Teacher Website Reflection

1.What was the biggest challenge for you on this assignment?

The biggest challenge for me in completing the teacher website was making sure that I included all of the required elements and that the content reflected what I truly wanted to be on the site. Since I will be entering the classroom next semester, I wanted my site to be completely usable instead of it representing what my “ideal” site would look like. In order to make my site completely usable once it was published, I had to decide what certain components of my classroom would look like with regards to determining the class rules, supply list, grading policies, and the syllabus. Some of these things, like the supply list and rules, I had not even thought about since I will be entering a classroom where this has already been established. I liked that the level of depth required made me think about what my future classroom policies would look like and how I would share that with parents and students.

2. What was the most enjoyable part of this assignment? 

The most enjoyable part of the teacher website assignment to me was seeing my completed website as a usable product that I can actually use. I have completed multiple assignments in my Education and Curriculum and Instruction course that have been created under the context that “this assignment could be used in an actual classroom.” After four years, I can truthfully say that this is not the case. I would never use any of the assignments I have created in my previous education courses in my classroom; the exception to this is some of the assignments I have completed for my methods course. This is not to say that the previous assignments have been poorly developed or unprofessional; rather, they are not realistic of the needs that need to be met in an actual classroom with diverse learners nor are they reflective of the interests or needs of actual students. These assignments have been designed for use with college students who already know the content. The teacher website is different; it was designed for students and parents and could be used by them to find information about my classes. The site is professional in appearance and it contains information that is reflective of the real world. For example, instead of using a “fake” syllabus, I included one that I plan on giving to students.

3. Why did you reflect the 3 assignments that you selected? 

I included my infographic, digital poster, and digital story because I wanted to show examples of actual assignments that I would have students create as a product of student learning. Given that the content would be Spanish related and not instructional technology, these assignments reflect what I would want students to be able to do with their language skills. Piktochart, Smore, and PowToon are all tools that my students can access for free and use to complete actual assignments. To me, it was important to show realistic samples.

 4. What if anything would you do differently before you could use this site for your actual classroom?

I would make a few changes to my website before I would provide students and parents with the link. First, I would remove my resume. I do not believe that it belongs on the site in its entirety.  In order to still provide students and parents with some information, I would include fragments of it such as my educational background and professional association membership information on the “About Me” page. Second, I would change my grading policies. I am still in the process of determining what my grading system would look like and since I will be stepping into a system already created by a Cooperating Teacher, I will most likely be following her grading policies throughout my student teaching. The next two changes I would make are based on two things I saw on my classmate’s websites when looking over them. Looking at the website that Kaitlyn made, I saw that she included pictures of what her “classroom” looked like and I believe that this is an excellent idea. For the parents and guardians who cannot or will never see what their child’s classroom looks like, adding pictures will help provide them with a glimpse of the learning environment. I would add a few photos of what my classroom looks to my site. The second change I would make is to post my teaching philosophy. Tiffany had this on her site in the form of a few short phrases that summarized her beliefs about teaching. Just from looking at these short phrases, I could tell what core beliefs drive her as a teacher and what someone observing her class could see in action. I would add this to for similar reasons, but mainly to remind myself of why I want to be a teacher and to push myself to be the best teacher I can be for my students.


*Attempts were made to create ALT tags for the images used on the site but Weebly would not create them/did not have the ability to do so*





Digital Storytelling Reflection

  1. What was the target audience for this story? Which curriculum standards does this align too? How would you use this within your class (e.g., as homework, as part of an assignment)?

