Sunday, April 7, 2013
For my third C4T, I was assigned to read two posts by Hadley Ferguson. The first blog post I read was Staying Connected. In this post, Hadley talks about how, over the past year, she spent a lot less time staying connected with those in her PLN than she usually does, and she comments that, because of it, she didn't grow or learn as much as she does when she is connected. She explains that staying connected by reading other people's blogs and following people on Twitter allows her to learn new things and keep up with new trends. She can compare her methods with those of others, and she feels she is a much better teacher when she stays connected. However, she iterates that by staying connected, you stay busy. It takes time and energy to stay connected with your PLN, but it's worth it because of all the things you learn and all the people you meet.
In my comment, I agreed that it's very time consuming to build your PLN and stay connected, which is something I'm learning about here in EDM310. But I've learned a lot from reading the blogs of teachers and other students. Everything I've learned can be applied to my future career as a teacher, so it's worth being busy and continuing to build onto my PLN.
The second post I read was Because a Laptop is Distracting. In this post, Hadley talks about some strategies to help students learn to deal with the distraction of the internet while working with computers. First, she says that it's important to accept that your students will struggle with getting distracted. It's all part of working with computers and the internet, but you need to talk to them about it and help them deal with it. Second, she advises that you provide your students with a time to "check in" with their social networking sites to help relieve the temptation. For instance, you can provide your students with 5 minutes before or after class to check their Facebooks and Twitters. Third, she tells us about a technique called "45 your laptops". When she tells her students to "45 your laptops", they tilt the screens down to about 45 degrees so the screen is less visible, and therefore, less distracting. It also helps get rid of that physical barrier that seems to exist between the student and the teacher. Fourth, she suggests you encourage students to take notes by hand instead of using the computer, at least initially. Taking notes by hand takes longer than typing them, and it helps them learn while they write. Then, you can assign your students to type up the notes as homework to help them learn and understand the notes even better. Lastly, she advises you to teach your students to try a few things to help them decrease the temptation, such as closing out all windows that don't pertain to schoolwork, turning the laptops upside down when not working with them, and using apps like iProcrastinate to help them keep track of the work they need to do.
In my comment, I expressed that I really struggled with getting distracted when trying to work on assignments, so that's something I need to learn to deal with before I can teach my students! I said that I thought the "45 the laptop" idea was a good idea since a lot of the distraction comes from being able to clearly see the screen. I also explained one strategy I've used before, which consisted of using a time manager app for my computer that blocked certain websites for a specified amount of time. I used this strategy to study for finals last semester, and I'll likely be using it again!