Sunday, September 28, 2014

Visual Profiling: What does American mean?

EDUC 7718 Critical Literacy Praxis fall 2014

Week Four- Blogture and Discussion Response Assignment


How operational and meaningful is visual profiling in education settings?  Is there anything you could or should do to change any negative aspects of this? Many people say that one important purpose of public schooling in this country is to enculturate children into what it means to be an American.   What does it mean to be American?   Do we require that some children take on another identity to be American?


In “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, J Elliot wrote, “There will be time, there will be time/To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.” The quote describes how we prepare our interactions with premeditated personalities.  Depending on our crowd we are meeting allows us the feeling of necessity to “play the part”. Is it the same for appearance?  Do we act a certain way based on the crowd we are with and do we think differently based on someone’s appearance.  What are the importance of first impressions?

When starting this paper, I started to play with the idea of judgments in teaching. It was always a concept I was aware of but never one I looked particularly closely at.  It is my belief as a teacher, I should “look professional”. In my profession that meant khaki shorts (knee length) and a tucked in collared shirt.  At Springfield College part of my grade was based on my appearance.  Did I have a belt on? Did my pants touch the ground?  Was my shirt tucked in even when I lifted my arms?  It never occurred to me these strict rules were in place because students found me more credible subconsciously because I was dressed the part.  In the first video, Dana was a well-dressed man. He was clean shaven and spoke to the students in a monotone voice.  The students were engaged in his lesson and sat quietly as he talked.  Was this because he was dressed a certain way or was it because he was sitting in a chair while his students were on the ground?  In contrast, Rick was not clean shaven and had an earring in his ear.  Even before I started to play the video I started to think how cool it would have been to have a teacher like that teach reading.  I remember my reading classes very strict and “hard work”.  They were professional and had a structured planned out day.  My first thought about Rick was he seems like a laid back, fun teacher.  Even though both teachers looked very different, by watching the videos, both teachers had a fun and engaging way to interact with their students.

When I was younger my parents always told me no I would not be able to get a tattoo and piercings other than one in my ear was not acceptable.  In my eyes, (a know it all teenager) they were holding me back from my true identity.  But now I am a teacher, mom, and role model.  I can now see what my parents were saying.  Although my appearance was not the only reason I was hired I do believe I may not have gotten my physical education job right after college had I dressed differently.  By differently I mean jeans and a bed head hair do.  My parents always taught me to try “look the part”.  But is the way we look truly the most important thing?  It didn’t hit me until about three days ago when I was thinking about this assignment and my daughter came to me dressed in gym shorts and a baggy t-shirt to wear to school.  I told her she needed to change into an outfit more appropriate for school.  She looked at me and said, “It isn’t about the way you look mom”.  I got to think, does it really matter what she wears to school? Does it make her more ready to learn because she is dressed in a dress?  I thought about it a lot because it bothered me.  I decided it was about being ready to learn.  In my eyes, dressing “cleanly” shows a certain amount of respect for yourself and therefore portray the same message to others.  As I discussed with Dana and Rick as teachers, just by looking at the two teachers Dana seems to hold their students more accountable than Rick.  Could I be wrong, absolutely; however, I think there are many things in my past that have brought me up to believe one way.

When it comes to appearance, I think it deals with trust.  The more people “look like” you the more you trust them and feel comfort.  Once someone looks different than you there is always a layer of discomfort.  I look at my students. I don't look like them, act like them, or have the same background as them.  Trust is expected but would they do better with a Hispanic teacher?  One of my students does better with males than females, another can only be with a bilingual teacher not because of the language barrier but because of comfort level.

