Radio Show… Let’s go

I would ever be fortunate enough to say this, but LISTEN TO MY RADIO SHOW!

After collaborating with two of my peers for class we decided on a segment, True Life: I’m a Cortland Student.

The project was assigned to us about 2 weeks ago by our Professor, and I must admit, I was hesitant at first. There was a pile of work in my lap already. This was the last thing I wanted to worry about; in yet, I pasted a smile on my face when I met with my group. The hard part came first, what on earth were we going to discuss for 20 minutes?

We started listing out topics and themes that we had in common, my first instinct was to be cheesy and recommend a “Gossip Girl” broadcast featuring the famous lines “Spotted” and “xoxo Gossip Girl.” Yeah, that did not stick well with my other two classmates.

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We knew we wanted to stick with something that we all knew well. We needed a topic that was original, yet dear to the heart, and that’s when it clicked for one of my peers, “A ‘True Life’ segment about our college life.” It was decided.

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Spring Break got in the way, but I am not complaining. As soon as we got back we started to work on the project, spending the whole afternoon locked in a bedroom taking turns hashing out ideas. I was fortunate to be put into a group with a digital native, Cory, and a brainstorming wiz, Nicole. We came up with loosely drafted discussions, leaving room for others to jump in when necessary. We talked about everything we could think of, including things we did not agree on. We got into heated debates about which bakery in town is better, and what places downtown are a must. Working together was easy, and came naturally.

The editing part was a different story. We spoke into Cory’s large Microphone, which was hooked-up to his Mac. Then we watched as he would play around with where the blocks would be placed on the recording’s graph-like page. Every so often one of us would stutter, or mess up whatever it was that we were trying to say. He would have to cut one of the voice blocks in half and start from where the mistake was made. That was the tedious part. Thankfully, he led us through the editing process.
I entered this media project with peers, and came out with friends. I can’t say I have any complaints about this experience, except the minor time requirement. It felt natural for the first 10-15minutes; our dialogue and set-up. Then, it felt a bit forced and not as relaxed; which is obviously not the type of show we wanted. But, I’ll let all of my readers be the judge of that.
Listen up folks, this is True Life: I’m a Cortland Student.

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… “Here!” “Present”

“Click the number 4 when you see your name appear on the above head computers; this is how we will keep attendance.”

My first day of Biology 110 had officially started, and I was already lost. We had to sign in with these little remotes that were our gateways to a better grade. The clickers were our ways to show we attended class, as well, as a way to earn extra credit. Multiple choice questions were presented after attendance as a mini-review of the previous lesson. Everyone had a fair chance to earn a few extra points, along with an opportunity to feel accomplished before the rampage of note-taking began for that day.

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Online Attendance

Honestly, I was skeptical at first. What if I forget my clicker? What if someone else just brings in my clicker and does it for me? How is this an accurate way to teach a college level course to class with a majority or immature freshmen?

Then I realized that my skepticism, while normal, was a bit rash. I had an opportunity to feel trusted. I had a responsibility of not only bringing in my own remote to check-in, but to review the notes from class days and earn whatever points I could. There was a no tolerance rule when it came to having two remote-clickers in one’s possession. Which did scare quite a few students. It was considered cheating, and would be handled the same way a dishonesty policy would from the handbook.

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There was a sense of pride in answering a question right before starting the days lesson. It was even better when I got an answer wrong, and it was left anonymous. I never worried about how it would feel to raise my hand in such a large class size and risk embarassment. How is this not the way of the future?

Of course, some schools will not have the technology, or support financially, to accomodate all students with remotes and online check-ins. However, there are apps available now for such an opportunity. With so many smartphones taking over the younger generations, why not work with it.

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Go ahead, google this AttendanceApp; available for ipads too.
Making participation one step easier, and one step into the future.

The Negative to Technology

There are so many positives of this digital age.

Online communities have been emerging over the past few years giving people the chance to be in constant communication. This endless ability to interact has quite the effect on the educational systems. Giving school systems the opportunity to contact, and connect, with students and faculty, whenever deemed necessary, leaves little room for miscommunications, missed deadlines, and any falling behind. However, this also means that students are in constant contact with fellow classmates: 24/7.

In an idealistic classroom this would not be a problem, but rather a solution which would encourage unity and reinforce students to discuss anything they need to, at any, and all times. What a great invention to promote steady inquiry, right?

Unfortunately, the perpetual access with technology, allows bullying to follow students home. If a student is being teased within a classroom, he or she was able to go home and escape it for a bit; if lucky. Now, there is no running from mean words, or actions.
Cyber-bullying has become a serious problem among today’s society. Attacking another, whether it is unintentional and thought to be “righting the wrongs”, or an attempt at asserting power, this has become a virtual phenomenon. Students think that if it is done “jokingly” when not in school, that it is not as serious as taunting and physically attacking another in person.

