Monday, September 30, 2013

Copyright Overveiw

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Copyright is, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

For a simple breakdown on copyright basics on YouTube, this video that explains copyright in a simple, easy to understand way. 

Video credit Copyright Clearance Center

The Copyright Act of 1976 was established in the United States in response to the rise in technology with television, motion pictures and the radio. I assumed that the Act was in place to protect the authorship of creation. In today's culture the purpose is the same with changing media encompassed to protect. All the new media and opportunities to create art, for a lack of a better word, rose like with writings digital and physical, blogs and statuses, books and ebooks, movies and YouTube channels, paintings and digital art, pop music and techno music. All of these are creation outputs that authors are now protected and given certain rights under the Copyright Act. 

This act is very relevant to today's technology savvy world when the majority of the population is creating and sharing media daily. This act was not created for the protection of the authors, although it clearly is beneficial side effect. The goal of the Copyright Act was enacted for the encouragement of the dissemination of knowledge. The purpose of copyright is to promote the spread of knowledge and innovation (previous sentence and current sentence from this book, Copyright Clarity).  

Photo credit Johanna Blakley

Fair Use is a complex matter that fits into the Copyright Act. Fair Use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. This requires people who wish to use copyrighted work must either ask for explicit permission or use reasoning and good judgement.  
Fair use also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.
  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
This is all hard for users because there is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Fair use is complicated in this way. Use the four factors to guide you and use humane judgement.

This is the Fair Use logo
Fair use logo
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Teacher requires and promotes the sharing of ideas. This is true for the students in the classroom, with group work, true for teachers in the same subject area, sharing lesson plans, true for lessons in general. The teacher figure is merely the agent relaying information to the students. The scientist hypothesized and tested the experiment and came to conclusions in science, now the teacher must teach the students about science and how that experiment may be recreated. Same is true of any subject, the teacher is the person that can explain concepts well not the discoverer in the subject material. So how can a teacher teach without using shared work and knowledge?

Photo credit Timothy Vollmer

Remember the original purpose of the copyright act, was to promote the spread of knowledge and innovation. For teachers in the twenty first century copyright and fair use is a major part of their lives. Using and recreating ideas to teach the students of America. The Copyright Act allows teachers to do their jobs properly by sharing. Teachers can safely use copyrighted material under the doctrine of Fair Use. Without all of the federal support, teachers could not perform their jobs as well as they can with the act and fair use enacted. 

As a teacher, one must think about copyright constantly. It is apart of the job for teachers across multiple disciplines and across grades levels. Copyright is a necessary step that must be considered when teachers create lessons and activities. The important part that teachers need to remember is not that it is a chore but copyrighted material is luxury that we can share and reuse and to be a good role model for the children is the main goal.   

Photo credit Meredith Atwater

Monday, September 23, 2013

Digital Citizenship incorporation into school

Digital Citizenship is defined by wikipedia by it commonly referring to a person utilizing information technology in order to engage in society, politics, and government participation. 

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What this is defined as for the education system is a whole new definition. Digital Citizenship to educators is an area of the modern digital era that is questionable whether or not to teach the proper responsibilities and ramifications that technology can have on the students current lives and future. Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship characteristics 9 basic themes which are digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette  digital law, digital rights & responsibilities  digital health & wellness, and digital security. All of these areas add up to a well- informed person in the modern digital era. 
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What Digital Citizenship means to pre-service teacher is how to be educated as a teacher on how to relay healthy digital life traits to students. This entails each individual school system to be on board with certain policies to demonstrate how students can learn with the new technology and practice safe internet skills. Even if the school system has rules in place about internet use it is still important that a pre-service teacher understands digital citizenship and teaches about safe skills without the practice in a school setting. I feel that there is a responsibility as a school to help the youth understand their actions on the internet. 