The target audience for my digital story is students at the middle school level (sixth through eighth grades) and could be used in any of the three grade levels. Students in these  grade levels are considered Novice language learners based on the proficiency descriptors designed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL); this means that they have limited ability to use the language for communicative purposes. Since the story uses images and animations to provide visual representations and gestures that correspond with the spoken Spanish (extralinguistic support which helps communicate meaning), this story is ideal for students at the Novice proficiency level. The digital story meets two of the overarching standards outlined in the North Carolina Essential Standards for World Languages: interpretative communication and culture. Interpretative communication occurs when students are presented with language in which they cannot negotiate meaning, this means students cannot ask questions about what they heard/viewed or read. Likewise, students cannot seek further clarification from the speaker or author.  The digital story presents students with the language and the only tools they have to determine meaning is through the use of the visuals and their own knowledge of the language. From the story, students would be identifying word and phrases demonstrating which would demonstrate understanding of the language. The culture standard requires students to identify the “3 P’s” of culture: Products (items), Practices (what individuals of a culture do), and Perspectives (beliefs of a culture). The digital story would introduce students to the Products (el zócalo, the ruins of Teotihuacan, la ofrenda) and the Practices (the observance of Día de los muertos) within the cultural context of México.  In my class, I would use this story in two ways. The first use would be as part of a “flipped” homework assignment where students would watch the video for homework and complete guided notes. Students would then complete in-class activities related to the video the next day. If I was teaching exploratory Spanish, I would create three to four more videos about different Spanish-speaking countries and would have students complete station activities where they would watch each video and complete various assignments related to each video.

2. How do you feel about the story that you created for this assignment? What parts of it do you particularly like? Dislike? Why? What did/do you enjoy about this assignment?

Overall, I did not like the story that I created for this assignment. After viewing the other stories in class, I feel that my story fell flat and was missing details that would have made it feel more like a story. I had a character and a plot line that featured the different stages of the story arc, but the emotionally that drives the story was weak. In my opinion, this made my story appear boring and forced compared to the others. Part of this has to do with the topic I selected. When teaching culture in the language classroom, the goal is to introduce students to the people of that culture and involve them as participants, not observers. Language teachers strive to select videos and images that will allow students to see themselves being a participant in the culture. The images that I selected to use in the story is the element that I like the most. PowToon had an excellent collection of images due to its connection with Flickr that allowed the cultural elements to stand out. The transitions between different scenes of the story and my voice over were my least favorite elements. I struggled to make the transitions seem seamless and flow directly into the next image. The end result was a rushed and forced movement which was not visually appealing. Part of this was due to the voice over. I had to make the voice over fit in the time set for the duration of the image. If the voice over exceeded the time of the image, PowToon added time to the duration which then effected the transitions between images. Of the major assignments we have completed in this course so far, this has been the only one that I did not enjoy and I am disappointment in its quality; I have turned in better quality work than this. I struggled with completing this project due to the creativity it required; I am not a creative individual nor do I enjoy creative projects because I care more about content and accuracy than creativity. It would have been easier for me to write a paper about my topic in APA format than to make it a digital story. This is one area where I know I will struggle as a teacher. In addition to encouraging students to develop their analytical skills, they need experiences to engage in creative thinking and this is skill I do not know how to develop.

3. Did you do your story in a similar way as others? Explain similarities or differences you noticed

When I compare my story to the others from class, I can identify a few similarities. My story along with the others followed the standard story arch format where a character is introduced along with a problem that needs to be solved. The character then begins the journey to solve the problem facing obstacles along the way until finally, the problem is resolved. I also observed that like many other projects, I provided voice over in my story which I believed helped to personalize the story for the students who would watch it. There was an interesting trend that I noticed about everyone’s story: most of them were designed to be used as an instructional tool by the teacher instead of being a student created assignment. Some stories looked like they could have been made by students themselves but overall, most were “teacher quality” with regards to the use of the design elements.  With older elementary level students, middle school students, and high school students, these stories could be created with teacher scaffolding and multiple practice opportunities. There were two notable differences between how I made my story and how the rest of the class made theirs. First, almost everyone featured music in the background of their stories  which added to the flow of the story and the transitions. I tried to find music in Powtoon that I could use,  but there was nothing that would have been appropriate. All of the available music was either rock-based or pop. My video needed music that reflected the culture of México and could not be found in Powtoon and I did not know to locate it as an outside tool. The second difference I observed was that the majority of people used Videoscribe which gave their stories a clean, polished presentation versus the comic book appearance that PowToon gave to certain parts of my story.

4. Now that you have completed this assignment and viewed your classmate’s submissions, what would you do differently if you had to redo the assignment?

