Monthly Archives: September 2012

Would you say that to my face?

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A boy is walking down the hall at the local school, and on his way to class, someone runs up behind him and shoves his books to the floor.  Another student gets up from her desk to throw something away, when another student takes her pencil and throws it across the room.  And in the bathroom, a student is being called “poor boy” because he isn’t wearing $50 jeans.  We refer to these actions as “bullying.”  And although these seem to be harmless pranks, the effects on others can be detrimental to their self-esteem and overall well-being.

Photo courtesy of J_O_I_D via Flickr Creative Commons

Bad-cyberbully

There is another form of bullying, called cyberbullying, that can be just as traumatic to an individual, yet seemingly more widespread.  According to the National Crime Prevention Council, cyberbullying is defined as “when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.” (NCPA, 2012).  Cyberbullying affects almost 50% of the high school population in the U.S. (NCPA, 2012).

Sadly, this form of bullying happens all the time.  I believe one of the reasons why it is so rampant is because of the fact that the harassment takes place through technological means, where it is not necessary to be face-to-face with the victim.  There seems to be a false sense of confidence that allows the cyberbully to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and however he wants, because, hey…that kid is nowhere in sight!  What’s it going to hurt?  I’m not actually SAYING it to his face!  He won’t find out it’s me!

Unfortunately, the harm that cyberbullying does to another individual could have the following lasting and devastating effects on that person:  “Hurt feelings, sadness, anxiety, depression, anger, shame, fear, frustration, low self-esteem, inability to trust others.”  And this could end up leading to “withdrawal, seclusion, avoidance of social  relationships, poor academic performance, bullying others, and in extreme cases – suicide.” (Puresight, 2010-2011)

I took part in a webinar about a year ago called, “Cyberbullying – what every teacher should know.”  (Honeycutt, 2011).  During this webinar, Kevin Honeycutt discussed how we, as teachers, need to educate our students about their digital legacy.  Students should ask themselves, “What do I want to be remembered for?  How do I want to spend my heartbeats?  Who do I want to be?” (Honeycutt, 2011).  Our students must recognize that whatever they decide to post digitally remains.

Kevin also referenced that kids make decisions differently when they are behind a computer screen, as opposed to when they are in a social setting.  Would you say that to my face?  I was speaking to a friend about a month ago about current Facebook postings, and she brought up a good point – Facebook should be thought of as a playground – a place to share, reminisce and have fun – not a place to bait someone for an argument or cut someone else down.  Again, I ask, “Would you say that to my face?”

According to Kevin, we should “never say or send anything you would be embarrassed about if the whole world saw.”  He also brought up the point that, “as adults, we type an e-mail, we think about what we typed, and then we send it.”  However, “kids type an e-mail, they send it, and then they think about it after it’s too late.” (Honeycutt, 2011).

So, it appears we have a job to do.  We must educate our kids on how to take a proactive approach and learn how to stop cyberbullying.  Here are some suggestions made by Larry Magid:

Additional resources:

http://www.mysafesurf.org/

http://www.netsmartz.org/Cyberbullying

References:

Francis, C.  (Nov. 12, 2011).  Anti-Bullying Awareness – Indirect, Cyber Bullying, Alienated – Lesson – School.  [Web video].  Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/user/chrisifrancis

Honeycutt, K.  (Nov. 15, 2011).  Cyber-bullying – What every teacher should know.  [Webinar]. Retrieved from http://community.simplek12.com/scripts/student/webinars/view.asp?id=143

Honeycutt, K.  (n.d.).  It’s time to get on the same page as our kids.  [Web resource].  Retrieved from http://www.mysafesurf.org/index.html

JOID’s Photostream. (March 6, 2008).  Bad-Cyberbully.  [Creative commons photo].  Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/winning-information/2314383724/

Magid, L. (n.d.).  Tips to stop cyberbullying.  [Web article].  Retrieved from http://www.safeteens.com/tips-to-stop-cyberbullying/

