Friday, November 9, 2012

Project Tomorrow Exploration Reflection

Speak Up Report
After reading the Speak Up report, “Connecting in the 21st Century: Parents and Administrators Speak Up About Effective School To Home Communications”, I have gotten a better understanding of the current methods and expectations that are used for home communication in schools. This report covered six questions on this topic and used data from the Speak Up survey to answer these questions about the use of technology for communication in today’s society. There was a lot of interesting data presented that gave a good idea of how schools are using technology to communicate with parents and students, and where the limitations are in this effort to shift focus to this type instantaneous connection between the schools and homes. 
There were a few findings that I found surprising, the first being, “The least likely group of teachers to use these tools (email, IM or text messaging) for student interactions, are teachers with lesson that 3 years of experience.” The Speak Up data reported that only 9 percent of these teachers used the tools, while 37 percent of veteran teachers were using them. I found this surprising because I would have thought that more experienced teachers would have been less likely to change their current methods of communication, while newer teachers are still trying to develop their methods of communication, so they would be more likely to incorporate new technology. This information, as well as other information presented in this report, encourages me to use these tools to communicate with students as well as parents in order to keep them updated and informed about overall classroom news, as well as personalized information about each student as often as possible.

Speak Up Video
After viewing the video “Is ANYONE listening to students? Students Speak Up About Education Technology”, I have to agree with the student’s point that technology does have a place in the classroom. Technology is very relevant to student’s lives outside of school and if, as educators, we are trying to incorporate and connect with their interests, this is a good way to do that. I was impressed with the student’s arguments. One that stood out to me was when the boy in the video described the time when he had a question about something, was able to look this up immediately, and his question was answered in the moment so he was able to store that knowledge. I was surprised by the last student’s point that having cell phones available in the classroom can distract many students. I think that this is a definite concern for educators, to allow these devices and have it hinder student progress. However, I think that there are ways to avoid this, and at some point, it may just be that the benefits outweigh the potential for distraction.

YouthTEACH2Learn program
            In order to start a club at the school site I am at, I would need to have a teacher willing to help start and manage the new club, as well as at least five students who would be interested in joining. It is necessary to then bring this information about what the club is and who is interested to ASB and they will help complete the final process to get the club started. It is a great idea to have a club for future teachers on high school campuses. At my school site now, students have figured out that I am a student teacher and have been asking me a lot of questions about why I would like to be a teacher and why I chose the credential program that I did. Based on the amount of questions and interest that I see from students, I think that many of them would be interested in finding out more about the profession and this type of club would be the perfect way to help them get their questions answered and meet other students who are also interested. In today’s society, it is very important to network and connect with other educators, and if these habits can start early in future educator’s, this can be very effective in helping develop the next generation of teachers. Also in this program, students can talk about changes that they would like to make as future educators, which can inform current school staff about the changes that students would like to see in their own education. 


  1. Alexa, I agree with you that technology does have a place in the classroom. We have seen this first hand in our science methods class with Dr. Keating. Without technology, our remote classroom meetings with him would not be possible. Students are very tech savvy these days and the more we incorporate it into our lessons, the more we can get their attention in the classroom. Whenever we use technology in our biology class, the students buy-in and are learning the content. - Martha

  2. Alexa,

    That's interesting that new teachers don't use technology as much as veteran teachers. I know the state of California requires all teachers be trained to be up-to-date with using technology in the classroom. Maybe new teachers use technology less because the first few years of teaching are so demanding and new teachers don't feel like they have any more time to think about how to use technology in the classroom.

    I like the idea of allowing students to use cell phones for certain projects. In my experience, when I direct students to use their phones for specific tasks, like looking up vocabulary words, they stay on task, excited to use their phones any way they can. I have problems when they are not instructed to use their phones, like during lectures. Then, students are tempted to sneak texts to each other--a modern form of note-passing.