Of course, it is well-known that this is an issue, but besides pointing out that it shouldn’t be done, maybe we should discuss the after-affects. There are many websites that exemplify ways for one to put an end to the issue, such as Stop Cyberbullying and Stop Bullying. Both seem pretty obvious to the title, but the first web page has different categories based on ages 7-10, 11-13, 14-17, parent and caregivers, teachers, and law enforcers; whereas the second site helps give ways to discuss the topic.

Society has been engraved by the expectations of social media to act, speak, look, and think a certain way. Often the easiest way to feel better momentarily about oneself is to find, or make-up, the flaws in others. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to falling into this trap due to such an awkward transition and growth that the child must face. As a former victim, to a girl who became the bully, to a caregiver, and now, a future educator, my perspective has been ever-changing.

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In elementary school I was constantly picked on for having a wild brother, a mother who taught in the school, a body too thin, and a voice too high. After entering high school, I quickly made friends with a group of girls who dominated the rest of our freshmen class. I would never say anything about the other girls that would tease and mock, but I never stopped them either. I had finally outgrown my awkward looks, and family connections. I was my own person, but I was not a person to be proud of. I separated from this group and become friends with at least one person in every “clique”, quickly opening my mind, and heart, to others. Before I knew it I was an older sibling of two beautiful children who needed my guidance. My brother fell into the victim setting, while my sister was the “mean girl.” I quickly whipped them into shape by confronting my brother about thicker skin and a stronger personality, while pulling my sister to reality and having her see the effects emotionally bullying can have.

stop bullying

It is unrealistic to assume that no teacher will face this situation at some point within this profession. However, there are many ways to prevent as many of these issues that we can. Making students aware to the emotional and physical impact that can be made by a few harsh words can build an understanding between students. Simple ice-breakers, such as: having students close their eyes and raise their hands for times they felt bullied, or typing anonymous stories or moments they felt hurt, will help each adolescent see that at the core, we are all similar.
Every single person can feel hurt. Just like every single person has the potential to hurt another. To educate my classes about tolerance is fine, but to engrain a sense of understanding and acceptance is my goal. Cyber bullying is a negative in a world of positives when it comes to all these technological advances. We are friends, caregivers, lovers, educators, and teachers-to-be; so let us teach. Let us teach the kids of today, how to erase these negatives for the world of tomorrow.

Wait, does this count for class?

Back in elementary school I was not allowed to write book reports for any of the audio books I use to love. I would take trips to the local library after school, every Thursday. It was on our way home, and I had just enough time before dance class began to run in and grab a few books. One day, I stumbled upon a Goosebumps tape and book set. I instantly latched myself to my mother and begged to borrow it. I like reading, and always have, but I am a very slow reader! Having the tapes helped me develop a better pace when it came to my reading skills; however, when I told my third grade teacher about this, she completely disapproved. Wouldn’t listening to these audio tapes be similar to a parent reading aloud a chapter book to the child?

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I understand that reading is very important for the youth to improve their literacy habits. Still, I can see both sides of this argument. I have been struggling with which side is “right” or “wrong”, if there even is a label. Some educators consider it cheating, or only a tool to be used by those with disabilities or an impairment. If this is so, I must question why technology is spilling into every other category of education, except the typical, old-school reading techniques. Maybe I just have a soft spot for the tapes; but if this helped me, what if it can help others in the same slow reading pace?

And the thing about online classes is..

What is it about online courses that pulls in so many more people than before?
With the advances in technology, education can now be acquired by everyone; from the working mother, to the young student too far from campus, it is changing the way classes are chosen. My mother is currently taking online classes to obtain her second masters, while working as a Principal in Brooklyn and taking care of her family. I couldn’t help but think of her when I read an article based on a study conducted on Online Education and its’ growth.
While there is an increase in online learning students, I can’t help but wonder why?
Is it the flexible hours? The comfortable learning atmosphere one creates for oneself? It is fascinating to think about.
Just a few years ago this was a rarity, but look how the tables have turned.
I am taken aback by the brilliant advances in technology and the way it has evolved. Those who once did not have a chance to continue their educational careers now can. We are part of a world with possibilities at every corner.

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To read on click the link below!
http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2011/11/11/study-online-education-continues-growth

But why be “out with the old”?

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and boy, was I desperate.

After being assigned to read a novel, which I did not own yet, by the following week, I immediately downloaded the iPhone Kindle app and bought the book virtually. I flew through the first few chapters swiping away at the small screen whenever I had a free moment between classes, homework, and my job. I tried to continue on but would easily lose my attention. I am not the type to get distracted when it comes to literature, but it wasn’t the same. Reading from a little electronic device just did not do it for me. I miss the crisp sound when one would turn a page of a book.
I liked the new book smell.
I loved going to the book store.
It was all so different. Am I the only one who is not easily adjusting to the world of new technology? I love the advances that have been made, but only to a certain extent. Am I going to be left behind in a world of swipes, when I miss the turning pages.