Digital citizenship refers to how we conduct ourselves on the web. Teachers, parents, and leaders in technology help students to understand what it means to use technology in an appropriate and responsible way. With the advent of social media, this issue is becoming increasingly important, especially for today’s youth.
The Rise of Social Media
Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, digital citizenship wasn’t something that I, my parents, or my teachers really thought about. It was hardly an issue during a time where most of our research papers were written from library books. In fact, instant messaging with AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) didn’t break onto the scene until the late 90s.
But with the creation of Facebook and Myspace in the early 2000s, we began to consider the issue more seriously. Now, people and businesses all over the world have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
Many of today’s veteran teachers remain a part of the generation(s) who grew up without Smartphones, or Wi-Fi. We learned in classrooms where the overhead projector was cutting edge technology. Now, we are working in a world where our students are constantly exposed to the most advanced technology. Thus, we work tirelessly to keep our classrooms relevant, in the ever changing, always evolving digital age.
As a virtual instructor, classes are a mix of asynchronous and synchronous learning where lectures and lessons are programmed conveniently into a student’s course. The virtual instructor uses synchronous web sessions, email, phone text and other avenues like Skype to reach out to the student for tutoring and supplemental lessons. While this type of learning may not have been the norm when I was growing up, students of today are used to learning this way through their blended-learning environments or even through googling things on their Smartphone.
One of the challenges though facing virtual teachers, and all teachers really, is how do we make real-world connections from digital learning with students who do a lot of living in the virtual world of Facebook and Snapchat?
What is mindfulness?
When people think about “mindfulness” it is often associated with Buddhism and meditative practices; however, mindfulness can also be practiced in a secular way. Mindfulness is the ability to clear one’s mind to focus more clearly on one thing, one task, or one experience. While many of us who hear this word associate it with the unfamiliar or unusual, it is a practice that most of us do daily, in some form or another.
STEM vs. STEAM: the Intersection of Art and Science
Most educators are familiar with STEM learning. STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The idea of STEM learning deals with an applied approach to educating students in those four subject areas.
At one point, the United States led the world in STEM fields, but over time, we have fallen behind the pack. The U.S. Department of Education along with President Obama have worked to create initiatives that focus on fostering STEM education and career advancement.
In the past five years, with the implementation of much educational reform, high-stakes testing is likely a term that educators hear about quite often. What is high-stakes testing? The name may be self-explanatory in that the stakes for these tests are particularly high. That much is true; however, high-stakes testing can determine the outcomes of teachers, students, the school district, and quite possibly the community as a whole.