Digital Citizenship matters to students by learning and applying the information that is taught to be cautious while using the internet and social media websites. This subject matter directly affects the future of these students by affecting their ability to into college and get a job with a historical history of their character and private lives online. The students need to learn about digital citizenship from a well-educated and informed teacher.

The value that digital citizenship holds is not monetary. The value is within the life lessons that a teachers hopes students learn. Why it digital citizenship education matter so much is because it is a modern life lesson that teachers and schools need to start teaching just like the golden rule and sharing toys. The educational system is in place to teach the youth of each generation the vitals of life and in the twenty first century generation of children, digital citizenship needs to be in the curriculum. 

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How this should be implemented into the classroom is interwoven into everyday lessons. More and more multimedia and innovative technologies are being integrated into learning and with the technology savvy lessons, teachers should use that as a juncture to talk about digital citizenship. This lesson about being a digital citizen of the world forever is a big topic that should be focused in everyday but have a mass school-wide education day every year for the whole school. This could show examples of mistakes and prove as powerful lessons to remember for the kids. These lessons should be added in elementary school so it can be a normal, easy topic to discuss. I believe that posters with internet norms should be posted of the school- wide policy of WiFi and internet use. Also teachers should constantly reminding children and make posters reminding them about the privacy issue of the internet. This is a way to implement the concept of digital citizenship into the classroom.

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Additionally there is this video show how parents can be a force to help with aspects of children's digital citizenship or in their terms, "healthy media diet." They promote 3 simple rules: 1- use media together, 2- be a role model, 3- keep an eye on the clock. On Common Sense Media here is advice for parents is the video and additional information.

George Corous looks at how schools should evaluate how they implementation of digital citizenship. He has created a table for a grade, which is appropriate for a school.  
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His evaluation of schools incorporation of digital citizenship is very basic. With only four categories is limiting. Not only could a school be in between even in transition it is possible that a school is graded 2 but some teachers are preforming at a grade 4. This creates some inconsistencies with the rating. Overall I think it is a good idea to have a standardized grade scale. His grade chart is a great base to start at for the education system. I think this is the start and the future for the digital citizenship in schools.   

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Digital Divide: Who, What and Why

What is the Digital Divide? 

The digital divide is the uneven availability of digital access and the proper skills needed among the members of society especially when focusing on education.

Digital Divide
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The divide has come down to the "kind" or "type" of technology being accessed by different groups. Not only dealing with inequalities of different minorities but also inequalities of people with disabilities, 27% of adults living with disabilities are less likely to to go online (1). These are all issues when technology is present but there is still some rural areas of the country with little or inconsistent internet access. The digital divide is now focusing their efforts to entering into digital "literacy."

The digital divide is admitting that there is an unbalanced distribution of technology in different schools, understanding that not all students are going to have the same exposure on a multitude of levels. Strictly availability, families view of technology, and the type of skills achieved when technology is present.  

In today's modern age, more children are have smart phones and use them as their internet source. This cause problems considering the limiting factor with a phone when compared to the versatility of a computer. On a phone updating a status is possible but updating a resume or filling out an application is nearly impossible. This is an example of availability of mobile technology but not the proper devices and skills. Another point with technology skills is just because someone knows how to use Facebook and twitter does not mean that they are proficient in modern technology across the board, such as being able to create a website. 

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The summary of this whole digital divide issue is availability  which in recent studies have some has more or less been achieved and now the efforts are being focused on the "kind" of access.

Why is it important to teachers? 

The digital divide is important to the education system and specifically teachers because it is causing an even greater inequality between students even when "equal" when all of the students with technology. It is becoming more and more evident with the newer technologies that there is a gap or a divide between students within the country as well as around the world.

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This graph is showing the amount of people who own a computer per 100 people. This most is unsurprisingly in the developed parts of the world like the United States, lots of Europe and Australia. Among the least computers is throughout Africa. This show how uneven the distribution of technology is throughout the world and on a global scale.  