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®.  (2012). Cyberbullying.  [Web article].  Retrieved from http://www.netsmartz.org/Cyberbullying

National Crime Prevention Council.  (2012). Cyberbullying:  A public advertising campaign aimed at preventing cyberbullying.  [Web article]. Retrieved from http://www.ncpc.org/cyberbullying

Puresight ® Technologies Ltd.  (2010-2011).  The dangers of cyberbullying.  [Web article].  Retrieved from http://www.puresight.com/Cyberbullying/the-dangers-of-cyber-bullying.html

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“With a little help from my friends”

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So, what is a Personal Learning Network?  Or, as we like to call it, a PLN?  According to Bev Novak, it is

  • “a group of people with whom one connects, communicates and collaborates in the sharing and exchanging of information and ideas, and through whom one increases one’s knowledge and understanding of topics of interest.” (Novak, 2012)

Photo provided by Ed Yourdon on Flickr – Creative Commons

But why develop a personal learning network?  We can talk about the practical aspects to a learning network…like, for instance, you’ll be able to gain knowledge and learn new things about technology.  But have you considered the amazing and potential impact a PLN will have on your life?  Creating a Personal Learning Network will enable you to not only learn from others, but by sharing your own ideas, someone may just learn from you!   You will be able to connect with others, not only with those you already know, but with many who share your same interests in the field of education!  Wow!!  There is no end to the possibilities of a Personal Learning Network.

A PLN gives you the ability to control your own learning process, by allowing you to pick and choose the topics that interest you.  You are able to explore an infinite number of sources and endless possibilities to give you the greatest opportunities to learn.  “In short – a PLN allows you to learn anything, anytime, anywhere with anybody you choose!” (Novak, 2012)

 Tagxedo

A PLN gives you the ability to control your own learning process, by allowing you to pick and choose the topics that interest you.  You are able to explore an infinite number of sources and endless possibilities to give you the greatest opportunities to learn.  “In short – a PLN allows you to learn anything, anytime, anywhere with anybody you choose!” (Novak, 2012)

So, where do you begin?   Start simple..and build from there.  Take a look at this catchy little video (Spencer, 2012):

  1. For those of us taking on-line classes, we have already “taken the plunge.”  By creating our own Blogs, and sharing our own thoughts…by learning about Web 2.0…and bookmarking sites…it’s happening!
  2. Begin making connections with your own peers and co-workers at your own schools, getting them involved in Web Logs.  Post your thoughts and allow a conversation to emerge.
  3. Join other Blogs of people with similar interests as you.  Pick sites where what you read will benefit your educational needs.
  4. Sign up for memberships on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other various social networking and microblogging sites, where you are able to communicate frequently and on a regular basis with others.
  5. Find interesting Podcasts and streaming media to help with your educational endeavors.
  6. Once you begin gaining valuable knowledge, and start feeling comfortable with sharing through various forums, get involved with video chatting or Skype.
  7. Join sites such as Classroom 2.0 to assist in building your own Personal Learning Network.

Think about it.  Who is in your learning network?  Who are you able to glean information from on a regular basis?  Where do you go for your own professional development?  What are you waiting for?

CREATE YOUR OWN PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORK!

References:

Hargadon, Steve.  (2012).  Classroom 2.0.  [Web resource].  Retrieved from http://www.classroom20.com/

Leung, Hardy.  (2006).  Welcome to Tagxedo, word cloud with styles.  [Web resource].  Retrieved from http://www.tagxedo.com/

Novak, B.  (2012).   If you don’t have a PLN, you don’t know what you are missing. [On-line article].  Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/issue_80/articles/if_you_dont_have_a_pln.html

Spencer, J. (June, 2012).  Sketchy Explanation:  Starting a PLN.  [Video file].  Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/user/OurSocialVoice/videos

Yourdon, E. (March, 2009). One of the rare non-Apple laptops. [Picture file].  Retrieved from http://fr.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-3405811164