Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Digital Citizenship inside Early Childhood Education

The term "digital citizenship" is defined as appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use (Ribble). Ribble also has created the nine elements that make up digital citizenship(Bickley &Trawick):

1.Digital Rights and Responsibilities: the privileges and freedoms extended to all digital technology users, and the behavioral expectations that come with them.
2.Digital Communication: the electronic exchange of information.
3.Digital Access: full electronic participation in society.
4.Digital Etiquette: the standards of conduct expected by other digital technology users.
5.Digital Security: the precautions that all technology users must take to guarantee their personal safety and the security of their network.
6.Digital Literacy: the capability to use digital technology and knowing when and how to use it.
7.Digital Law: the legal rights and restrictions governing technology use.
8.Digital Health and Wellness
the elements of physical and psychological well-being related to digital technology use.
9.Digital Commerce: 
the buying and selling of goods online.

 This behavior needs to be applied to all levels of education, not just older students. This is the 21st century where every child, big or small, is exposed to technology. Therefore, we as the future educators, according to NAEYC, we need to be responsible for using technology: with the right intentions, knowing the limits, and using it effectively (technologyinearlychildhood). It is important to teach digital citizenship to students because for one, you cant just throw a child onto a computer and say "go!". You have to monitor what they do, say, and learn in order for them to actually use technology efficiently. We all know they are using some sort of technology based item at home, so why not incorporate in the classroom? The key though, is not just using it, it's using it to its full potential. That requires the students to be able to practice digital citizenship. And as educators, its our job to make sure they do this in school and at home. If we start them practicing this at a young age then they can carry this etiquette throughout their lives. 
On the flip-side, some believe that technology in the classroom is not good for young children. An article discussing whether technology and media should be used in the classroom says, children should be limited to "screen time" because it can lead to obesity and development/health issues(NAEYC). Other issues have also been identified such as: irregular sleep patterns, behavioral and attention problems, decreased academic performance, problems with socialization and language development, and increased time in front of screens(NAEYC). 

There are many resources that are available to teachers to use inside their classrooms. Not only are their computers, but now there's i-pads and tablets in the classroom. All activities and technology-based lessons should be developmentally appropriate(NAEYC). Digitally literate educators have the skills, knowledge, and practice that is required to use technology efficiently in the classroom (NAEYC). Many websites have all kinds of educational tools available. Apple has also created many apps for the I-Pads that can be used as educational tools. There are resources out there, educators just need to be aware of what is appropriate to use and what is not.

Other technology tools and interactive media are(NAEYC):

  • Web 2.0 tools for writing, collaboration, and playful experimentation.
  • Include a range of assistive technology devices to expand access for children with special needs.
  • Include language-translation software and keyboard adaptations for dual language learners.
  • Provide geometry software that allows children to explore the concept of shape by stretching, bending, shrinking, or combining images.
  • Use interactive digital games as a way to explore math, reading, social studies, and science concepts
  • Provide digital microscopes and other digital tools for investigation.
  • Encourage children to become proficient in using digital tools such as cameras, scanners, recorders, and editing software.
  • Use technology tools to connect with other children in their communities or globally using e-mail, blogs, or video conferencing.
  • Record children’s stories about their art projects, activities, and interactions;make digital audio or video files to document their progress.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Learning to Unlearn

The world we live in today is constantly changing; with that change comes new technologies and inventions. That change also means that schools are changing to adapt to the newest technology or the newest way of learning. However, this wasn't the case years ago. The schools were all basically the same set up and taught the same ways. Teaching and learning was very basic and boring. The classrooms were even basic and boring. It wasn't until a couple of years ago did the classroom take a drastic turn. Technology was being placed in classrooms all across the world. The realization that all students learn the same was also being reevaluated. This is where the term differentiation comes from. Case in point, things are changing rather rapidly and for us to keep up with them we need to "unlearn" the old ways of teaching/learning and "learn" the new techniques required for a 21st century classroom.

In order for students to unlearn the way they learn they must go through 3 concepts of knowledge. The first is knowledge for practice which is basic guidelines and research to improve practice. The second is knowledge in practice which is actually applying that knowledge to see if it works. This stage is based on inquiry and reflection. The third stage is knowledge of practice which is the systematic, critical, and collaborative inquiry in teaching and learning. This stage allows teachers and even students to figure out new ways of learning and improving knowledge. By thinking in this concept, maybe one day it can help us establish a shared knowledge that will move us out of the "same old way" and into "something new".

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Interactive Whiteboards in Today's Classroom

Interactive White Boards or IWB, have become increasingly popular over the last few years. One reason for this could possibly be the fact that we live in the 21st century where everything is technologically advanced. This is also true in schools as well. In order to keep up the the new inventions and gadgets in the classroom, schools must spend millions of dollars on these new fancy boards. All through High School I had the pleasure of using these IWB as a part of the everyday classroom. However, they were mostly used to take notes on or watch videos. We never actually did cool things with them. Now, in college and learning about all the neat things you can do with them, I see that they pretty much just replace a chalk board or white board. On the flip-side I do think that they made PowerPoint's and word documents much easier to use. The pen it comes with allows you to write on the document and take notes. This is better than a teacher standing and talking for the entire class. Although, in many of my classes that's exactly what the teachers did. They would put up some slides and continue to talk the ENTIRE time. This leads me to my point, do they really help student achievement even in the slightest?

