Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is It OK to be gay at work

Lets start by saying I have a lot of homosexual friends, my best friend actually is gay, and I feel very strongly about this subject. Now that, that is out of the way I can start to talk about this. So I was sitting in SIAST, yesterday with my mom (who is going back to school! I am so proud of her, but i will blog about that later). We were waiting for her appointment to start and I noticed this picture on the cover on a job posting magazine. It was three little like stick people, and then one stick person in a flower covered shirt, and pink tie. They were all male stick people, and the last one was well obviously suppose to be the homosexual one. This caught my attention because, this is a professional magazine and they just stereotyped the gay population into a stick man wearing bright colours and flowers. I have met many gay men, and hang out with a lot of them, and I have never ever seen them wearing bright colours and flowers. So, with that graceful start, I decided to read the article. It began very well actually, discussing the difficulty of being able to say either "No, it is not okay, or Yes, it is okay". One part of this article that I found especially well written was this piece
"At the time of writing this article, a federal US judge deemed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' unconstitutional, ordering an injunction stopping the enforcement of the policy; a policy which the former US soldier pointed out directly conflicts with the Honour Code soldiers are taught at military academy: don’t lie. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ forces you to lie, he said in an interview, and “hiding and lying aren’t army values.” President Obama, also lifted that ban. Made me (for once) pretty interested in what was going on in the United States. I have been sitting here wondering, if homosexuals are allowed to fight for their country, why now are we still deciding if they are aloud to be gay at work. Especially a school setting, what then? I know many homophobic parents and I am sad to say that I am sure if they found out the teacher at school who was teaching their child was gay, they would ask to have that teacher removed from the school. Even in the 21st century this is still happening. I want you to read this article for yourself, and then comment on what you think. Because frankly even as proud of my gay best friend as I am, I don't know if I would want him to put himself at risk by letting his students, and then their families to know he is gay.          

should we vote?

we an election coming up my parents have been constantly asking me if I will vote. This is my first year being eligible to even vote, and frankly I thought it would be a lot more exciting then this. Even when I was younger during election time, I never understood why candidates feel the need to personally attack the opposing team instead of taking all that time and money and actually making an ad about what they are going to do for my city, province and or country. I keep telling my mom I am just going to vote for the Green Party, she doesn't like that idea very much. A friend of mine told me "if you don't vote for liberal or conservative, you're pretty much wasting your vote", why is that? Because from what I have seen so far, the Green Party is one of the only parties who actually tell me what they want to do if they get elected into power. I've decided that if I am infact going to vote, I want to be highly educated on who exactly I am voting for, and what exactly happens then if they win. I read this article in TIME and I know it's for the States, but I thought it was really interesting that one state has picked the winner 25 out of 26 times in the States. If us as newly 18 and 19 year olds vote, will it really infact change anything?,8599,1708570,00.html go to this link, and read this article, decide for yourself if it really is a waste of time voting, or if it is "the year of the youth vote".

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Studying tips ?

Well looking around the university, you can see everyone is starting to realize that next week is our final week of classes. Being a first year university student isn't all it's cracked up to be. I was not prepared for my first semester finals like I thought I would be. Thankfully this semester I only have to write one final. One big English final. I know there are about a billion ways to study, and distress but for me, I find if I leave stuff until the last moment I get it done without any distractions. I found this super cool youtube video about studying that I really wanted to share with everyone; because I am assuming (and forgive me if I am wrong) you probably have more than one final to worry about. I thoroughly enjoyed my second semester more than my first semester due to the nature of the classes., is a series of videos made to teach people how to do things from studying - managing stress - how to remember what you read, they are an excellent bunch of videos and I enjoyed watching them. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

new paths

Choosing a new path, isn’t easy. Sometimes, more or less most times things don’t work out as you planned, and things change. Everything happens for a reason. Deciding to go into education was what I always imagined I would do. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to help kids, and teach them and make them trust me like I trusted my grade seven and eight teacher. Addictions counselling was my second choice, if I didn’t get into education. However, I did get in. But this second semester.. has shown me that I don’t want to be a teacher anymore. At least, not a music teacher. Have you ever turned your passion into a career, did it take something away from it? Because that’s what has happened to me. Now I am going a totally different direction, and things are scary. I’ll move to a new city, new province. New school, different friends. Leaving old ones behind. I’m scared, but I think a new found independence will be good. The best part? I get to start a new, and take what I’ve learned from this first semester at the university and use it there. I understand that education is very different from counselling, but things I’ve learnt will stay with me, and help me along the way. Things may be tough, and they may seem like they aren’t going the way I planned, but everything will work out. 