If I had to redo this assignment I would several things differently. First, I would have looked at more examples and took notes on the transitions other individuals used, the placement of music, and how they developed their story arc.  Second, I would have added background music to my story because I know that the presence of music would have greatly enhanced the quality of the story versus just the Spanish language voice over. Since this story would have been used in a Spanish class, I would just write text in Spanish with music and eliminate the voice over. The story would still be addressing the interpretive mode of communication and culture, only the focus would change from interpretive listening to interpretive reading. Third, I would change the story arc, I do not know how I would change it but I know it needs to be changed to include more emotion and it needs to be more concise. Finally, I would focus on the editing. The transitions need improvement along with the timing. With the elimination of the voice over, I believe that the timing and transitions would improve and appear more fluid versus the short, choppy movements present in my video.

Web 2.0

Image from: https://spanishlearningineci201.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/cf91e-social-media.jpg

Last week, my methods class sat down together to create a lesson plan incorporating a cultural topic. The four of us, along with one of our methods instructors, started our planning by watching a video about a Bolivian wedding ceremony. When I say watch a video, I do not mean that we watched a short five-minute clip from YouTube or another website: we watched an actual VHS tape recording. As soon as the instructor started playing the video, I had to stop myself from laughing out-loud as I saw how terrible the video quality was along with those famous blurry lines of a off-track VHS tape.  In 2015, five highly educated individuals with access to a plethora of digital tools such as YouTube, Vimeo, and exceptionally designed websites were watching a VHS tape that could not be shared with others nor accessed by any other means other than the VHS tape.

The experience described above is almost unheard of in todays K-12 classrooms due to the almost exclusive use of digital resources. Materials that were once confined to a physical disc or tape have made the transition to digital formats accessible by almost any device that can connect to the internet. The same transition has happened to projects and other student work; the dominance of tri-folds and bulky poster-boards has given way to Glogsters and Piktocharts. This change in how teachers introduce content to students and in how students demonstrate their knowledge is the result of Web 2.0 tools. According to a CBS News article, Web 2.0 tools are the follow-up technologies to the internet that function similarly to PC based programs, but are hosted on the internet. These tools are interactive, allow the user flexibility and creative freedom in use of the tool, and provide ways for individuals to share and collaborate while information is constantly updated.  The power in Web 2.0 tools is that they are accessible anywhere with an internet connection and available to almost anyone free of charge (for many tools).

Image from: http://tbyresources.pbworks.com/f/1219612512/large%20conversation%20prism.jpg

Web 2.0 tools have become popular with teachers because of their transformative power in instructional practices and in the performance of students. With tools such as YouTube and Vimeo, teachers have access to digital media content from around the world on almost subject. In addition to accessing digital media content, Web 2.0 tools allow students to create their own video content with tools such as iMovie and then share those creations with tools like YouTube. Social Media tools allow students to connect with learners all over the world outside of the four walls of the classroom. Google tools allow the creation of documents and presentations that anyone can create and edit together with people in different parts of the world at the same time. This ability to move learning from outside of the four walls of a classroom and the confines of a school is one of the powers behind Web 2.0 tools according to Andrew Marcinek in a post for Edutopia.  In an educational culture where best practices for instruction include promoting digital literacy, increasing cross-curricular instruction, and creating student-centered learning environments, Web 2.0 tools allow students and teachers to work towards achieving these goals. The limitations that once restricted what students and teachers could do in the classroom due to limit resources is gone; if there is a Web 2.0 tool, there is now a way.

Web 2.0 tools are not only changing how students learn, they are also changing how teachers prepare for instruction. It is already known that social media tools such as Twitter are connecting teachers with fellow educators around the world, but other Web 2.0 tools are allowing for collaboration in developing engaging lessons. Lisa Dabbs, in an article for Edutopia, examines the use of Web 2.0 tools by teachers to identify how different tools can lead to increases in student learning and add to the knowledge that teachers have from their  specialized training. Dabbs identifies tools such as Pinterest, which is used to visually organize information for lesson planning and live binders, a tool which allows users to upload information and documents to create a virtual binder. As with other uses of technology, the key to using these Web 2.0 tools is that teachers receive professional development in how they can be utilized and that their school culture supports the use of such tools.

