Rules For Posting To This Blog and Weekly Blog Question

1. Only use your first name (no last names, addresses, IM screen names, etc.)
2. Show respect and consideration of others when posting and commenting. This includes individuals, students, organizations, political parties, colleagues, etc.
3. Check all posts for spelling and grammar errors before posting.
4. Protect the privacy of others. Gain permission from other people before you write about them. Avoid sharing someone else's last name. Use job titles or pseudonyms when writing about experiences with your co-workers or students.
5. Watch your language. Use politically correct and non-offensive language.
6. Make sure you write about things that are factual.
7. Keep your postings education-oriented. Avoid discussing plans for the weekend, etc.

This week I would like you to use your imagination. You have just won the lottery and will leave your teaching post immediately to travel around the world. As you leave your keys you meet your replacement. You are asked to give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice. What would that be, and why? Enjoy your world expedition!

Blog Post - Week 7
This past week in my own teaching I felt a little disconnected which prompts my question to you, "What was the moment (or moments) when I felt most disconnected or disengaged as a teacher - the moment(s) I said to myself, I'm just going through the motions here?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 6
For the past couple of weeks you have experienced asynchronous online learning (doing modules by yourself). Previously this semester you have experienced synchronous online learning (all together in the Collaborate room). Which do you think is more effective and why do you think that? Which do you like better, and why?

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 5
This week we have what we call "open mic." You can write a post about anything related to your teaching that you would like responses from your classmates.

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 4
Here is this week's question: "What was the event that most took me surprise this week - and event that shook me up, caught me off guard, gave me a jolt, or made me unexpectedly happy?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 3
Please write a post about the following question, "In thinking about my past week teaching what is one thing I would do differently, and why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 2
Please write a post about the following question, " In thinking about my teaching activities this past week, of what do I feel most proud? Why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 1
Describe something you used in your program in the first weeks of school that you learned in the summer NTI program. How did it work? Did it get you off to a stronger start than last year?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Most valuable lesson

Looking back over the course of this semester I would say we definitely had our challenges, however, I would say the good far out weighed the bad. It was a challenge for me personally to stay focused when I wasn't physically sitting in the classroom, but I did take away some valuable information. The lesson that stands out most was one of the first. I really enjoyed the lesson on grouping. I never thought about all that goes into placing students in a group that will enable everyone in the group an opportunity for success. Besides separating students based on personalities, I am glad to have gained the knowledge that is supported by years of study. In addition to gaining information, it also helps me with the differentiation piece of my lesson plan. The lesson on grouping enabled me a clear understanding of how grouping works and also helped me explain my grouping strategies to administration.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Between the media and the web, we are truly are bombared with tons of information. The information is not always equal but that's why it's vital that we as teacher sort out what's essential to better equip our students. Information literacy is the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand. Before my students work on a project, they have to use information literacy in order to grasp certain concepts. I plan on incorporating the use of technology for students to do research, recall and retain vocabulary words, and design certain components of their project. This will also help students to better their writing skills.

Is there a simple answer?

With all of the information available for everyone to look at on the internet. Internet safety should be a concern for everyone involved in a school system. Many students who explore the internet really don't take into an account that whatever site they are conducting research for must be a credible website. Credible websites are .gov,.edu,.mil, or journals from databases are usually good websites that are creditable. Nowadays I don't believe that students really believe that sites like wikipedia are not credible sources even though they have a lot of information. In a sense, it really pains me that students really don't care if a website is credible or not which tells me that a lot of students really don't care about their education. My question is, What should we do about that as teachers? What can we do to make students care about their education instead of them not caring and complete an assignment just because they have to? Is there a simple answer to this? Unfortunately no, so obviously there is not quick fix. When the students come back from summer break, I believe that we as educators have to drill into these students head that internet safety and research does matter and that you have to take it seriously. if we don't take it seriously then they won't, so it's up to us to keep pushing them to have very high standards when it comes to research.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Information Overload in Process