In the video, substitute teacher, the actor was a teacher in the inner city.  He then came into a wealthy school with mostly white students.  His speech and demeanor was very different then what the students were used to; however, you put him back in an urban setting he would be seen as a “cool” teacher.  In the video the students seemed distraught at the way the teacher was acting; however, in an urban setting would the students show more respect?  So can teachers be credible role models if they do not look like the children they teach?  I believe they can be credible if there is a common understanding of each other.  Take race for example.  Unfortunately, there has always been a distinction between black and white but isn’t everyone supposed to be equal?  Aren’t we all supposed to walk into a room free of judgments?  Unfortunately, it still happens no matter where we are in the world.  But that isn’t always the case.  In some cases students do connect more with teachers who have similar backgrounds as themselves.  For example, take “What Would You Do”.  The video shows a clip of a white male walking into an urban store looking to buy urban clothes.  Unable to get past the idea of “not looking the part” the black employee told him he shouldn’t be wearing the clothes.   In another clip, the video shows white males vandalizing a car.  In the second video black males vandalize the car.  The video shows how prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination are still be a problem.  Is it worse today because we just don't see it?  So many people cover their tracks.  You would hear, “you didn’t get that job because there was someone more qualified” when truthfully the real reason was because she was a female.  Or when a coach at my school was told they needed to keep the freshman coach despite his lack of knowledge and professionalism with the students.  He was required to keep his job because he was black and there are no black coaches.

When teachers work with parents around difficult issues it appears to be a difference in morals and priorities rather than appearance and background.  In fact, at our school we are trying to promote parent involvement to connect with all the parents.  We host technology events, workshops, walks, and meetings.  Unfortunately the parents who do show up are the ones already involved in their child’s education.  How do we get more than?  Are they not coming to the events because they don't care and therefore don't want to? Or are they not coming because they are working third shift in their second job just to pay the bills?  I decided to ask one of my students what affect her learning.  She is a student who is usually looking for trouble.  When you look at her on the outside you think a disruptive student who I cannot connect with; however, when you look closer you see a scared, timid little girl, in and out of foster homes because she is deemed as the “bad one” her sister still lives at home with her mom. If that doesn't seem like a slap in the face then having to take 7 shots a day since she was 7 months old due to diabetes.  I decided to ask her what her thoughts were about teachers and what teachers she “gets along better with and why.  I also asked her why she believes students aren’t as engaged with school.  Is it because most of our staff is made up of middle aged white teachers or are there bigger issues at hand? More specifically, I wanted to know what type of message we are sending to our students.  In our district is learning the more important part or developing healthy relationships and role models to get out of what they know. We talked for almost an hour about the topic.  She stated it wasn’t because of the way teachers looked or what experience they had.  She said, “I want a teacher to be real with me.  I want them to care about me and what I am going through. There are very little teachers in this school who understand my situation but even a fewer amount of those willing to try and understand it.”  It broke my heart to listen to her talk but it also made me realize it may not be solely about appearance.  To her, she wanted someone who actually tried to put themselves in her shoes rather than telling her how she should be acting in school. Our talk earned me her trust. The next day she confided in me not because of my race, age, or gender.  But because I took the time to show her that I care.  I gave her respect and demanded it back. Day in and day out is still a struggle for her, but when a girl who used to cut my class on a daily basis comes up to me to say, “You’re the only teacher I trust in here, I need some advice.” can I really say I am not credible because I haven’t been in her shoes.  I beg to differ.  I am credible to her because I cared.

Are mentors more credible because they have “been there” themselves?  How much of a professional face do you prepare to meet the faces that you meet in the various aspects of your job?   If your job were entirely virtual, what would your avatar presence look like?


I do believe mentors are more credible when they have been in the same situations but just because they have not been in the situation doesn’t make them less credible.  The biggest reason why I believe that because they deal with feelings.  Whenever you deal with feelings there is a connection between the two people.  This is the main reason why I find displeasure in all jobs going virtual.  I feel personal connection and relationships are the most valuable thing we can give our students in my urban setting. Sometimes a student just needs a hug. But isn't it sad that we as teachers now have to ask if it is ok?  Gee talks about gap between human and machine.  “It is as though I needed the robot to seem to have emotions in order to understand it.”  (Gee, pg. 136) Can robots feel emotions? Gee then writes, “How different are our emotions from those of a machine.” (Gee, pg 137). I believe we are in fact extremely different.  The power of free will is predisposed in humans and cannot be duplicated in machines such as robots.  Can we then have robots as teachers?  “With sociable robots we are alone but receive the signals that tell us we are together.”

