Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You Should Read... Nov. 27th, 2012

Smithsonian Institute's Photo Stream
I had the opportunity the past few days to read and uncover a panoply of thought provoking articles and blog posts by folks in my personal learning network. Listed below are a couple I would like to share and I believe you should read...

 Dr. Marschhausen compares the current U.S. Postal system to the state of education today. He encourages schools to evolve with the times and innovate to better serve the needs of our students.
"...a national news program that was reporting that the US Postal Service is currently losing $25 million per day and ready to default on the first of two $500 million loans from the federal government." 
 "Use your imagination to turn the clock back 25 years.  Imagine if the U.S. Postal Service had the foresight and innovative approach to move to every-other-day mail delivery in the mid-1980’s – and at the same time this revenue savings was applied to innovative projects and development of additional services.  Instead of UPS or Federal Express cutting more and more into the market, the U.S. Postal Service may have produced creative alternatives.  In addition to this stagnation, the emergence of on-line banking and bill paying has reduced the volume of some business mail.  Simply stated, the post office does what it does very well . . . we just may not need it done the same way any longer."
Schools cannot fall into the same trap as the postal system. Fiscal responsibility as well as providing the best learning opportunities for students requires change. Clayton Christianson predicts in his book Disrupting Class that 50% of all high school courses will be online by 2019. This creates a problem for traditional brick and mortar schools. I agree with Dr. Marschhausen when he states,
"Blended and digital learning are the equivalent of Federal Express and online bill paying.  Public schools must act now or face growing competition, a declining market share, and continued questions about relevance.  There is a tremendous opportunity."
This is an amazing time to be in education. Yes, there are a lot of changes, reform movements and challenges but I see these challenges as an opportunity to make something really great for kids.

 Edudemic is becoming one of my favorite blogs. I visit it often and they always have great information for educators. I recently read this post about teachers and social media. Many times social media gets a bad rap because we only hear the bad things but there are so many good ways to use social media with students. We need to harness the power of social media to support student learning.
Here are a few of the suggestions shared by edudemic:
  1. Hold virtual office hours.
  2. Have your students live tweet lectures.
  3. Have your students create a blog.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kiwanis Good Citizenship Award

Congratulations to senior Zach Ball  for being named the Centerburg High School recipient for the Kiwanis Good Citizenship Award. He was one of six students recognized from the area schools at a luncheon yesterday at The Alcove Restaurant in Mt. Vernon.

Zach has recently set a goal of becoming a law enforcement officer and is very determined to do so. Over the past year he has lost 85 pounds and is very committed to his future. He also helps out at many athletic events as the announcer. Zach has learned to announce the games class and portrays a positive image for Centerburg Schools.

Great Job Zach!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Google yourself...

Google yourself.... are you happy with the results? Social media or the negative use of social media may be the difference between getting a job, scholarship or accepted to college. Students today are facing challenges different than any other generation. Their desire to connect with friends online to share all life has to offer is fun and entertaining but could be detrimental to their future. As a kid growing up I made mistakes just like all of you. The difference today is that many students post updates or are tagged in photos recording their mistakes forever for anyone to see online. Potential employers and colleges are watching and they are judging students based on their online behavior.

I use social media daily and connect with many educators across the globe. It has helped me become a better administrator and educator. I mainly use Twitter and understand the benefit of being connected. Students use Twitter as well but they don't always compose the greatest updates or tweets. Parents, I highly recommend that you try the tool Kred.com. Kred will create a visual representation of the online activity of Twitter users. All you need to do is insert the individuals Twitter handle to compile the activity of the user. I use this tool to check on prospective teachers. You should use this tool to monitor what your child is doing and saying on Twitter.

I am a believer in social  media. It is a very powerful tool. It can organize large groups of people and raise millions of dollars for political candidates. It can also connect you to amazing people all over the globe with similar interests. You can use social media to learn and share through Personal Learning Networks (PLN). Make social media work for you - not against you. How you use social media should help you get a job, scholarship or into college instead of eliminating opportunities for you.

Items that you must remove or delete from your online presence include:
  1. profanity
  2. crude, risque or sexual innuendos
  3. racist remarks
  4. pictures of illegal or illicit behavior 
Your digital footprint is a direct reflection of who you are as an individual.