Information literacy is a being able to find information, being able to know where to look for such information, and understanding the information that's at our fingertips. I like the term "lifelong learner". Someone who is information literate is constantly learning, accepts the fact that we don't know everything but understands how to retrieve the unknown. I believe it is a skill. As teachers, we must stress the importance of sorting through all of the information that is before us and using it to benefit us. Students often have the "IDK Syndrome" (I Don't Know) and the sad part is most times they don't want to know or they want you to tell them or do it for them. We've got to teach them to want to know and believe that the knowledge needed to survive in life and to be successful is obtainable. We've got to push them, encourage them, and test them. I see it too often that students have a cell phone in front of them and a computer in their lap but still will ask me how to spell something. Lazy, just plain lazy. We cannot accept that or enable them. Encourage them to google it or use microsoft word to spell check. As the teacher, I try to answer every question they ask me. I may not know the answer immediately and I have no problem telling them I don't know. I tell them exactly how I found the answer, whether I googled it, used other resources, or asked someone else for help. I want them to see that everyone has to seek answers to questions at some point. Let's help this generation use and understand the information that is so readily available to them.

How I decide which information to take in and which to discard?

Technology has been a struggle for me to adapt to. I have no problem understanding the concepts and function of hardware and software of varying types, it's the wealth of supposed information that I struggle with. I love the concept of being able to report to the masses from your home and to keep contact with people close to your heart that are far from home. It's the concept of social distancing and a physical and emotional disconnect that can be created by technology I have trouble grasping. The fact that I am not looking at someone face to face as they are relaying information to me takes away my ability to trust the source. I have always been a sceptic, whether it be hear say, media, or most any other informational resources(especially history), I have always had the thought "Is this fact?". After all, history is written by the victor. Since the scale tipped, weighing heavier on the side of informational tranferance through the internet my scepticism has just amplified. I am not saying that I do not trust what is passed to me through these various information sources, I just try not to convey the information without some logical evidence, scientific backing, personal trial, or substantial research of my own. I was taught as a young person to question everything, to love everyone and trust no-one, and above all go with your heart. That being said I believe that we all should look farther into the "truth" of the information we recieve before taking the first word as truth.

Sites for Sore Eyes

“It is time for us all to stand and cheer the doer, the achiever-the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it.” When I see a shift in power over something, and for the better, I often think of this famous quote by Vince Lombardi. Additionally, when I look at the information super highway that is known as the World Wide Web, I cannot help but think of the television show Hoarders. We often find ourselves staring at our computer screens like it is a collection of unreliable items piled high in a hoarders living space. Yes, we struggle with the social and academic evils of the internet. We struggle with internet indecency. We struggle with plagiarism. We struggle with the academic assets of articles found on certain websites. Let’s face it; we struggle with and have to manage pop-ups, perhaps the most routine inconvenience of our web-venture. Today, I cheer for the doer, the achiever. Today, I applaud my NTI colleagues and the wealth of website information that was stacked up expertly like so many crisp 100 dollar bills. The fact remains; the web is a great learning and instruction tool. I spent a better part of the class tonight scribbling website addresses in my notepad. I underscored many, often putting notes in the margins of my paper with comments like “must use,” “cool,” “set inductions!” As educators, we recognize the challenges, and we are doing something about it by creating awareness about information literacy. Stand and cheer. The web has sites for your sore eyes!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Information Literacy

Discussion Topic for Two Weeks: We are bombarded daily with information from the media and the World Wide Web. Is all information equal? How do you decide which information to take in and which to discard? What is information literacy? How will you teach your students about information literacy? Use the following link to help guide your posts and comments: All the information from the media and the World Wide Web is not equal. With that being said, it is very difficult to determine which information to take in and which to discard. For example, is more reputable than a personal blog. Another example is that The Huffington Post is more reputable than a school newspaper. I personally determine what information to take in and which to discard by my past experiences with the news outlet. For instance, if that particular news outlet had to recall a lot of information or they had to constantly change what they reported then I will use that news outlet less often. If I felt as though a certain news outlet was biased in the information they were reporting or I felt as though I was being swayed in a certain direction I would read or view that outlet less often. Information Literacy (IL) is a set of proficiencies needed to obtain, use and understand information. We are currently in the information age and it is important to use IL to become a lifelong learner. Being a teacher, it is important to teach my students about IL because they have to understand that they will not learn all the information they need in 4 or even 8 years of schooling. They have to be able to develop skills needed to utilize IL. I introduce activities where there is more than one right answer. I also use activities where the students have to use the internet and a textbook. I assign activities where there are several steps in order to find the most correct answer. information.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