Image from:http://electronicportfolios.org/eportfolios/ReflectionModelLaptops.jpg

Of the many Web 2.0 tools available to teachers, one of my favorites is Plickers. Plickers is a free formative assessment tool that is both engaging for students and easy for teachers to use. With Plickers, teachers create an account and download an app to their smart phone or tablet device and print a set of cards (one for each student). Each card has a unique shape on it and has answer choice options A-D printed at various points on the shape. Teachers upload questions for their students to answer to the Plickers site (or use pre-made questions made by other teachers) and present them to students one at a time. As teachers present the questions to students, students hold up their card with their answer choice facing upward and the teacher, using a tablet or smart phone, scans the room capturing each students card.  What makes this tool ideal for formative assessment is that as the teacher scans the cards, he/she can see if the student answered correctly or incorrectly and at the end of each question, the teacher can see the overall performance of the class. This tool gives teachers instant results and since it only requires one personal device to be used by the teacher, it is easily implemented in the classroom. The video below shows a teacher using Plickers for formative assessment:

Works Cited: YouTube Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uxhlEkQpwY

Tablets in the classroom

Image from: http://blogs.msdn.com/cfs-filesystemfile.ashx/__key/communityserver-blogs-components-weblogfiles/00-00-01-61-40/5226.tablets.png

This week in ECI 201, something rare happened: a Digital Native became a Digital Immigrant, well at least within the context of learning how to use an Ipad. Prior to checking out an Ipad last week and before Thursdays class, I had never used an Ipad or any other tablet device for school or personal use. My preferred devices to use have always been either a traditional desktop, laptop or a smart phone. Among the products in the  technology spectrum, I have used the oversized Gateway and Dell PC towers and monitors, the enormous Dell Laptops, the Blackberry Torch, the Iphone, and most recently, the Macbook. When new products entered the market, the next time I was ready for an upgrade, I eagerly traded up to newer devices and software. However, on Thursday, for the first time in very long time, I struggled to use technology. It confused me, it frustrated me, and it made me think about how I was using technology to accomplish a task. I was already somewhat familiar with how to navigate the Ipad software since it is the same platform used to run the Iphone, but learning the fine details about moving between apps, rotating the screen, or using particular apps was a learning curve. Although challenging, once I learned the basics I realized how powerful of a tool the tablet can be in the classroom with students and for teachers in designing instructional activities.

Being an educator in 2015 means that we have a well-developed idea and model of what a twenty-first century learner looks like: the students we encounter in our classrooms each day.  The students in todays classroom are unique in that technology is no longer an “add-on” to their lives; it is fully embedded in how they live and work in a rapidly changing world. In our society where we value immediacy and convince, traditional laptops are no longer able to meet this need. To this end, more individuals, companies, and educational institutions are turning to tablets for many reasons. First, (and the most likely reason), is that tablets are portable and easily assessable: they require little room, are lightweight, and can be used for a variety of different purposes. In a post for Edutopia  Ben Johnson, a school principal, describes how tablets can be used in a science lesson emphasizing their power and ease of use. While conducting an experiment, students can use a tablet to photograph and video the different stages, record minute-by-minute oral or written observations, and share that information with teachers and other people. With one handheld device, students can accomplish what was once done by hand more accurately and in a more appealing format. It is students completing tasks like this that Johnson believes demonstrates how tablets are changing student learning experiences. With tablets, students can engage in problem based learning in which they identifying global or local problems, look for solutions, and then present those solutions to appropriate audiences.

Image from: http://www.apexcomputing.co.uk/images/images/want%20more%20of%20this.jpg

Using tablets in the classroom have benefits over using laptops. Some of the most common uses of tablets is to run apps that allows students to explore topics and create products, and to use apps specifically designed to address students’ individual learning needs (often remediation) in different content areas according to student needs. Matthew Lynch reported in an article for the site Gizmodo, that studies have found that the use of apps designed for educational purposes improve student learning. Lynch mentions a study that found the use of apps for specific purposes such as vocabulary develop and math skill practice lead to higher learning gains. These apps also increase student engagement in the classroom. Lynch describes a study in which 54% of students self-reported they were more involved with classes which used technology.  These apps are often designed for use on portable devices and many times do not work or function very well on traditional laptops, which then makes them less effective or impossible to use with students. With the popularity of tablets increasing, many textbook publishers are now producing virtual books that are interactive, more up-to-date and easily updatable. As in the example of apps, these digital textbooks are often more easily used on a tablet. Apps that allow the use of word-software, presentation software, and data analysis tools mean that reports and graphics can be created from the tablet device and shared with global audiences without ever needing a laptop.