According to an article about Whiteboards, I'm not the only one that thinks the boards are expensive and probably not helping students. The article talks about how most students aren't engaged. They're still simply bored and uninterested. But in some cases the whiteboards did seem to increase student performance. It all depends on the teacher. If you use the IWB to its full potential and not just as a chalkboard, then yes maybe student performance will rise. But until then students will be treating them as just another gadget. New things are constantly being invented and improved. An interesting slideshow shows this to be true. The IWB is just another "slate" to be added to the rest until something better comes along.

IWB also target differentiation in a few ways. Most children now-a-days are technology geniuses. They use technology everywhere to learn and even play games. So having it in the classroom helps a lot. A teacher could create a lesson that has many components that are tailored to his or her students. There are so many activities that can be done on the boards, you just have to know how to find them and apply it. I'm not saying  that we should eliminate paper activities or learning materials, I'm just saying that children can relate to technology a lot better because of its unlimited resources and advantages. Another article discussing the pros and cons of IWB says the same thing, it keeps students engaged to a point. The "novelty" as the article says, might wear off and the boards will become just another tool in a classroom. This is true for students in high school settings because they don't go up the board as much as elementary students to begin with. So in closing, some may say the IWB  has some advantages that are both teacher and student centered, but in most cases they are just seen as an expensive chalkboard that is "essential" to classrooms today.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Differentiation isn't conformity. It's the complete opposite  It is treating the child as an individual as opposed to treating the child like every other child. Differentiation is recognizing the child's needs, interests, and learning styles. When a teacher creates a student profile about the child then he or she can tend to the child in ways that he or she may need in order to advance. The only problem may be getting the teacher to put in the time that is required to help the student better themselves. If the teacher is unwilling to do so, then the child will get nowhere. Another problem is with the school districts enforcing it. If the school district isn't willing to make their teachers do this then differentiation will not work. One day though, I hope everyone will realize that differentiation is the key to student success as well as teacher success.

Technology can be used throughout any classroom. It can also be beneficial when used to help differentiation among students. Differentiation is about different ways to teach and have students learn. Every child isn't the same. Some may like to be taught with the chalkboard and lectures. But most children like to be interactive with technology. We have so much out there to offer to a classroom that the possibilities are endless! Technology is the key to a classroom full of diverse students.And maybe the new Common Core Standards can hopefully help differentiation be implemented in the classrooms.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Twitter and Me

Before I had to use Twitter in this class I hated it. I have a personal Twitter account but I never used it. I honestly thought Twitter was for the birds!(pun intended). No but seriously I despised Twitter. Now that I get a chance to use Twitter for more than tweeting about what I ate for lunch, I like it a little more. Not only is Twitter used for tweeting about your life, it can also be used for communicating with other Educators and students. Today in class we did a group test. This test was silent and the only way you could communicate with the members in your group was through Twitter. Never in a million years would I have guessed I would be taking a test that involved Twitter! Because of this, I now understand the importance of using technology/internet/networking in the classrooms. So many new doors could be opened up to those who choose to teach/learn via social networking. Twitter is just one example of what is available to today's teachers/learners. The possibilities are endless for a 21st century teacher & learner.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Final Frontier

The assignment for my education class (Sedu183) was to create a presentation based on an article we read called "Teacher Beliefs about Technology" and persuade people to take action.

The article talked about how more and more teachers need to use technology in the classroom but their certain beliefs about it sometimes stop them from using it. In order to get teachers on board with it you should consider their beliefs and introduce them to technology that is relevant to them now. Rather than throw a bunch of things at them and expect them to like it let alone understand it.

Working with two other members on this presentation was very easy. Things went well and turned out good. Working with two other people rather than just yourself helps to get more done. It also helps to throw different ideas and comments to help get a better outcome than if you were by yourself.

Our Presentation is titled The Final Frontier and discusses what some of the beliefs are that teachers are concerned about and what teachers think about technology in the classroom.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All about me


My name is Courtney Lynn Critchfield. I am currently a Freshman at the university of Edinboro. I Graduated from West Mifflin Area High School as the class of 2012. I'm from Pittsburgh so of course I love the Pittsbugh Steelers<3. I'm a member of Delta Zeta at Edinboro. My favorite color is pink. I'm obsessed with Zebra print and Pinterest! And one cool fact about me is that I LOVE to decorate! My dorm room has things everywhere and all over the walls. I decorate my living room for every season in the year. I probably waste a lot of money trying to make my dorm room look better. I can't wait to own a house someday:) 

My Major at Edinboro is Early childhood education. Ever since I was a kid I've always imagined myself sitting at a desk in front of a classroom full of students. In this vision I imagined myself teaching kids. Children have always been my passion. Iv'e been surrounded by a large family all my life. I myself am an only child, but my aunt and uncle alone have 11 children! So i'm always helping out with whatever I can. I'm very excited to start my teaching career. 

In this world we live in today we see technology everywhere around us. One of those places is in the classroom. I believe that technology in the classroom has its pros and cons. Some of the good things about it is that it makes accessing information easier. Another great point is that it can be used for various projects with the Powerpoint and word software. I believe that technology is a positive thing for both the student and the teacher in the classroom. In my future classroom I plan to use technology in various ways. One being PowerPoint everyday to outline what the plan is for the day. With technology you can use videos, blogs and even music to incorporate into lessons. 21st century students need technology in the classrooms because it's all they use. Technology should be embraced, not banned in schools.