“You can’t believe everything you read on the internet" – Abraham Lincoln

Much like a few people have already mentioned, I also make sure to speak with my students about using internet research with caution. I like to use the following quote with them: “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet – Abraham Lincoln”. It is a funny quote that makes the students take a minute to think about the validity of what they read online. I like to point out the fact that ANYONE can edit information on sites like Wikipedia, and even I have made corrections on the website in the past. The other practice I have adopted in my classroom in regards to research is “textbook first, laptop second”. I make the students spend at least 20 minutes looking up information on their assigned topic (career path, microphone types, lighting equipment) before they can check out a laptop to look online. This guarantees they are actually starting with factual information, and they are focused on the assignment versus getting distracted online. This technique also gives them a jumping off point for research. If they see something on a website that is drastically different from what they just found in the book, they will know to choose another website.

information literacy

I receive emails, countless text, and blah blah blah all day long. So much information coming in, sometimes it is hard to decide what is important and what is not. With the new common core standards there is an emphasis on literacy in all content areas. There are several strategies that you can teach students to analyze text such as close reading to find textual evidence needed to comprehend on a deeper level. Understanding text structures like point of view is critical in understanding the information being presented. This enables the reader to decipher between propaganda type information and information needed to understand the concept. With all the continued debate surrounding common core, I feel this is an important shift. It is crucial to CTAE with all of the manuals and technical documents students must read.

Friday, November 15, 2013

If it's on the internet, it has to be true...right???

Too many students take google and bing as 100% accurate. You tell them to research topic; they open the search box, put in a topic, and hey, if it's on the internet, it has to be true. What they lack is internet safety training. When I worked in the media center at Yeager Middle school our media specialist did a internet safety course each year. The first time I sat through it I was the one that got educated. Not only did I have no idea that companies pay for their name to pop up first on the list, I didn't realize there were sites out there that anybody could go in and add information. Since that point, whenever I use technology in the classroom, I remind students of what a reliable source is. I would also ask them if they chose a site to use, check it's credibility.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Information Overload

How many times have you put the topic that you want to learn more about into the search engine, only to realize that there are 7,000 pages online that relate to your desired topic? How do you choose the right one? Do you just stay on the first page? Is the page that you picked an ad or a legitimate article? Maybe I am the only one who wonders these things. There is so much information online these days. So many websites competing for our attention. I like to think of myself as somewhat educated, and I still wonder what information can really be trusted online. I definitely don't think that all information is created equal, which is part of the problem. When students aren't familiar with information literacy, and they trust any random website as a reliable source, the result can be detrimental. I think that this is especially true in healthcare. People, in general, go the internet and self- diagnose based on information they found online. They may opt to avoid actually seeking professional help because they believe any and everything they read online. Not only is this unhealthy for their physical health, but also for their mental health, due to the unnecessary stress they may cause themselves.

I had heard the term "information literacy" prior to reading this article, but I don't know that I had ever been enlightened on its meaning. Reading this article and internalizing what information literacy is, really magnifies the fact that information literacy has implications that are just as serious as illiteracy. I have often joked that "reading is fundamental", but in actuality, nothing could be more true. If people don't know when they "need information and where to locate it effectively and efficiently", then they are not able "to analyze and evaluate" the information that is found, thus resulting in a lack of "confidence in using that information to make a decision or create a product". When people are illiterate (not having the ability to read and write), they often face very similar challenges on a daily basis,because they many not know how to locate and effectively use information.