This is an issue that is affecting all school age children. What schools systems today are running into is that each child has his or her own availability and skill set to technology. This creates a challenge for teachers in their classrooms to create a equal twenty first century classroom with a diverse class of students and their own personal skills, their access and the teacher's promotion into and with technology. To see some data on the use of technology among youthSpecifically some interesting data from this article is that 95% of teen 12-17 have adopted technology when compared to adults ages 30-49 at only 87%(2). This even shows that there is a gap between adults and children in their own generations on digital usage and skill set. 

Not only the students are effected by the digital divide but how the teachers may and may not be able to run the classroom is effected. Not only on how to run the classroom but how can a teacher level the road? How can one teacher try to help the weak technology one while challenging the prior digital literate children. This is a careful equilibrium which is why this topic is so important to educators of the twenty first century. Some interesting statics on the amount of technology users throughout the world throughout recent history. For example the amount of users in 1995 only 0.4% of the world's population compared to the massive gain in 2013 at 38.8% of the world's population are using technology (3). Clearly technology is expanding and it is time for the education system to look at the new emerging technology issues and find solutions. Technology has spanned the test of decades, is not going away and cannot be ignored in the schools. This main issue is the digital divide and is important to teachers to find new solutions to close the divide for students.  

(1) Digital Differences
(2) Digital Divides and Bridges: Technology Use Among Youth
(3) Internet Growth Statics

Monday, September 9, 2013

Digital Natives Controversy

  On the topic of Prensky's concept of Digital Natives, when forced to pick a side I am against it. Although I can see both sides points. 

As a quick overview of Prensky's concepts here are the basic. Marc Prensky coined the terms Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants  What he meant by these terms is that in the new generation of technology and the digital explosion the general ability of the user is dependent on what generation one is apart of either Digital Immigrants (entering the realm of technology, older generation) or Digital Natives (which is being born into the era of technology). For additional information on Marc Prensky. For a quick explanation of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, posted here is a dry but informative educational video on it (kind of ironic considering they want to promote this use of technology but their use of video is basic).

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Why I see both sides of the debate which is interesting because both hold valid points, for instance, this video is a great explanation of why 21st century generation likes technology, because they like immediate answers and not be bound by traditional education practices. This video is for Digital Natives.

Video credit Blackboard Inc.

By being against the idea that there is Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants as Prensky coined, I am taking the stance that there is no such thing. I think that digital fluency is more effected by interest, availability and many more points than simply ones generation.

1.) Prensky's first article is not based on fact, proof nor evidence. Marc "Prensky’s original article is merely an opinion piece" (Handley). He is writing an article not a research paper with peer review and data. He is expressing his opinions. Not to mention that he published a second article where "even Prensky himself has modified his position" (Handley) on clear sections of Native or Immigrants is not necessarily 100% true.  

2.) First off my initial thinking is who created technology in the first place? The older generation. Who teaches the current students (or the so called "Digital Natives") how to use technology in the first place. The older generation teachers. Think of all the technology class that are in schools today, starting in elementary school with computers being an enhancement  middle school and typing class, high school with digital movie making or drafting all the way to college levels with computer engineering. These classes are all taught by a person of the older generation (or the so called "Digital Immigrates"). To me it makes since that Digital Native-ness does not exist. 

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3.) More thoughts on this subject is how could birth timing of a whole generation create such a massive revolution? Did all of our mothers decide to take a pill that inserted knowledge about technology into their unborn child so that the whole generation could speak Digital Native without an accent. I know that is sassy but it creates a more obvious answer that generation does not dictate what people know. 
For an example think about women. The classic women is the home-keeper and knows how to cook, right? Now just because the person is a woman does not mean she has the recipes encoded on her DNA. The classic women is a lady that took the time to learn how to cook from her mother and respected ladies in the community. Parallel this example to Digital Natives. 
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Just because someone was born after 1980 and grew up with technology around them, that does not mean that they have technology knowledge encoding in their DNA. It had to be learned from an elder who most likely was a person of the older generation. 