Everything works out in the end, if it hasn't worked out; it's not the end 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Technology Wordle

There has been so many things I have learnt in this class that I had no idea existed. Before this class I considered myself an above average technology user, I am on the computer everyday, and if you gave me a computer and asked me to do something I could probably figure out pretty easily how to. I'm not so much into the computer science side of computers but more the programs and applications you use on a computer. I have taught my parents how to use the computer and have shown them new and easy ways to do things, which is exaclty what this class does for me. I have really enjoyed this class and I feel as if this class will be the one I take the most away from.

I made this wordle uses the definitions of technology, computers, resource and education which I feel really explain this class as a whole. (Not to mention all the amazing youtube videos I've discovered due to this class).

I think this class needs to be a requirement for all education student now, especially because of the direction that the future is taking us.

six word stories

six word stories :)

This is one of my dearest friends and I, at a girls night I had. I always have fun when I'm with her, and we're always laughing.

this is from my trip to Italy last spring. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I pray everyday that I get to go back

Monday, March 21, 2011

Youtube Covers: Copyright laws?

You know something I don't understand? Why is it when someone posts a cover of a song on youtube it gets taken down due to copyright? They aren't making any money off of the songs, and I mean if it was me, and people all over the world were sitting in their bedrooms and bathrooms doing covers of my songs I'd feel so honored. The weird thing is it's only some videos, so what are those videos that get taken down just to bad that the artist's don't want people hearing their song heard like that? or are they too good, and the artist is jealous. I mean I'm sure all of you heard about the Manitoba girl who did a cover of Lady Gaga's song Born This Way, and Lady Gaga was so honored she asked the girl to preform the song with her. I bet that changed this little girls life, and yet some videos still get taken down?

Maybe I just don't understand enough about youtube, and copyrights..

What do you think?

This is the little girl, I think she does an amazing song. I don't even really care for the new Lady Gaga song, but when this little girl sings it, I like to listen to it. Good for her !

Tech Task 5 - it finally let me upload it!

after weeks of trying, youtube finally let me upload my video :) so here it is!

Pros and cons of content filtering in schools

Content filtering is a way to block content based on an analysis of what it is rather than the source or other criteria. mostly it is used to filter emails, web access and to get rid of spam mail. In schools content filtering is needed. you cant just allow students to go on whatever websites they feel, or be looking a porn? (okay the porn was a little far). But i mean, think about it, when you were in high school what websites were you mostly on? Facebook, newgrounds, and other mind numbing boring websites, to waste time on. How do i know you are guilty of this? because everyone is, me included. Even at my job now I wish our websites weren’t blocked. More and more content filtering is taking place. Whether it do be to keep people on task, or to hide things from young eyes it’s nothing you can stop. However you can be smart about it, are you going to be that teacher that blocks as many sites as possible? Or the teacher who is cool and fun and lets their students have free time where they can go on the computers, and play different games. It’s all about discretion, and age. You’re probably not going to block the same sites in a grade 4 class that you would in a high school. .

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out cons to content filtering, and so far, I've only come up with the fact that your students will be mad at you. but that's something you have to deal with. if you’re smart about it, and take the time to actually look at the sites you are blocking and see if they can really do any harm.

So make the right decision and be smart about it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Technology take over?

Just recently my mother and I had a conversation about the fact that I am always on the computer, or texting and i am never actually on the phone conversing with them. She brought up the fact that eventually we are all going to forget what each other sound like. I then proceeded to try and explain to her about our class where we all participated in the online class. Needless to say I had to physically show her the program and explain very slowly. My mother uses face book, plays solitaire and is actually a decent typist, but she still doesn’t understand why no one uses the phone anyone. So then I asked myself, are we slowly losing our connection to our friends and family because of things like texting, twitter and Facebook. I don't know about you, but the way I find out when my extended families birthdays are is through Facebook, and then instead of calling them to wish them a happy birthday, it's so much easy to type up a quick "Happy Birthday, hope your day goes great!” Does it bother you, when your own family members don’t call you on your birthday and wish you a happy birthday?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Creative Process