So what is normal?  What is underprivileged?  In my school both meanings are different then a school say Glastonbury.  Normal to my students are of Hispanic descent, tattoos, and a single parent household.  Underprivileged to my students, are not seen as the students who requires state assistance but someone who pays for their own lunch but does not have a cell phone.  A skewed way of thinking? Yes, I believe so; however, it was the way they were brought up.   Cell phones prepare a common ground for many students.  For example, there have been many times in Mr. Raucher’s class I was dressed in my pajamas.  Why? Because no one could see my waist down.  Did that make my learning any less credible?  No, not at all.  Gee talks about a conversation being deemed as pauseable.  So when dealing with appearance, do teachers start the listening process by expecting to remediate and demanding less?  Unfortunately, most teaches in my school expect less or students who do not have a great home life. Not because they cannot do the work but because there is a break in importance from the home life regarding school.  The support at home has fallen short and therefore is not deemed as important to some teachers.  How do we change the thoughts we grew up with?  How can you change the thoughts our society instils in us? I unfortunately do not think I know the answer to any of these questions.  It is a major issue that requires not only parents, teachers, and students to be on board but it also needs to be a place of society changes. 

These questions are extremely loaded.  In this country, our public schools are starting to blend itself.  American to me is having freedom of speech and an expression of oneself.  Was columbine an expression of one student?  In my opinion the answer is absolutely no.  In another example, ABC aired a movie called “Cyberbullying”.  In the movie a mother went to a father of a girl who was bullying her daughter online.  The father said she was expressing her opinion and it was her freedom of speech to do so.  Is that American?  Does being an American mean you have to speak English? I believe the answer is slowly turning into no.  I believe our once thought of as American the tall English speaking white male in a suit with a 9-5 job, a wife, two kids, dog and a white picket fence has changed.  American in the public schools is now seen as a melting pot for many different cultures and races.  I believe it makes our country an excellent platform for collaboration and rich diverse background.

Once again I chose to do a written response.  I felt it was the best way to convey my thoughts into a coherent piece.  It was also a great way for me to share a response when interviewing a students of mine.  I talked with my husband and hoped I would get out of my comfort zone of writing papers but part of my still believes a paper shows a fluid demonstration of thoughts.  I guess this is one of the concerns with teaching technology in the classrooms.  How can we change from comfortable to in most case the unknown?  It takes time and patience and to be honest, with a seven year old, a full varsity squad, full time job and my sixth year. Comfort seems the most reasonable.  I hope in my future response I can crawl out of my comfort hole and try to respond in a more creative way.




1.     Gee, James Paul (2012) – Social Linguistics and Literacies. London and New York: Routledge; Fourth Edition.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Language: Barrier or Pathway?