4.) This also bring up the point that although the younger generation grew up with technology around them, does not mean that universally each child born after 1980 had technology available to them. Availability is a key factor to digital fluency. A child may live in rural areas where the spread of technology took longer than in urbanized places. A second child may live with one parent and finances are tight and no money to buy technology. These children compared to the child that may have a parents who is interested, have money to and do buy the digital gadgets for themselves and therefore that child has early exposure to technology. These three children could have been born in the same year and had different lives when it came to technology as well as the variable initial interest. The first may not care in the least bit, the second could envoy that technology the is available but out of their reach and the third child could be oblivious. This is all just thinking within the bounds of developed nations. This shows that their are many different factors that accumulate and show that Digital Natives could not possibly exist.
5.) This also junctures to the thought of under-developed countries. Do the children that are born in third world countries have the same technology understanding as those in first world countries? According to Prensky, the Digital Natives are those who were born after 1980, there is no stipulation as to what  country one was born into or raised. This makes me think that it is not true. For more in depth statistic about internet usage and the digital divide in different age groups and locations here is Pondering the Digital Divide Across the Globe. Also in the graph below is a graph of cell phone subscribers in developed nations verses developing nations verse the world as a whole. As show, the distribution of purely mobile phones is not equal so how could technology be universal enough to have Digital Natives across the world? I do not think there can be. 

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6.)  Not to mention how the families that have technology uses technology. In "some families computers are seen as valuable educational tools and parents actively engage their children in their use, in others computers are only used for the purposes of entertainment and parents restrict their use" (Handley). This shows that technology usage can be different for different families in different places. In thinking that factors of geographic location, affluence to afford modern technology, opinion and family values come into play with technology fluency as well as many others. 

7.) Another point is interest  If someone is interested in learning anything, that is the drive that pushes personal learning forward. If a young person is not interested in technology, to them it may seem too much of a hassle to update their technology, they will not have a strong pursuit to learn about technology and integrate it into their lives. Same as the case for the older generation in reversed. If an adult wants to learn about technology the can and will. Some of the masters of technology are from the older generation. Such as famous master like Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple Inc), born in 1955, Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft), born in 1955 as well, and Larry Page (co-founder of Google Inc.) was born in 1973. All of these innovative, well-known men are supposedly labeled a Digital Immigrates by Prensky when many people would argue that these people are the masters of technology not the younger generation of Digital Natives.
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8.) This point melds into personal interest as well as job positions. Some adults have needed to integrate technology to improve their job or company in some way, an example teachers, or the new flood of new jobs that are technology based, such as the computer technicians at any business. These select adults are considered the professionals in technology but that is based on interest and job placement and not a generational issue.  

Here are eight points that I use in the discussion about Marc Prensky's model of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants to prove the point that they do not exist in society.

