history, science, language arts, and most other areas of concentration; each student will learn more by teaching others.