Language. A barrier yet a pathway all at the same time.  Language is “the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way” (Oxford, 2013).  Language is seen differently in cultures. But what does language truely mean?  What does lol, ttyl and brb mean?  Is it a new language or a incorrect way to communicate?
    “Every language is composed of many sub languages” (Gee, pg. 90). I agree with this statement.  But when involved in school which “language” appropriate? How can we distinguish language?  Just as we wear different types of “masks” depending what crowd we are entertaining determines our actions.  The same goes for language.  “None of us speak a
single, uniform language, nor is any one of us a single, uniform identity” (Gee, pg. 98).  Even simply language from “school talk” to social and then home again.  The language is different and is accepted differently depending on the audience.  So is it the “job of the teacher to allow students to grow beyond both the cultural models of their home cultures and those of the mainstream and school culture” (Gee, 2012)?  I believe it is our job as educators to open the eyes of each student to various cultures including communication.  When I first started teaching at Meriden Public Schools we had a professional development days to discuss the importance of language and redirecting certain language “deemed appropriate” by the students.  He taught the teachers to say, you may be able to speak that way at home but here this is how we speak. Unfortunately, some of my students home life isn't about education and “respectful” language in our eyes.  How many and what kinds of words do children pick up just by hearing them? My students have discussed many times with me if they do not fight back when another student approaches them in a poor manner it shows weakness and their parents find shame in it.  To myself walking away shows a sign of strength and control but to the students it shows weakness.  I still feel it is my duty as a teacher to help the students distinguish the language of the”elite”.  After all, every student for every culture are measured by the same state test and compared to one another.  With that said, I also feel it is important for each teacher to try  and understand the students language to help “translate” it into the”elite” language.  Keith Stanovich described in the Matthew effect about achievement and the importance of recognizing words early.  He also discussed reading and the correlation to knowledge.  In his eyes , yes, there is a strong correlation called fluid intelligence.  
But it isn't always differences in the verbal language but also those who use text to speech.  To me voice is an identity.  It shows age, gender, and in most cases nationality.  Identity is a significant factor when talking about text to speech.  To some, a conversation is seen as a dream where they hear how they think their personality is.  Unfortunately, language has also been the cause of my stereotypes.  For example, in the movie Grown Ups, there was a scene when the wives saw a muscular man standing across from them.  But when the man came over to talk to the women his voice was high pinched and unsuspected. To the ladies, his voice made the man undesirable because he was seen as unmasculine.  The sound of certain language has certain assumptions.  As you can see, language has many barriers from setting to setting and cultures to cultures.  
Lastly, in Children of Code, Samantha carries her voice with her.  Due to her heavy cargo, Samantha was already pinned as different.  When using a voice called “Heather”, Samantha thought it sounded too old for her and was already embarrassed to use it. As mentioned before, voice and language is an identity and for Samatha it wasn't until Perfect Paul did she find a “personality” that fit her.
In conclusion, language is an important piece of education.  Each language has many sublanguages.  Distinguishing between which language is appropriate is important.  Language and communication is an identity making it sometimes challenging to effectively educate students on proper language and not.  I choose a basic essay format to collaborate my thoughts.  I am used to writing papers on the computer.  Portraying my ideas seem to be more fluid and continuous through an essay format.  I am still using google docs because it is easy to add my thoughts no matter where I am.


  1. Gee, J. (2012). Social Linguistics and Literacies (4th ed.). New York: Routledge.
  2. Oxford dictionary
  3. You tube, Grown Ups clip

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Examples of Great Learning Hubs

     Once I was asked to start a learning hub I started to look at some inspirations of already developed great.  I had difficulty in finding one specific hub I liked.  There were many hubs I liked different pieces of but not one particular I wanted to only model.  With that said I have started my hub based on a combination of two different hubs. Trihard was the first hub I investigated and really liked. This learning hub has a short catchy title as well as a welcome statement.  Another reason why I chosen this site is it has a section for training articles.  I think it is extremely important to not only back up your ideas through research articles and videos.  Another aspect of trihard I liked was the tab which showed different events in your area to get involved in. 
     The second website I looked at was Plant Shark Fitness.  Unlike the first website, plant shark fitness talks about an area of fitness we too often forget about, nutrition.  Unfortunately, in order to see the information and helpful hints you would need to contact the person directly.  Not only did it include a section of healthy foods and recipes, but it also included a healthy shopping list.  Too often fitness is seen solely as exercise.  Although exercise is important, it needs to be paired with healthy eating habits.
     Both of these websites contain information I would like to use in my own learning hub.  They were easy to navigate and attractive.  Each website had a section to respond to.  One was in the form of a blog and the other was through email.  After looking at the two posts I would much rather attach my blog to my learning hub.  The reason I chose this is because much like many teachers say to their classes the first day, "don't be afraid to ask the question, chances are someone else has the same question."  Both blog included pictures which made the website inviting.  As you can see my investigating and creating is far from over; however, just like in any area of education, learning should never be over.  If I reach complacency, wouldn't it be boring?

My Ideal Learning Hub-Fitness and Food...yum

As previously discussed in an earlier blog post, I tried to use google sites in starting my learning hub.  I would be lying if I said it was an easy task.  To me it was a little tough to navigate.  With much research and collaboration with other #itdml graduates I started to use wix.  Even still after starting my hub I am by no means an expert.  I wanted to have different tabs and online resources relating food and fitness.  My overall concept is to not only be a resource for my students, but others as well.  The idea of my learning hub is to be a place where those who have chosen to make a lifestyle change can go for advice, motivation and ideas. So far, it is a work in progress with many loose ends.  I am struggling with how to add videos and tabs with multiple content on each page.  When I first started the page it seemed easy.  All I needed to do was find a user friendly site I could design.  How difficult could it be? Or at least I thought.  After going on four days of developing content and structure my hub, it was harder than I thought.  Not only was I having trouble with the actual layout, I was also stuck on the design.  What pictures would be best to use?  How can I make it user friendly but also informational.  Should I include a section for people to reflect?  As you can see, there are many questions I still have not answered.  This is a work in progress...and I have a lot of work to go!