As an Arts Education student, learning to become a music teacher for elementary school. I’m working on my own creative process and my own ways to become better at my music. I want to be able to teach kids to be okay with exploring different possibilities and different ideas within their music, and with their music skills. So many of us are taught when we’re younger that there are only one way to do things. That there is only one way to paint, one way to draw, and as teachers they are taught there was only one way to grade. On the finished product, I find that today that is our biggest problem; in my aesthetics education class we are learning to focus on the creative process instead of the finished product. I have found that this has helped me also, as an artist. I focus so much on getting things done, and what they will look and or sound like when I have finished, that I don’t have fun with it anymore. I have lost my imagination. I’ve decided as a new teacher that my philosophy will be to let children explore their imagination within a safe space, which I hope will be my classroom.  That way I will be able to--instead of giving them a grade on if their flower looks like the other students flowers—grade them on the process they took to get to why their flower looks the way it does. What things they used to create this flower, and why they decided to make it look like it does. So what if their flower doesn’t look like a rose, or a lily; did the student have fun making it, and indeed present me a finished product? If yes, then why isn’t that good enough for us as teachers? Why do we find the need to grade our students on making sure what they made looks like we imagined it to look like, if all flowers looked the same, where would the beauty be? I take a ceramics class every Wednesday from 7:00-9:00. Three hours, I took it last semester as well. My problem? Starting too many pieces at once, rushing to get them all done, and not doing my best on them. I would be so excited to take them home, and display them that I wasn’t working to the best of my ability. I wasn’t so much focusing on the time it took to make them look how I imagined them too, as much as if I got them done, I could start something else. Last semester there was a young girl in my class, age 9 or 10. She had the same problem I did, she painted so many pieces that she didn’t do as good as she could of, if she slowed herself down. I recently saw a piece of work from this semester of hers, that she took her time on, it was unbelievable. So I thought to myself, if I slow down, only do a few pieces I could really be good, I mean I’ve been painting since I was 8. Currently I’m working on a vase, with glazes, if you’ve done ceramics you know that with glazes you have to do three coats of every colour. It is a very drawn out process and people often do other pieces while waiting. It’s taking all my patients but I have a feeling the end product will be exactly what I’m thinking it will be. I’ll post a picture, of my end product, just to prove how focusing more on the process then the end product can really come through.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Classroom Projects that need the World

Hall Davidson the keynote speaker in the presentation I watched began teaching math, language arts, and world languages in 1971. He coordinated the oldest American student media festival for 15 years. He joined Discovery, a global communications company, in 2005 to help build the Discovery Educator Network and where he now serves as Director of Global Learning Initiatives. He has keynoted conferences worldwide and lives in California where he served on local school site councils. To listen in on this keynote speaker was something I've never done. People were listening in from their computers all over the world. This presentation was over Eluminate Live, which is a web conferencing program developed by Elluminate Inc. Elluminate "rents" out virtual rooms or vSpaces where virtual schools and businesses can hold classes and meetings. It has a whiteboard that works just like a smart board, and lets the presentator show the people watching their work, ideas or powerpoint prestentation, which is what Davidson did.

This presentation was on Three Classroom projects that need the World. Davidson started the presentation by explaining that when we first introduced to students the fact that you can talk to people from across the globe it was exciting and new, but now they are beginning to take that for granted. He then went on to describe that to “ensure the necessity of global collaboration, it is important to find projects which must cross borders”. He then says that you really need to find projects that need the world to work, that wont work without the help of the rest of the world, to really show to the students how innovative we have gotten.

The first project is in math and science, now I hate math; absolutely detest it. I only went to Math A30 and once I passed that I vowed never to take a math class again. But after watching what Davidson does here, I got more interested in how this would actually work. I mean sure it looks great on the powerpoint, and he puts effort into describing it, but would it actually work with anyone? If you put the time and effort, and were actually interested in making it work, for your students, I think just maybe.

Davidson says "Think Global - Act Local", this is him encouraging people that when doing Global projects, consider going with your local television stations, by setting up local education stations.

Davidson goes on in the hour long presentation about the other projects he's created that include the world. I really enjoyed the idea of having a class take part in this sort of thing. I would have liked to hear more about the language arts project, but he explained it in detail, and gave many resources that teachers could go to, to learn how to make it work in the classroom.

The Discovery Network has set up a website for all of their keynote speakers and presentators, Davidson has posted all of his powerpoints, and handouts to this website for anyone to download.

I found Hall Davidson's presentation at the 2010 Global Education Conference under "Sessions", then "Keynotes" at this link here

you then click on the elluminate recording and it will take you directly to Elluminate Live! where you can watch the entire presentation and listen in on Davidson talking to all who attended.

I plan on watching more of these videos, and maybe one day attend a global conference, I love the idea of being able to listen to speakers from across the world, and hear their views and ideas and sharing them with my classroom.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friends with students on Facebook: acceptable or not?