Handley Zoe. (2011) Digital Natives: Fact or Fiction? Oxford University Press

Monday, September 2, 2013

Technology Integration in the classroom

Technology Integration in the classroom

        The idea of technology is to make life easier and more interesting. Why should it be any different in the classroom with technology integration?
The importance of technology in the classroom is un-parallel to much else in the classroom. Think of classrooms without a white board or a projector. Think of life without email. Technology integration has been underway for many years in the classroom and continues to be just as important and just as challenging.
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Technology in the classroom should make certain concepts easier for the students to conceptualize and more interesting with the variety of the lessons that are now available with the vast amounts of technology.  Communication through technology is easier for teacher/parent/ student contact and should be seamless in the coming future.
The importance for successful technology integration in the classroom is for the teachers as well as the students. There is importance for the student’s learning because a new frontier in education is being discovered thanks to technology.  The vast amount of iPad apps that are now learning-based, 
Photo credit Intel Free Press
educational computer and video games like Leap Frog,
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 classroom management cites such as Dojo
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 and safe communication like Remind101 is now creating new possibilities in life and also in the classroom. 
The importance for effectively technology integration for the teachers and some of the new technology that makes their lives easier. For instance the SMART Boards allows for teachers to navigate a website or learning games while standing at the board without having to move back and forth to the computer and it serves for the teacher as well as an interactive board for students to learn on. 
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Another example is Remind 101 for the safe communication for teachers with student and parents, this technology makes reminding people about events or homework easier on the teacher in a 100% safe environment. 
The new technologies are very exciting and requires teacher to be open to learning the new technologies and integrating them into their classroom. In more of a non-direct vantage point teachers using technology can help teach students how to use technology safely. Teachers can have impact as role models for their students. When teachers are using technology in a healthy and in productive way, the internet could become a safer place in the future. The importance of seamless integration of technology is relying of the quality of the new generation of teachers but brings lots of rewards for the students’ predicted and still unseen as well as rewards for the teachers and the school system. 
      Good technology integration is what the modern teacher is. It should look like a teacher who has passion, is flexible and quick on their feet. The lessons plans should be using diverse types of technology and different degrees of new and old technology with multiple learning styles in mind. All of this should be in reality with different type of technology like the iPad apps and class Dojo incorporating with old technology such as calculators and hands on learning as well as lecture pedagogical strategies. All in all successful technology integration in the classroom is technology that is not an afterthought, it is forefront in lesson plans and a dominate part of the modern teachers’ role. Good technology integration in the classroom looks natural. It is not a teacher where technology was an after thought, an accessory or forced into a lesson.

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        The best integration of technology is the NETS-T model in my opinion. NETS-T has a balance between what the teacher should do to better the class, lesson and professional improvement. The equilibrium of pedagogical strategies with technology integration and content knowledge which is TPACK.
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What I like about NETS-T when compared to NETS-S, 21st Century Skills Framework and NC Teacher Evaluation is the NETS-T incorporates "professional development." Which to me, without a teacher that has professional development in technology, what good is that teacher in technology? I think it is important that the teacher take time to learn what they are going to be using in the classrooms. With the professional development, NETS-T includes digital age learning, showing modern digital age work and learning skills, promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility and facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity. All of these seem to balance what a modern teacher should model for their own classrooms.   
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       As for my experience with technology integration in the classroom, in primary and secondary schools I did not have a teacher do well. Not saying that my teachers were not trying and did not teach well! Sadly my school system is just recently getting smart boards in all the elementary schools and mobile laptops for teachers to reserve for their classroom. My classes had 3 or 4 desktops in the back of the room and a projector and lots of overheads.  Some would bring us to the library for research days and bring in the laptop labs for us to use.  Smartphones were banned in my school especially during classes. Most teachers hated them and thought that the integrity of the education system was being insulted with the use of smart phones in the classroom. In contrast my collegiate career has been a far more positive cry from my secondary schooling memories. I have had multiple classes require laptops in class, have had classes use clickers for questions as well as smartphone apps like, GoSoapBox app, for daily quizzes and MOST of my classes use Moodle or WebAssign for information, homework, quizzes and even some tests digitally.
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 I have had some teacher use aspects of a successful integration of technology in the classroom but yet to find a teacher that has mastered all aspects. I hope to be that teacher someday that can have a healthy equilibrium of technology integration in my classroom.
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        In the sad event that teachers do not integrate technology effectively the results can be ugly. I had an English professor that did not use technology at all. He would ask students to leave immediately if he saw a phone and thought that using phones in class directly was disrespectful to him as a teacher as well as the education we as students were paying for. While I agree texting in class is disruptive and disrespectful, teachers should always be flexible to incorporating new ideas and interactive activities with technology. This professor did not even have a Moodle site and there was no way for his students to check on their grades electronically or check the assigned reading for homework.  Now in my opinion he taught us the English course, I just saw room for improvement in the technology integration and accessibility department.