Details on Technology in Meriden

For my week 2 assignment I was asked to look at technology in my school district.  How is it used, "controlled", and spread throughout the school system.  The first thing I thought of was our bring your own device policy.  Meriden has embraced this BYOD policy. The document states each student is able to bring their own device if they uphold certain rules.  Unfortunately, all the students hear is, "I can use my phone and not get in trouble". Contrast to what the students believe, the Meriden school district is making a large push towards the use of technology for educational reasons in our school.  This year in particular all teachers as well as students received a device.  By being awarded the Nellie Mae grant we were able to provide students and teachers with devices hoping to push technology into our system.  Another way Meriden has incorporated technology into the school system is our communication to the parents through parent portal.  This portal allows parents to access student schedules, grades, assignments, and contact teachers.  The problem we have been running into is what I feel most urban schools have as well.  We also use an automated calling system.  As a teacher you are required to sign up for the call and parents as well.  If there is a message that needs to be distributed to the whole Meriden community it goes through the call service.  The system is used for school delays, upcoming events, emergency as well as many other topics.  The students access technology at school through the school WiFi.  Unfortunately, a common hurdle for our school district is many students cannot access it at home.  Does learning then stop for those students?  Wont they be farther behind then the other students who do have access?  

Some other ways our school uses technology is we just recently started to use Peachjar. Peach jar is a free website which allows users to create flyers and distribute them to a large group. Remind 101 is another way we as teachers, are encouraged to provide information and reminders. I do sometimes question, with all this easy access online, are we teaching our students responsibility? We also, just recently received an email to help teachers integrate technology in the classrooms with a Technology Flyer.  Some other areas we use technology are through the following programs:

As you can see there are many ways Meriden utilizes technology in our schools.  Each day we are encouraged to learn a new type of technology and turn it into something useful in our classroom.  Just yesterday we had parents night and I developed a cartoon for the parents to watch rather than listening to a lecture.  It was a fun and easy way for the parents to learn our policy and expectations of the class.  As technology develops, I feel more professional development days should be utilized for teachers to learn how to use it.  There have been many times in my classroom when a student knows about the technology more than myself.  In order to continue on the upward push, all teachers should embrace the change.  In contrast, if they are expected to learn the technology schools need to provide the proper training to do so.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

