Sunday, September 9, 2007

Is it appropriate for teachers to have Facebooks or personal websites?

Recently, a friend and I found some Facebook pages and personal blogs of professors on campus. There were some very personal comments and pictures of these people. I know that college professors have different standards and regulations in terms of their relationships with students. But I wonder if I could find any personal pages for teachers from high school or middle school. Class websites and blogs can be very useful tools for students, but do teachers have certain responsibilities when it comes to posting personal information online? Should I get rid of my Facebook when I am a teacher? Is it enough just to remove any very personal information? Where do you draw the line? Should students be able to "friend" me and see what other people have written on my wall? What rules are there in regard to this? Would having appropriate online relationships actually help to foster relationships with students in person? Would they feel more connected to the teacher and see the teacher as a mentor? And again, is that even ethical?

Microsoft

From browsing the other blogs the general consensus seems to be people thought they knew a lot about Microsoft Word, I have to say I am in that same boat. Before this class I believed that I knew most of the important features of Word, I never knew it was capable of doing so many things. However, I am not yet convinced that I'll ever feel the need to use some of the features. To me, the readability analysis seems like an unnecessary feature. The reason I say this is, I believe as an English teacher I feel that I should be able to analyze how appropriate a document or book is for my students. I think it's an interesting feature but I don't feel that it is reliable enough to use in the classroom setting. I also fear that some teachers, not all or the majority, but some will rely too heavily on it and become lazy. I feel that it is a disservice to students. I can't see myself using it in the classroom because I would need to read documents, books, and papers anyways so I feel it might waste my time to run it through Word. However, now that I know this feature exists I may run it on some documents just for fun, to see how they are analyzed.
On the other hand, I really enjoyed learning about the electronic editing. I have had professors here at IWU use that feature while editing my papers and I really like it. I think it is neater, and it ensures that I am able to read their comments without difficulty. I can truly see myself using this in the classroom. Especially because I will inevitably be reading many papers and editing for my students as an English teacher. As our professor said during class, it is much easier to edit on the computer than it would be to carry a lot of papers home and edit them by hand. The only flaw in this plan is if I work in a school or district where students don't always have access to computers. If that is the case I'm sure I will be able to figure something out. But, I look forward to making good use of electronic editing. I think this class will offer many useful new features and tips that will be very useful to me in the future.

New Ideas

So far, this course on technology and learning has been very humbling to me. Before starting the course, I felt that I was very knowledgeable on most Microsoft office computer programs because I have been using them for so long. However, each day in class I realize more and more how much I did not know and how many more helpful tools there are in Microsoft Office. I have discovered that these tools, such as electronic editing, can really facilitate and simplify your writing and editing process. I only wish I could have learned to use these programs more extensively in the past. It is my hope that I will be able to master these programs so that I am able to effectively use them in the classroom and pass on my knowledge to my future students. The effect and impact of technology is unavoidable in our society and I am so thankful for this class because I learn more and more everyday how important it is for students, who ultimately are the future of our nation, to be well trained and knowledgeable about what technology can do for them.

Microsoft Word

I was sure that I knew a lot about Microsoft Word and I find that I do know a lot about the basics. But there are several things that I didn't know. Doing this exercise of trying to find new tools has really helped me. There are a lot of tools that can be quite helpful that most people don't know about. I think that programs such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint should be taught at a younger age. In elementary school and middle school, they have computer class but from what I can remember, I didn't learn very much. In elementary school I remember playing Oregon Trail as a part of computers. If schools could start teaching programs like these at a younger age, I think students might be better off. I don't mean to suggest that a first grader should be learning how to write formulas with Excel or how to define Macros with Word, but they should at least be introduced to these programs. With our society becoming so technology-oriented, I think it is important to teach kids at young ages to be accustomed to technology since it is easier to learn at a younger age instead of being a late teen or twenties or even older. And as children begin to learn, there is a good chance that they will be able to teach their parents which would help to make everyone feel more comfortable with technology.