The power of using tablets in the classroom can be seen the video below of a New Jersey school district whose teachers and administrators describe the implementation of tablets using Google Play apps as fundamental in changing instructional practices and enhancing student learning:

While tablets have the ability to be a transformative tool in the classroom, as with any tool used for instructional purposes, there are drawbacks and limitations. Both Lynch in his article for Gizmodo and Johnson (in a different Edutopia article reflecting on his schools implementation of tablets) state that one of the challenges of incorporating tablets into the classroom is shifting control away from the teacher and trusting students to use the technology without teachers controlling every their every move. This can be difficult for teachers who want to ensure that students remain on task but for students to experiment with the tools available to them, they must have the freedom to do so. Students are not the only individuals who need to be allowed to experiment with using tablets to learn. Johnson found that in his school since teachers were “computer literate”  it was assumed that they would know how to incorporate tablets and apps into their lessons: he was mistaken. Teachers need additional training on how to use tablets if they have never used one before as well as in how to evaluate apps for use with students.  Other disadvantages that can come from using tablets include the lack of a keyboard for students who may prefer or need one for input versus relying on touch screen. Additionally, tablets cannot play CD’s or burn information to CD’s if necessary, and for some students, the screen size many not be large enough if they have a vision impairment.

Image from: http://www.mobilegeeks.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/LaptopTablet.jpg

When thinking about which type of device I would prefer to have in my classroom, I lean towards laptops but I can see the value in the use of tablets. As I prepare to enter the classroom to student teach in the spring, I am excited by the fact that my school is BYOD; therefore, I will have students using tablets, phones, possibly laptops and Ipods. Regardless of the device, I want my students to use their devices to customize their learning and to conduct research beyond what I provide in my instruction. Students may remember some of the content I provide to them, but when they take control of their own learning and seek out information for their own personal desire, that is the information they will remember when they leave my class.

Works Cited: YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzvpcEffvaE

Professional Learning Networks

Image from: http://youthbuildprov.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/old-brick-one-room-school-house-c-wayne-hennebert.jpg

If time travel was possible, do you believe that a teacher from 2015 could handle being sent back to teach in a one-room schoolhouse from the 1800’s?  When I think about that question and consider the different sociocultural contexts of that era, I am convinced that a teacher from today could not do the job. Regardless of the training that current teachers receive before entering the classroom in comparison to teachers from the 1800’s(which for many meant just completing school themselves), our dependence on technology to drive instruction, and society’s current viewpoint on the purpose of public education would make it difficult for a twenty-first century educator to do the job. While the above factors would make it difficult for a twenty-first century teacher like myself, there is one concept that is central to current instructional practice that due to its non-existence in the past, would lead to a current teachers demise: collaboration. Teachers today take for granted the ability to work with other teachers in designing lessons, evaluating student work, and supporting each other either in person or just a click away. For the Kansas teacher whose nearest school and teacher might have been fifty miles away, that individual faced a lonely world that a 2015 teacher would struggle to imagine.

 Professional Learning Networks (PLN’s) have been defined as communities of educators working together collaboratively to improve instructional practices with the desired goal of increasing student achievement. While this is a general summary of the basic purpose of a PLN, the concept is much more in-depth. Education World defines the purpose of PLN’s as  “a focus on continuous improvement” and “staff involvement of intense reflection upon instructional practices and desired student benchmarks.” Professional Learning Networks do not exist to just allow teachers to meet and share ideas, they are groups formed by teachers who are united by wanting to find solutions to two questions: What is missing in my instructional practices and how can I change my practice to increase student performance? PLN’s require teachers to critically examine their own practices, which is difficult due to how personal teaching is to teachers, and share their weaknesses with colleagues in search of constructive criticism for improvement. It is not easy to reveal weakness; as humans we never want to appear vulnerable, but in order for us to change our actions as teachers, we have to move our accountability from the individual to the collective group. The author of the Education World article identifies the work of PLN’s as a cycle that PLN’s must move through (often repeating steps) but once completed, PLN’s can change the culture of a school.