My "Biker Bar" Moment

Cari McKee
EDUC 7718 fall 2014
My Biker Bar Moment
I am a relatively outgoing person but rarely put myself in spots where I feel totally out of touch.  With that said, once I read about discussing a “biker bar” moment a distinct memory popped into my mind.   It was my junior year in high school.  I had a passion for cooking, well ok, at the time eating.    My teacher was very sweet but immediately started to talk about terms I did not understand.  Separating eggs?  Does that mean I have to put them in a separate bowl?   It seemed as though every other student in my class knew exactly what to do as she was talking.  “Kneading” was a new term and “sifting” was not in my vocabulary.  I began to thin this was a bad idea and not a class I should have been in.  I was scared, anxious, and uncomfortable.  I believe because I felt so out of touch not only with the teacher, and context but also my peers.  It was horrifying. I wanted to drop the class and give up because I felt like an elephant in the room.  It was my teacher who stopped me in the hallway and changed my mind.  She told me, “The content will come, as long as you have passion and love, you can get through this I promise.”  Those words have stuck with me and I am so glad they did.  Twelve years later I have cooked a homemade peirogi for my ITDML class and published it!  To me, cooking isn’t as scary as it was back in high school but it is now a sanctuary for me.  A release from the “real world” as Gee called it.
Looking back on my “biker bar” moment I experienced in high school and comparing it to my students is not hard to do.  I believe my students have also found themselves in their own “bike bar” moment.  What I fear is it happens too often to them.  Whether it be with school, work, or family my students struggle with many things.  Unfortunately, urban setting schools are a hub for stress, anxiousness and fear. Fear of not knowing what is ahead of them as they walk home. Stress because with their mom working, they don’t know how they will feed their baby sister tonight.  I have worked at my school now for seven years.  There are many things I do to try and collect “data” on my students.  But unfortunately, the truth is they aren’t thinking about math, science or reading today.  They have a much bigger fear inside of them.  In contrast, I do believe there is a way out of that lifestyle.  My students seek compassion from a good role model.  They seek trust in teachers although they are hesitant to give it.  I do activities such as a “me triangle” and “bio poem” to develop a safe way for my students to express their feelings.  Similar to their reading skills, their writing skills are lacking.  In order to “jog their thinking” I do brain teasers and mental puzzle to force them to critically think.  The first day I put on the board “pas” and the students needed to figure out what it is.  To them it is pass spelled incorrectly.  It isn’t until we discuss how things are not as they seem all the time.  “Pas simply means incomplete pass”.  The students all throw their hands up in the air as if it was an easy riddle to understand.  We then have the conversation about misinterpretations and misconceptions.  The benefit about health class is there are a lot of sharing about one’s own experiences.  It is imperative for my students to understand that even though they may say something doesn’t mean it is always construed as what they want it to be.
Gee discusses judgments on different people and misconceptions.  Gee also talks about how we should “appreciate language in its own social context” (Gee, J.2012; page 1).  No matter if it is myself, my students or my administrators, judgments will be made.  Our professional development days at the beginning of the school year is always deemed as a test my eyes similar to my evaluation of my students based on their attire and choice of seat on the first day.  I believe the administrators are making those same judgments on us as teachers.  Who is a good learner?  I believe a good learner would be sitting in the front row with limited distractions such as their phone.  Turkle discusses social context as being out of touch with the conversation.  She talked about students, executives, and board members seeking an escape from the here and now by looking at their phone.  I believe it is a natural concept to evaluate based on subconscious decisions.  Even something as simple as your summer vacation can play a part in your “first evaluation.”  The male teachers are usually doing yard work while the woman are taking care of the kids and carting them around to camps.  You can also tell who is working off student loans or comfortable with their salary because they are either taking their annual family vacation or taking a drive to Rocky Neck.  To others, being truthful is not an options.  Just like Gee stated, “students hailed to be different kind of students in different classrooms”.  Teachers are looked at in the same light.  Some teachers have a “work face” on in one setting and a “crazy face” on in other settings only seen at end of the year parties (Gee. J, 2012; pg. 3).  I believe as teachers we all follow the same basic morale, “every human as being capable of thinking and act as a responsible and intelligent citizen” (Gee, J. 2012; pg. 5).  So thinking about the “biker bar” moment and the context from Gee and Turkle, does this give us more freedom or complicate my life by forcing me to remember the persona who belongs in a variety of situations?  I believe it is difficult to answer.  Many people act a certain way based on perceptions as Gee discussed.  Others use technology as a source to “hide behind it”.  A sense of comfort is acquired when dealing with technology.  In contrast, I believe we have always put on a different identify based on where we are to feel a sense of endearment and acceptance.  For example, on a football team congratulations are in the form of slapping each other’s backsides were as in other sports it is perceived as insulting behavior.  We do not slap your opponent’s backside if they just birdied.  Or when a driver is angry at the wheel may experience road rage but would be very different if the two people were walking side by side.  Technology, however; has made it possible to wear many different masks and acquire many different identities.  Part of the reason I believe so many people use social media and networking is to escape from the imperfections they believe are seen in them.
Gee and Turkle bring up very valid points about communication and the use of technology.  To me, social media and the need to “fit in, so I have to snap chat” is assisting insecurities. Turkle talked about the goldilocks effect and keeping people not too close but not too far.  Is that an effective way to communicate?  Are we even communicating?  I believe media has played a large role in how we see technology.  Turkle discussed siri becoming more involved.  Commercials such as Siri verses Cortana  are demonstrating technology used as a companion.  Is this what are world is turning into?  Media has made technology a safe way to feel like you are not alone.  Imagine, sitting in an elevator and not looking down at your device to make the silence seem more bearable.  Based on what I see if society, I believe our students need to utilize technology but not “change who they are” according to Turkle.  Technology can be a great tool when used properly but needs to be harnessed and understood.  For example, developing an identity on the internet should be the same identity as a person.
In conclusion, digital text can be exciting and scary all at the same time.  We can develop new identities and express ourselves in ways we couldn’t in person due to comfort level.  Digital text can also be misconstrued in a different way such as the teacher posted a photo of what she thought to be funny with her students wearing duct tape on their mouth.  Was it intended to embarrass her students or was it a simple misconception?  Conceptions are always directed differently and seen different by others.  Turkle states, “we expect more out of technology but less out of others”.  My question is, what happens when the power goes out?
    In response to writing this discussion I chose to use google docs.  One of the main reasons I choose to use google docs is because I was able to access the information from anywhere.  Being a physical education teacher, coach, and mom, I needed to be able to have my documents on the go.  Also, I am new to google starting this year so I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone.  Although it isn't widely innovative I believe using google docs was a great way for me to portray my ideas in a format that was familiar.  My hope is to eventually build enough confidence I would be able to use google docs in my classroom. In regards to who I can reach and what impact I have I believe is limited to the traditional pen and paper.  My message is to be portrayed by my professor and my peers, but using google docs is an easy way to provide feedback and share assignments with peers.  Many of my students do not have technology in their homes so an assignment they can produce in school and continue anywhere, even on their phone!   I believe the impact I could have on my students with the ability to use google docs would only help them in the future.


