Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why Tweet?

It's very easy to shy away from technology, especially social media. It can be intimidating, overwhelming, and just plain confusing. But if you gave it a test run, I4C believes you may even get to a point where you won't be able to live without Twitter! Imagine that.

Why Tweet?

  • 1) It's free. Once you have a log in and password, it requires the same amount of steps as simply signing into your email. 
  •  2) It's informative. Even if you never write an actual tweet, the act of reading other people's tweets is enough to keep you informed and up to date on news and ever-changing industries. Most tweets involve current events and topics about things that are constantly evolving - like technology, educational resources, teaching curriculum and methods, local and national news, and the like.
  • 3) It's an outlet. If you tweet a fact or message, it has the potential of reaching millions of people in a matter of minutes. And all it takes is a "retweet" to carry someone else's message across the globe.
  • 4) You get another way to bookmark things that interest you. Unlike web pages that you bookmark as URL's, Twitter allows you to "follow" any company, person, or subject that happens to have a Twitter account. So your newsfeed can entail topics and news catered just for your interests.
  • 5) What the heck is a hashtag?  A hashtag'ed word or phrase is essentially a way to flag a topic. If you were looking for help in, say, MATH, you could search the hashtag #math, and a list of tweets would come up. Sort of in the way you'd use your standard search engine online.  A hashtag also allows Twitter to track what people are talking about, so that you're able to see the hot topics of the day.
All that being said...think of the times we live in with smart phones and iPads. When a journalist is on the scene of breaking news, all he has to do is type in one simple tweet, and you've been informed before a news anchor has even had time to fix his or her hair for tv! It's just another way to stay on top of your industry and the world. So get tweeting.

You can follow us on Twitter under Internet4classr.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Value of Noncognitive Skills

It's a hard fact of life that students tend to fall into labeled categories during their school years. The class clowns, the athletes, the poplar, the nerdy. We know the growing pains and awkwardness that we as adults want to forget! Teachers spend so much time with their students, they can pinpoint the boy who's amazing with classmates, but scores poorly on school work. They can also pinpoint the boy who's brilliant in math, but lacking in companionship on the playground. How necessary do you think it is to encourage both sides of the spectrum?

Noncognitive skills are increasingly becoming more of a factor in our success. It's not always enough to be smart if you can't carry on a conversation with coworkers or a potential client. Companies want to know more about you and your personality than just your test scores. Interview questions and job applications are more inquisitive. What are your goals? How would you evaluate yourself? How would you handle certain situations?

In addition to our current character education curriculum, it's just as important to encourage socialization. Push for leadership activities, challenging enrichment, and self exploration. You can use your language arts to enhance essay writing and human narrative.

Job markets aren't easing and expectations aren't lowering. The more preparedness we can offer, the better for our children.

The following topic was adapted from an article written by Alan Boyle.  Alan Boyle is a freelance writer. He writes and researches on the future of American education and standardized testing.  The full article can be read here.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Importance of Good Character

When does a white lie turn into a big lie? When does a simple tease at the lunch table turn into an eating disorder? When does the need to be popular turn into peer pressured drug and alcohol abuse? You want to answer with a "never" but we know it's really more of an "often."

The foundation for character education can begin as early as preschool. We all read the news. Bullying and violence are sadly becoming an every day occurrence, when all we really want is for our children to feel safe. We want to nourish and encourage self esteem, self worth, respect for oneself and respect for others, kindness, and knowledge.

It's easy to glance over a character education lesson and include it in one day's lesson plan. Do you think it'd be beneficial to touch on its points every day? Can parents reinforce and encourage at home? Of course.

There are creative ways to offer techniques and tools for anger management and conflict resolution. If we make an effort to use examples and discussions on a daily basis, as you would math or english, it will rub off. It will sink in. And hopefully that one student who remembers the tools will convince another and another to do the same.