Image from: http://www.schoolreforminitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/PLN_DEN.jpg

PLN”s are not new developments in educational practice. Teachers have always talked among themselves about what they do in their classrooms and exchanged ideas with fellow teachers. What we see that now defines PLN’s is how teachers make these connections  outside of their school, their district, and even their country. Social media has been the strongest influence in how teachers connect and share with each other. Today with applications such as Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, teachers are connecting with teachers who they have never met in person but yet consider them to be close colleagues and sources of inspiration.  By far, Twitter has been one of the most commonly utilized resources for teachers to form PLN’s.  In 140 characters or less, teachers are sharing links, posing questions, and encouraging each other from around the world. This has truly become a tool that transcends countries, content areas, and languages. Twitter can also be applauded for being a tool that with practice, is relatively simple to use regardless of technology proficiency.  Brianna Crowley in an article for Ed Week outlines three simple steps to guide teachers in how to create a twitter PLN that is both beneficial and customized for your own personal needs and interests as a teacher.

The most effective use of Twitter by a teacher that I have observed so far is my Foreign Language Methods instructor, Karen Tharrington.  Through Twitter, she has found and contributed to a community of world language teachers who share a common goal for what they want to help their students achieve and created a community for support and personal reflection. Mrs. Tharrington uses Twitter to share links with her followers as well as to ask questions and answer questions. This week I had the opportunity to see this in practice when a language teacher in Kentucky asked a question and she and Mrs. Tharrington engaged in a conversation suggesting answers for the question. When I look at how she uses Twitter as a teacher, I see many similarities to the advice presented in the Ed Week article: she has identified general educational professionals who she follows and interacts with along with communities devoted to world languages (ex. #langchat) and she has found, as Brianna Crowley calls them, her “PLN buddies”-the individuals who make up the larger community(ex. the moderators of #langchat). As I used Twitter to create a PLN and participate in my second Twitter chat, I found the experience to be positive and inspiring. I now understand the power of this tool to bring together different teachers who share common goals from different places.  In my own chat this week, one teacher from Iowa shared a Youtube playlist with us that we are invited to use in lesson planning. Although it can be overwhelming at first, once you understand the format of a Twitter chat, it is a great experience and collaborative tool. The chart below shows a helpful format to consider when using Twitter as a PLN resource:

Image from: https://seaccr.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/b1ypvd_iqaalgf0.jpg

As a teacher, I plan to use Twitter as a collaborative tool to connect with other teachers like I have started to do now. Within my limited experience as a pre-service teacher, I have yet to identify a more effective tool at connecting teachers with relative ease and one that allows teachers to share information quickly and efficiently.  When researching PLN’s and the use of tools like Twitter to increase teacher collaboration, Edutopia provided a new insight that extends the idea of using Twitter beyond just connecting teachers: Twitter allows teachers to bring the outside world into the classroom and to move the educational experience outside of the walls of the school. In the process, teachers and administration are staying connected with regards to the instruction being provided, the work that students are completing, and students are connecting with peers around the world.

Works Cited: Edutopia- http://www.edutopia.org/practice/social-media-making-connections-through-twitter


Image from: http://www.otis.edu/sites/default/files/lib-copyright.png

Last Spring, I successfully completed FLS 492: Seminar in Hispanic Studies. For Spanish majors at NC State, this is the most important class we take because it requires us to complete a substantial research project leading to a major research paper. My research  required designing data collection instruments, analyzing the data, and most importantly, consulting the current research on the topic I was researching to find support for the conclusions I was making. Without using the information made available by current researchers, I would not have had a foundation to base my work nor would I had known how to conduct my own research. The research I cited did not appear overnight, it represented the creative and original work of an individual in response to a simple observation about the world around them. The work created by researchers( or any individual)  represents the channeling of human capital into creating something that is designed to be consumed by other people or to inspire the creation of a new products, which often becomes an individuals chosen career and the source of their livelihood. Without the work of other researchers, I could not have completed by research.