Ethics (also known as moral philosophy) is a branch of philosophy which seeks to address questions about morality; that is, about concepts such as good and bad, right and wrong, justice, and virtue.

So are teachers adding their students to Facebook breaking the code of ethics for the teacher/student relationship? Is it going too far? Is it just giving teachers and students a way to communicate without supervision? Or is it more about the access to personal information and photos?

I've asked a lot of people their opinion on this topic, students, parents and teachers across the globe. I started a Google doc, and tweeted asking my followers to comment and give their opinion on it, and asked my Facebook friends to do the same. I asked many of my friends their opinions and got answers like:

"as long as the level of maturity is kept appropriate I don't see a problem with it"

"I think if a teacher were to add a student without the student asking the teacher, it might impose certain uncomfortable feelings on the student, since the teacher has a position of authority over the student. So, the student may feel obligated to accept the Facebook friendship and things may become awkward from there on. Generally, I would say yes it is acceptable.”

When I think of the student/teacher friends on Facebook I always think it is a way of giving them a way to speak without supervision, but emailing does that as well. But I think that may also be the fact that I watch way to many TLC specials on online stalkers and such. Like other social networking sites being friends on Facebook give teachers a way to talk to their students about problems they are having in the classroom who are afraid to speak up. But does that make it okay to add your students on Facebook? Many different people have different opinions on this topic. A lot of teachers I have spoken to, that I do have on Facebook say it's okay once they are no longer your student and have graduated.

I've been hearing lately about teachers who have two accounts. A professional account where they put the basic information, a profile picture and let who ever add them to Facebook, this gives them a way to talk to their students about what is going on in the classroom, and find out more about their insight, which they may not feel comfortable sharing face to face, or aloud in front of the classroom. Then they have their normal account, where they upload pictures and have their personal friends and family and have it blocked so that their students cannot see it. I personally like this idea, it gives students a way to have more trust I find in their teacher, and I was that the teacher can incorporate technology into a classroom instead of just lecturing and listening.

Like anything there are variables to this very touchy subject. Its really up to the teacher whether or not they choose to have two accounts, add students to Facebook, or wait until they are graduated and have moved on. When I become a teacher, I think I'll go with the two accounts, then I wont have to constantly worry about what I'm posting, and what my students will see. But that also goes to say, what type of things are you doing that you don't want your students seeing, and do you really want the rest of the world to see too?

I read this excellent article about this subject, and got a lot of information from it; I think it's definitely worth checking out!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tech Task One

Hello! I'm Natasha, and I'm a first year student at the University of Regina. I am currently enrolled in the Arts Education program, and I am majoring in Music and have not decided my minor quite yet. I attended Robert Usher high school, which is until the School Board shut it down before I got to go into my grade 11 year; I finished off my last two years at Winston Knoll and realized that size does matter. I still live at home with both my parents and one of my older brothers. I have two older brothers and one new sister-in-law, her and my brother have been married just over a year now. I am working part time at the North Supercenter Walmart, as a men’s fashion employee, I have had many different jobs but all of which have been in the retail industry. I have many hobbies that include: singing, reading, writing, scrapbooking and mainly social networking. I have a facebook account which I check more than I should, I also have a twitter account where I started out just following celebrities but now have become a daily tweeter. I have found technology to become a thing of my everyday life, and you will never catch me without my Blackberry or laptop. I have always used technology to help further my learning with school or even just social experiences. I do believe that computing should be encouraged in the classroom from K - 12 but I'd like teachers to also stress the fact that students do still need to know how to use a dictionary, or be able to do math without a calculator. I know that when I was in high school and the school board blocked facebook, I was pretty upset, but I realized I paid more attention in class, and participated more because I wasn't hid behind my computer screen. I was extremely excited for this class because I am a very technology based learner; I pick up on things quickly and am often showing my parents or friends how to use things on their computers or cellphones. In this class I expect to learn more innovative ways to include technology in an arts education room, and what things I should post on the internet now that I am on the path the becoming a teacher. I hope to learn more in-depth things about computers other than just social networking, I also hope to learn more about the ways I can get my students more involved in the classroom by showing them things to do on a computer other than just trying to get out of my classroom by getting distracted by Facebook and other such ways to contact things outside what I am teaching them. To conclude I basically have high expectations for this class in a sense that it will be my favourite class, one of which I learn the most useful knowledge in this semester. Don’t get me wrong I love English and my Arts education class, but I have always been interested in new and innovative tools on the computer and am very excited to get started using them and teaching them to others !