Cyber Bullying

Through technology we are able to communicate easier with our friends, family and even people we don’t know. Most of us use our mobile phones and social networks on a daily basis; such as Facebook, email and blogging and would find life difficult without these means of communication. However, with all the praise that surrounds the World Wide Web, cyber bullying has become a major concern for victims and their families. “Go die, no one likes you, you suck” are just some of the nasty comments that can be posted on social networks. 58% of kids have admitted that they have received mean or hurtful comments online, and for 4 out 10 this has happened more than once retrieved from http://www.zonealarm.com/blog/index.php/2011/02/cyberbullying

Sadly, I learnt about the Australian teenager Olivia, who committed suicide. Olivia posted a video on her blog about her constant battles with dark thoughts and suicide, it backfired and received comments such as “better off dead; go away; pathetic girl’’ that led to her death. The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” did not apply to Olivia and highlights that anyone can be a target of cyber bullying.

When online, young people can hide behind the anonymity of the internet and do not feel as responsible for their online actions as they would in ‘real life’(Office for Internet, Safety and Barnardos, 2008 ). Home no longer is a safe haven because cyber bullying can happen any time. However, parents can prevent cyber bullying by getting involved in their child’s online life, e.g. the computer should be visible to parents while young people utilize them.

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

Cyberbullying: Bullies move from the Playground to The Playground to The Web Retrieved from http://www.zonealarm.com/blog/index.php/2011/02/cyberbullying

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Social-Constructivism

The theoretical perspective of constructivism focuses on learners constructing knowledge and meaning from their experiences, i.e. a theory about how individual’s learn. Early theorists such as Piaget identified that learning takes place when it is linked with prior knowledge. Vygotsy believed that learning is enhanced by social interaction, such as discussion in group work, and now referred to as social constructivism (a student centered approach). My favorite term for constructivism is “learning by doing”.

However, I question as to whether ALL children will learn by doing. Whilst I understand that the teacher becomes a facilitator in the classroom, the teacher assumes that every student is self-motivated, and willing to actively participate in group work. This scenario poses a problem to me. I think it comes back the teacher providing engaging activities that would motivate students.

During the 1990’s the Web 1.0 emerged and drew parallels with the objectivism theory. This Web did not allow any input into the content, sharing of opinions and ideas was unheard of e.g. ‘read only’.

Web 2.0 arose through new technologies. Its applications and links can be made with the constructivism theory. The Web 2.0 promotes active involvement and participation through technologies such as; Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts, social networks and virtual worlds. These Web 2.0 technologies allow students to contribute to the lesson in an active manner, thus becoming a part of the lesson. It allows learners to take active responsibility of the context material being learnt. Enonbun (2010) states the constructivist theory ‘is a departure from the objectivist thinking that the instructor is the sole custodian of knowledge’. This shows that Web 2.0 allows a constructivist approach by enabling individuals to enhance their learning.

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.

This You Tube clip explains constructivism in learning, and how learning new information is related to prior knowledge.

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elearning

Notre Dame has definitely broadened my awareness in social media. The lectures have enlightened me about eLearning, through the use of computers/laptops, blogging, mobile devices and Interactive Whiteboards. I’ve discovered that eLearning is an alternative way of developing knowledge. Just last week, I completed my anaphylaxis training via the internet in the comfort of my own home.

In week two, I was informed about learning opportunities with iPads and mobile phones. Isard, J (2012) argues that technology should be harnessed by teachers in the classroom. It claimed students were more engaged because they took control of their learning. Students are able to control the pace. This gives them the power to complete a task…thus motivation.

However, I totally disagree with mobiles/iPads in the classroom. In 2009, my grade was given laptops (granted by the government). Although it was a very exciting period at school, we were more motivated to complete level 5 in Bubble Struggle (online game) than complete our mathematics tasks. On reflection, the laptop became my new toy and was not utilised as the teachers expected. Interactive Whiteboards are a great tool if effectively used by the teacher. This requires the teacher to deliver stimulating lessons and visuals that can be geared to an inclusive classroom.

Blogging is another aspect of eLearning. I love the idea that students can express their own opinions and thoughts, and have people comment. By having classroom blogs it allows the teacher to read students thoughts. From this, a teacher/lecturer may change a lesson plan to maintain student’s engagement.

Isard, J. (2012). Why mobile technology makes sense in the 21st century classroom. The Professional Educator, 10-11.

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Promoting Intellectual Qualtiy with an IWB

Wow, how times have changed…out with the old blackboards and in with the 21st Century Interactive Whiteboards (IWB’s).

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Kaczuwka, A (2008) Learning Solutions Magazine.  Available at: http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/.

IWB’s have changed the teaching/learning world. According to Kent (2008), the IWB is a teaching tool that provides teachers with a wide range of possibilities through which they can create a supportive classroom environment.

The IWB gives the teacher access to audio, video, images such as animations, websites and interactive activities. It can also be used as the traditional blackboard. However, this depends on the teacher’s ability and willingness to effectively use it.

Inspiring lessons can be created and designed to target the 21st century learner. From early childhood, Generation Z has been exposed to technological devices. It makes sense then to harness this prior experience with visual aids that are available through the IWB.

From my observations in a Kindergarten classroom, the IWB assisted students retain attention that enhanced students learning outcomes. These students were engaged and having fun! Activities ranged from labelling, sequencing, sorting, puzzles and games which promoted intellectual quality.

However, whilst at high school, despite the IWB’s installed in classrooms, many were not used; perhaps due to teacher’s feeling more comfortable with traditional teaching methods. I therefore, missed out on the opportunity to be exposed to this form of intellectual quality teaching and feel disadvantaged, as I now understand the opportunities that the IWB offers.

I have always typically been a hand’s on student and that’s what the IWB makes it an effective tool…active participation. However, a teacher should not neglect the physical activities such as developing the fine motor gross skills in Early Stage 1 children, such as cut and paste activities.

Kent,P.(2008). Interactive Whiteboards: A practical guide for primary teachers. 2nd ed. Australia: Sharon Dalgleish.

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