Cyber Bullying

 Imagehttp://newsroom.opencolleges.edu.au/features/15-strategies-educators-can-use-to-stop-cyberbullying/

 

Although advancements in technology provide a great deal of opportunities with regard to classroom teaching and learning, over recent years we have seen a dangerous trend forming around cyber bullying. I believe this a serious issue and without tactics to combat this epidemic, children and adults alike will continue to suffer the consequences of the misuse of the WWW.

 

It is important that children are aware of the dangers of the internet and social media. Once something is posted on the internet, it is there forever. Bullying is defined as behaviour and harassment, such as impersonation, exclusion, humiliation or intimidation, which is sustained and repeated over time. The actions have a highly negative impact on the victim (Office for Internet Safety & Barnardos, 2008)

 

As a future teacher, I believe it is absolutely imperative to learn about and understand ways of dealing with cyber bullying. Among the most important tactics to employ, is that of education. Education about the cyber bullying can be communicated through Anti-Bullying Policies, which should be in place at all schools. Office for Internet Safety & Barnardos (2008) note the best steps children should follow in the event they are a victim of cyber bullying:

 

–       Don’t reply to messages that upset or annoy you.

–       Keep the message – for further investigation.

–       Tell someone – make sure you inform an adult or a trusted friend about the bullying you are experiencing.

–       Block the sender.

–       Report the bullying so that it can be effectively dealt with.

 

Parents, not just teachers and students, should have a strong grasp on preventative measures of cyber bullying. Parents and carers should keep a tab on what their children are doing on the internet and mobile phone. I believe it is important that children feel as though they have the confidence to deal with a problem such a cyber bullying and that they have a reliable and approachable adult or friend they can confide in, so that they do not suffer in silence.

 

The following is a useful website, which has information about cyber bullying, specifically for children, with games and activities as a fun way of learning.

http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Kids.aspx

References:

Office for Internet Safety & Barnardos. (2008). A guide to cyberbullying. Dublin: National Center for Technology in Education. Retrieved from: http://www.rcysostenibilidad.telefonica.com/es/media/pdf/Get_with_it_Cyberbullying_Booklet.pdf

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Social Constructivism

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http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/getinvolved/learning/b/learning-blog/archive/2012/06/29/help-us-give-you-what-you-need-and-win-163-50.aspx

Today, teaching and learning is evolving towards a practice that is ‘student centred’, rather than ‘teacher centred’. As Oluwafisayo (2010) explains, teachers are there to facilitate learning and offer guidance and support as they assist children in building on previous knowledge and experience to create new knowledge. Social constructivism relies on the theory that children learn through collaboration and interaction with their peers and more knowledgeable others. That is, they bring what they already know to a situation and build on their knowledge through their interactions.

Vygotsky, the father of social constructivism, notes that the collaboration and social interaction in the classroom is important in achieving deeper understanding and helps students internalise knowledge and understanding. Peers have a lot more to offer to one another in the classroom. (Kalina & Powell, 2009).

We are fortunate in that technology is providing more and more tools, such as the internet, for the classroom. The internet, in particular, has now advanced much further so that we do not just receive information from it (Web 1.0), rather we can add and modify information and collaborate with others (Web 2.0). These tools can be integrated into the curriculum in a way that puts the learning the hands of the student. Furthermore, they aid in delivering a lesson that follows the social constructivist theory as many of the elearning activities encourage interactivity and collaboration (Oluwafisayo,2010).

“Most recently, with the advent of the WWW, it is now not only possible for learners to access tons of information almost instantly, but it is also possible for them to be in control of the direction of their own learning.” (Oluwafisayo, 2010, p 19).

Wikis, Blogs, Social Networks and webquests are all seen to be great tools that a teacher can utilise in his/her lesson planning. The advantage, from a social constructivist view, of having these tools available is obvious to me: it gives teachers the opportunity to let children do the thinking for themselves, rather than spoon-feeding them with information as would have been the case with a transmission approach.