Copyright is not recent development; unlike most of the topics we have discussed so far in the course, copyright pre-dates the digital age. An early description of the concept of copyright can be found in the U.S. Constitution where it is stated that Congress has the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveires”(U.S. Constitution. Art.1). Clearly, the Founding Fathers of the United States government recognized and valued the role of individual discovery and creation.  The individuals who were mentioned in this expressed power of Congress, represented the first generation of American creators whose work became the foundation for succeeding works. Novels, songs, images, slogans and other creative and innovative works became copyrighted as a  way to recognize the original creator(s) of a work and to acknowledge that work as the “first” among the different versions that followed it or drew inspiration from it. With mediums of communication expanding as the U.S. grew in size and demographics, the use of copyright granted someone the title of ownership over their work. Likewise, the goal of copyright today is to acknowledge an individuals creation of a work and to ensure that the work can be shared and used by other individuals to expand or enhance what has already been created. Additionally, copyright acknowledges the contribution of the original author or creator and protects their status as the creator.

Image from: http://melrosehslibrary.weebly.com/uploads/1/3/4/4/13440601/800295380_orig.png

While copyright protects and restricts the use of  materials, it does not completely prevent other people,especially teachers,from using these materials to be shared in other works or with other people.  Fair Use, also called Fair Dealings in the infographic above, allows teachers to use copyrighted materials in the classroom as part of lessons and activities with a few general guidelines regulating their use. Fair Use, as defined in the infographic, allows teachers to use copyrighted materials for illustrative purposes within the context of their classrooms. Edutopia adds that Fair Use allows teachers to use material without having to contact the creator for permission, buy the material they want to use, or pay a fee for its usage. While this may seem like a narrow definition, this definition allow teachers to utilize various images, videos, and music to enhance their instruction and for students to create visually appealing products. Additionally, Fair Use allows teachers to reproduce instructional materials for use by students. The guiding principle of Fair Use, according to Ronnie Burt of the theedublogger, is that teachers can only use these materials within the physical classroom. If teachers use copyrighted materials on a website (for example their class webpage) then they have misused what Fair Use allowed them to do.  Fair Use is the in-between zone between understanding copyright and the use of copyrighted resources. The Venn diagram below highlights what fair use permits individuals to do with copyrighted material, and represents the most common uses of this material by teachers.

Image from: https://www.interaction-design.org/images/ux-daily/0f044408a97efe0d30948e27ca924fd7.png

As a teacher, my practice is directly influenced by copyright in the materials that I find  to use in my classroom and in how I teach my students to find and use information in their assignments.  As I select materials to use in my Spanish classes, especially as I look for authentic resources such as images and videos from Spanish cultures, I need to beware of the origin of the material and if the material is copyrighted by its creator.  I must be sure that when selecting materials such as movies, that I carefully connect the content of the movie to the academic standards and instructional objectives that I want my lessons to address.  The use of movies is a commonly cited example in both Edutopia and theedublogger articles involving Fair Use.  Movies such as Selena (1997) used by Spanish teachers must be used in the manner described above and not used just to distract students on a early-release day. When teachers use movies without an instructional context, this could be considered as a public showing which violates Fair Use guidelines.  As I follow copyright and Fair Use guidelines, I will also have to provide my students with instruction about how to follow these rules as well.  As we encourage students to find outside support for the arguments and claims they make we must demonstrate the best practices of using these resources with real-life tasks and student friendly language. Common Sense Education provides an example of a video with student friendly language for explaining what copyright and Fair Use is and how to use the information they protect responsibly.

