Monday, September 19, 2011

"Dig Up Dirt"

The article, “Students Dig Up Dirt” by Jesse Morehouse is both enlightening and unsettling.  In the article, Morehouse discusses how easy it is for detailed information to be found about almost anyone on the internet.  He emphasizes it with a striking quote, “87% of Americans can be positively identified from their zip codes, dates of birth, and genders.” (Morehouse 34) This statistic surprised me at first, just as the rest of the article did, but then it made me think and do a little testing of my own.

I searched my own name on Google to see what would come up.  The first search result was not me but a reporter in Chicago.  In fact, I gave up trying to find any information on me after going through 15 pages.  I was comforted by this until I modified the search and add my middle initial.  The first result had my parent’s names, city that I lived in, and relative age (some were off by a few years).  I also searched an old friend from high school and came up with her full current address, when she bought her house, and the purchase price.  The information was posted by the city that she now lives in. 
The article, in addition to my own experiment, made me that much more aware of how much personal information is out there and how one wrong posting on Facebook or tweet can adversely affect me or anyone else.  Students especially need to be aware of how much information they make available on the internet.   Too many predators will seek the opportunity to prey on those that choose not to be careful with the amount of information they share.  There is also that fact that future employers, teachers, and universities could easily find any information and possibly use that against them.

Morehouse, J.  (2011, September/October).  Students Dig Up Dirt to Learn about Internet Safety.  Learning and Leading with Technology, pg. 34-35.  Retrieved September 16, 2011 from

Monday, September 12, 2011

Unleashing the Future: Educators "Speak Up"

Technology is a benefit to students, increasing availability of information and resources that students have access to at home and school.  The article “Speak Up” discusses this emerging trend, the three elements to the vision of increased technology in the classroom, and the data that was collected from surveys.

The three key elements mentioned in the article are social-based learning, un-tethered learning, and digitally-rich learning.  Social-based learning incorporates student’s needs for instantaneous gratification through IM’s and texting as well as blogs, wikis, social networks, etc.  Un-tethered learning expands the student’s experiences past the classroom with the help of cell phones, laptops, Smart Phones, etc.  It allows students to access online information at all times extending the classroom from four walls to beyond.  The last element is digitally-rich learning.  This element includes educational games, simulations, and other multimedia outlets. 

The article also discussed the data that was collected in 2009.  The most surprising aspect of the surveys was the resistance from teachers to incorporate new technology in the classroom.  Administrators and students showed much more interest in increasing technology in the classroom, though there was a difference in the types of technology.

The author of the article wants technology to be used more in the classroom and hopes that through the education of future teachers in teaching preparation programs, the technology available such as laptops, tablets, Smart Phones, MP3 players, social networking, and discussion boards will increase in prevalence.  The author thinks that this will both improve the quality of the students education as well as the students desire to learn.

The data provided by the surveys is profound.  More teachers need to utilize the mobile devices and online resources.  It can only benefit the students.  After reading the article, I think that technology will only increase in the classroom and new ways of teaching and enhancing students learning experiences will emerge and grow in popularity.  I think online discussion boards and monitored blog postings can be beneficial for students in expressing views and opinions they may not normally in class.  Also, the use of online textbooks would greatly reduce the amount of weight students carry each day with the added benefit of media through games, simulations, and additional resources that tie into the course material.  Overall, technology is becoming increasingly advanced and it only fits to utilize in the classroom.