References

Kalina, C. J. & Powell, K. C. (2009). Cognitive and social constructivism: developing tools for an i effective classroom. Education, 130(2), 241-25

Oluwafisayo, E. (2010). Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the emerging learning era: A global perspective. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability, 6(4), 16- 25. Retrieved from: http://www.na-businesspress.com/JSIS/EnobunWeb.pdf

E Learning

As I study towards becoming a teacher, I often think about my experience in the classroom as a child. We had one computer in our classroom when I was in grade 6, none of my classmates had a mobile phone (let alone a smart phone) and I am sure that at this point, not every one had a computer in their home. ELearning was not even thought about, let alone a possibility in the classroom…until not so long ago.

 

In the classrooms of today, there is a vast array of mobile technology – we are immersed in it. Pontydysgu (2007) refers to Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and the many benefits of their introduction, made possible through the ubiquitous technology constantly being created and upgraded. I think a PLE allows for students to be taking control of their learning, with a genuine interest and level of motivation. Furthermore, ELearning gives teachers the ability to let students with learning difficulties (or those who are well ahead of others) work at their own pace.

 

Looking at mobile technology, it is something that really appeals to the Z generation. It is a tool that they are familiar with and usually have had much experience with outside of the classroom. These tools allow for engaging activities, with experiences in different learning contexts that may not have otherwise been available (e.g. a virtual tour of a Zoo or Museum). The advances in the Internet mean that accurate, up to date information is available at the click of a button.

 

Teachers must be vigilant – mobile phones, tablets, laptops are all fantastic tools for learning, but what about the ease they provide for students to stray from tasks. I think procrastination/misuse is in a sense aided by this technology. There is also the issue of lack of government funding, leading to the deficiency of mobile technology to use in the classroom. How can students learn using mobile technology if there isn’t enough to go around? I stumbled across the following video, which I think has a great solution.

References

Pontydysgu, G.A. (2007). Personal learning environments – the future of eLearning? eLearning papers, 2 (1). Retrieved form: http://www.elearningeuropa.info/files/media/media11561.pdf

Promoting Intellectual Quality with an IWB

When looking across the years, there has certainly been a noticeable shift in the way technology is being used in classrooms. It is important to note that technology is forever evolving and changing. Our role, as teachers, is to enhance our students’ learning by utilising these technologies in a functional and effective way. Furthermore, it is imperative that the technology is integrated with the curriculum effectively.

 

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http://www.oecd.org/edu/country-studies/interactivewhiteboardforprimaryclassrooms.htm

When used in the right way, the Interactive White Board (IWB) has the ability to encourage ambiguity (Kent, 2012) and gives the opportunity for interactivity amongst the class. Through class discussion and further investigation it seems obvious to me that an IWB and other similar technologies help move away from the traditional constructivist approach to teaching, whereby teachers would transmit information to students, to a more socio-constructivist teaching method.  When teachers use this tool (and I emphasise the word TOOL) it can be aimed at students in a way that allows them to take control of their learning and collaborate amongst their classmates. Kent (2012) notes the fundamental idea that a ‘GREAT LESSON’ using an IWB is only possible with a teacher who makes an effort to intertwine the technology successfully.

 

“… allowing students to think beyond memorising the content of the board to engage more deeply with the underlying concept being taught” (Kent, 2012, p. 19)

 

Digregorio & Sobel-Lokeski (2009-2010) discuss training as being an ongoing and important consideration when thinking about how teachers can include IWBs into their lessons. One of the reasons that IWBs are not effective in practice is due to misuse that may be a result of teachers not being trained to use them appropriately and effectively. I think there is a clear danger where we see schools who simply install this technology and don’t follow up initial training. Ongoing training helps to make sure that teachers remain up to date in terms of how to effectively utilise this tool to promote better learning. If the students are to benefit from the provision of this technology, an investment needs to be made in training.

 

 

References

Digregorio, P., Sobel-Lojeski, K. (2009-2010). The effects of interactive whiteboards (IWBs) on student performance and learning : A literature review. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 38 (3), pp 255-312. DOI: 10.2190/ET.38.3.b

Kent, P. (2012). Interactive Whiteboards: A practical guide for primary teachers. South Yarra, Victoria: Macmillan Education Australia