Thursday, February 23, 2012

Inequality in Schools and Quality of Education

The United States is a political and economic system which is defined by inequalities. Our country thrives off of creating competition between people from different socioeconomic status'. A major issue in education is that we are seeing these same inequalities in our schools. Schools in suburban areas differ greatly from those in urbanized, low-income, poverty stricken areas.

Why are there so many differences between two schools located in different areas? First of all, urban schools receive less funding from our government. School funds mainly come from a state's government. Poorer areas of our country receive less state funds for education due to their inability to pay higher taxes. These lack of funds that the urban schools have to work with limit there attainable resources. School districts that are in poverty stricken areas can't hire the most qualified teachers. They are forced to hire teachers who are new to the field or those who have lower qualifications. These are the only type of teachers that they are capable of affording to have on salary. Along with less qualified teachers, school districts cannot afford to purchase reliable and effective school materials. Students' who live in poverty are forced to read and learn from inadequate textbooks. This effects the level of knowledge that they are obtaining. One final difference is that these students, who live in poverty and need guidance, have limited availability to qualified counselors. Without these counselors and others to guide them, they are likely to fall off track.

There are consequences of these poor school standards and conditions in poverty stricken districts. The drop out rates of poverty level students are much higher than those of the middle or rich class. Students in the poverty level are less likely to succeed in life and stay out of trouble. Many of the students who drop out of school end up in prison at some point in their lives.

These are the reasons that I would love to work in a poverty stricken school system. My goal is to be one of the good teachers in these types of areas who really help their students. Just because our politically and economic system is divided, doesn't mean that education opportunities should be as well. Every person deserves an equal chance to succeed and by providing lower level of service to those who are more unfortunate is going against our nation's ideals of providing equal opportunities to everyone.

For more information and articles covering this issue of inequalities in our schools, visit Poverty and Equality.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Tweet or Not To Tweet?

Personally, I dislike Twitter. I don't see a reason for people to be constantly updating the world about every little thing that goes on in their life that they feel is interesting. From an educational standpoint, I agree that Twitter can be informational. It can be used to remain in the loop of updates from organizations such as the Department of Education and NAEYC. Educators can also use Twitter to acquire new ideas from fellow educators world wide. As an early childhood and special education major, I can't really see myself using Twitter in a classroom because the students would be too young to benefit from its services. I would potentially use Twitter to gain fresh ideas to apply in my classroom.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Power Point Reflection

For my SEDU 183, we were asked to create part of a lesson plan using a power point. We used the Pennsylvania state standards to base our lessons off of. Since I am an early childhood and special education major, I chose to do a pre-school math lesson where students would learn how to match numbers 1-10 with concrete objects. Although the feature doesn't work here, this slideshow is interactive. When the students' click on a link to answer a question, it proceeds to a corresponding slide. If they answered the question wrong, the next slide would be a sad face with a go bsck button. When answering correctly, the next slide will be a smiley face followed by the next question.

 At first, thinking of an idea of how to teach this lesson was hard. It took me a day or two to decide how I wanted to teach it. After I figured out my idea, which was a multiple choice matching game, this project was fun. I enjoyed getting to know power point as an interactive tool rather than something used as an excuse for teachers to be lazy. I learned how to link to a video from YouTube which I feel could be productive to change the pace in a classroom. The one main aspect of this project that I struggled with was embedding hyperlinks to slides within the power point. Because my lesson is set up as a multiple choice game, I needed “Good Job” and “Try Again” slides that would either push the game forward or lead it back to the previous question. Once I learned how to do this, it didn’t seem so hard.  My favorite of this project was thinking of and creating the lesson and game. It gave me real experience with something I’ll be doing everyday in the future as a teacher. Unfortunately, I was sick on the day of presentations so please take a look at my power point and let me know what you think! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blog on Chaper 1 of PLN

Chapter one talks about the changing pace of technology in our schools. It addresses the noteworthy changes that are taking place to make our school system a worldwide and paperless community. Two major points that the authors address which I would like to discuss are the impacts of a global and mobile source of constant information and communication.
                The idea of a global network is so contrast to our currently isolated education system. The authors’ state that this emerging global network is positive because it increases everyone’s learning networks. They also claim that this global network will make kids safer. Although I agree with the earlier statement, I highly disagree with the latter. When children and adults have full access to each other through the internet, the potential for danger rises. Adults can pose as anybody they want to be to children on the internet as they hide behind their computer screens. These predators are good at what they do, which is tricking others to believe something that isn’t true, and its hard to educate our students to avoid something that they may not even realize is happening. Take for instance the craig’s list killer in New York. He persuaded adult women to believe he was an innocent person selling things on the web. After he lured the women in, he killed them. So my point is, if grown adults can’t fully protect themselves then how can we trust and expect our children to if they are unsupervised? This leads me to my next point of mobile technology.
                Mobile technology is on the rise everywhere. This rise in mobile technology subsequently leads to a rise in access to online information. Students can learn virtually anything and everything without setting foot into a classroom. Many people, including Richardson and Mancabelli, that this is positive because it increases learning networks. I agree and disagree with this viewpoint. The part of me that agrees recognizes the immense possibilities that come along with having the knowledge of the world constantly at your fingertips. This is a great accomplishment that deserves noting. On the hand, I believe that mobile technology in the hands of children can be very dangerous. Children nowadays spend so much time away from supervising adults that they can potentially access whatever they want. I feel like this is a danger for younger and na├»ve children.
                In conclusion, the common trend that I see here is the recognition of how positive a global network can be without any real analysis of the dangers we may be facing.