  1. Gee, J. (2012). Social Linguistics and Literacies (4th ed). New York: Routledge.
  2. Turtle, Sherry. (2012, February). "Connected, but Alone."
  3. YouTube: Siri verses Cortland
  4. YouTube: Duct Tape



Saturday, September 6, 2014

My Digital Learning Hub: Thoughts?

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The educational system is always trying to find new innovative ways to showcase information to a vast majority of our students and their parents.  My school in particular has embraced a website ( allowing teachers to post assignments, worksheets, pictures, articles and even videos from.  The students can access all their classes from one website.  At the beginning of the massive creation, we were all encourage to use the website on a regular basis.  But like older technological databases, it is slow and sometimes hard to use. So I thought, there has to be an easier way to upload information and have students react to it.

    A digital learning hub seemed like a great place to start, but what is a digital learning hub?  Can I actually use it and is it user friendly for my audience.  I started to use googlesites.  I felt it wasn’t as easy to use as I thought it would be.  But as my father states, “with every effort comes adversity and with adversity comes another opportunity.”  So I started to discuss ideas with +Amy Paskov and spoke with +Tim Flanagan and received great ideas on what a digital learning hub looks like.  They both suggested to try using wix which is what I did!

I thought to myself, ok I decided what to use as my digital learning hub now I have to decide what it is going to be used for, what elements I want to include, and who am I going to showcase it to.  The rational explanation would be my students but I think I would like to go beyond that.  I would like to design a personal learning hub on nutrition and physical activity.   Therefore, by doing so I would be able to reach not only my students but a wide variety of people interested in becoming active and eating healthy.  Once I started to think about the big picture I had so many ideas.  Here are some of the elements I would like to include on my digital learning hub:

  • Biography (reaching out to my audience and telling them who I am)
  • Research (including text and videos)
  • Healthy eating (recipes and a place where others can share their recipe ideas)
  • Let’s get active (a place to post videos and workouts for all ages)
  • A reflection section/Q&A section (where people can post comments, concerns and/or questions)
  • Get involved (showcase activities around the area for parents and the community to become active)

One of the biggest issues we have in our society is obesity.  I believe many people intend to be healthy but are not for various reasons:

  • Health
  • Money
  • Location
  • Work
  • Society
  • Surroundings
  • Safety
  • Accommodations

So I know what you are thinking, how are you going to include all this information in your hub?   I would include digital elements such as Lose it!, My Fitness Pal, government articles and map my workout applications.  All these applications would be paired with articles to demonstrate the correlation of exercise when it is paired with healthy eating.