Works Cited: Youtube video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suMza6Q8J08

Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

Image from: https://brookesaltmarsh.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/digitalnativesandimigrants1-1n5cbfq.jpg

I am fascinated by the Spanish language. The sounds of the language, the richness of its literature, and the diversity of its cultural products draw me into the Spanish speaking world and the experiences of its people. As much as I love studying and using Spanish to communicate with other people, there is one thing about Spanish that frustrates me: I will never be able to communicate in Spanish with the same skill level and authenticity of a native speaker. The first language I learned was English and I have always lived in a culture surrounded by English speakers where English has been the dominant language of daily life. While I have developed an advanced level of proficiency in Spanish, I will never be able to produce the sounds of a native Spanish speaker, use grammatical structures of a native speaker, nor truly understand the culture through the experiences of a native speaker.  Through practice and meaningful interactions I have developed a high level of proficiency, but I cannot perform as well as a native speaker.

When I first read the article “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” by Marc Prensky, I immediately made a connection between his idea of differences in technology fluency among generations to my beliefs toward language proficiency.  Likewise, in the debate I took the side in support of the concept of digital natives. In my opinion, there are digital natives in technology just as there are native speakers of world languages and digital immigrants who are the equivalent of second language learners. Digital natives have the advantage of being natives to technology in that they have never lived in a  culture in which digital technology (primarily the internet) has not existed. Tools such as the internet, computers, cell-phones and other devices were already created and rapidly undergoing improvements when digital natives entered the world. Most importantly (in my opinion),what makes digital natives “digital natives” is that the culture of the world they entered had already adopted technology as an integral part of the daily experience. The digital immigrants, like second language learners, have come to their knowledge of technology through a completely different experience. These individuals have lived in a world in which the technology tools that existed today, did not and their thought process are based on different contexts.

Image from: http://teacherswithapps.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/rupertmurdock-digital-immigrant.jpg

As new tools have been introduced and have replaced or simplified completing different tasks, today’s digital immigrants have had to learn to use new technology tools with a learning curve. In addition to learning how to use new technology tools such as Prezzi, or Gmail, digital immigrants have had to learn to use the hardware and software used to access these tools such as laptops and tablets. Having to first learn how to operate these devices, and then having to learn how to use specific tools is difficult and requires frequent practice that many digital immigrants have not been able to receive in meaningful contexts. Skills that natives take for granted, like automatically knowing how to power-up a device and make settings are often the tasks that prevent digital immigrants from developing proficiency. The cartoon below summarizes the challenges that immigrants often face when learning how to use new technology tools (in this case the students have become digital immigrants towards using books).

Image from: https://larrycuban.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/keefe.jpg

Prior to this week, I never really considered the difference in the use of technology between people my age and the teachers I have had who have been teaching prior to the arrival of the digital age. The idea that there is a disconnect between how today’s students learn and how teachers teach is a new concept to me. In my educational experiences from kindergarten to college, I have had teachers who embraced the use of technology with little problems.  Occasionally, these teachers had problems opening a link or moving from a Powerpoint projection screen to a document-camera screen, but it did not seem to bother my fellow classmates; it was a welcomed break during a long class. Although my experiences have been different, I recognize that there is a difference between current practice and student needs that we must address while also recognizing that sometimes the teacher who is a digital immigrant knows better than the native. In a study by researchers at the New York Institute of Technology, it was found that teacher’s use of technology out-performed use by students.  While students had a better understanding of technology, their knowledge was found to be limited to its use for social purposes and not well-developed in solving complex problems. This is an excellent example of how sometimes learning as an outsider provides a more beneficial perspective.

So how do we bridge the gap between immigrant teachers and native students? Fortunately, this problem has a solution: learn from each other. Both teachers and students have something to be learned from each other regarding technology. In a blog post post for Next Generation Learning, Jonathan Blake Huer points out that natives can learn from immigrants that technology cannot provide the answers to all questions and that sometimes nothing can replace actual human contact. Additionally, immigrants can follow the lead of natives in using whatever tools work best for them and not apologize for not following the lead of others. I agree with his position towards digital natives and immigrants, his  viewpoint focuses not how people come to use technology, but in the ways they use it.  Edutopia encourages immigrant teachers to let native students take the lead on tech trouble-shooting if they know how to solve the problem and to some times step-back and let students teach them how to do something. Most importantly, immigrant teachers are encouraged to never give up on trying to learn new tools. All teachers, digital natives and digital immigrants have to work collaboratively to close the gap because the students of tomorrow are already here, and we know what they look like.

Works Cited: Youtube Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ5Vy9BgSeY