Another point that I thought about after this article is that the "digital divide" still exists and the problem is only compounded when you factor in "information literacy". Can students that don't have the same access to internet on a regular basis be as adept at information literacy as those students that do have regular access? As teachers of young students that deal with information overload on a daily basis, we bear some responsibility in helping them learn to become information literate. It does a diservice to our students to allow them to pass from grade to grade when they do not have the ability to read and comprehend information in their textbooks. Is it not of equal consquence if we allow them to be "information illiterate" as well?

Seeing through the "Smog"

I really liked the term “data smog.” This term, coined by author David Shenk, refers to the idea that too much information can create a barrier in our lives (para 4). I think this is definitely the case for today’s teachers and students. As the instructor, you could spend hours going through material online that is pertinent to your subject. Then, you have to decide what is valid and what is not. When I look for materials, I like to use sites that are rated and reviewed for accuracy and validity. For example, I use Lesson Planet a lot, but each plan has been reviewed for accuracy by teachers and receives a one to five star rating.

According to the site referenced, Information Literacy is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information. This is a critical skill needed by all students in today’s classrooms. There are not many assignments that do not require students to be able to utilize this 21st century skill. Just as we have to teach students how to research and study; we also have to teach them to be information literate. This is especially important for high school students. I plan to go over my expectations and walk my students through a lesson on how to properly find, retrieve, analyze and use information in the context of Public Safety. This skill is too important not to emphasize it with my students. 

Triple check.

Not all information is created equally. There is a lot of false information out there in the World Wide Web that can hurt you or make you look stupid. I tell my students to triple check the information they are looking for and see if three different websites have the same information. If that is the case then it’s probably true. There are some cases that I have found that where websites have copied other websites, word for word, and guess what, if the information was false then those will be false. So what can we do about that? When looking for information and the website is a ‘.org’ or ‘.gov’, then these are more trustworthy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The "skinny" on Information Literacy

     While we are bombarded with information from the media and the world-wide web daily, not all information is created equally. I find it quite disturbing that almost anyone can post a link with random, potentially harmful information that is accessible to anyone who clicks on that link. When I am researching a topic I look for several of the things we discussed in class last week such as looking for sites that end in ".com, .org, .edu, etc. I also look for the words "official site". Another thing I do is to compare information obtained from several different sites for  consistency.
     According to the article provided for our blog, "literacy information is the set of skills need to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information." This definition made a lot of since to me because in my two years of teaching high school students I have observed that the vast majority of students can actually use technology by answering assigned questions but at the end of the assignment they do not necessarily know what they have retrieved, how to analyze it, or how to use the information they obtained; and you can forget about those students being able to explain what they researched! I usually tell my classes things like "you need to know the "who, what, when, where, and why about the assigned topic". However, based on what I have learned in class, I can now assist students in the research process as they retrieve, analyze and use information obtained. This will prepare them to learn to become lifelong, independent learners as some of our Georgia Performance Standards require.
     I will teach my students about information literacy by first using the article provided to us at NTI on IL as well as the links embedded in the article. I found this article to be very informative and easy to read (follow). I could actually teach key concepts from this article to my students along  with referring/ taking them to the links in the article.Since students will require more than a college education to be successful in their field of study, I will continue to give opportunities for them to use technology in the classroom. I will instruct students on the research process and how to locate reputable sources on the web. Using guided practice and feedback, I will help ensure students have opportunities to express creativity without becoming overwhelmed and experiencing "data smog". I already allow students to use technology in my classes frequently, now I will be able to bring much more clarity to the reseach process while providing the guidance needed to for students to feel confident and successful during the task(s) at hand.

Not all information is considered equal

No matter how you look at this blog post, you can be guaranteed that it is one that has a myriad of opinions on what is and what is not. The idea that anyone could ever make a statement that in the sea of information that flows through the collective veins of the internet is at all inclusive or exclusive, or even evidence of truth is an injustice in and of itself. At the end of the day we cannot trust anything from the internet, even in its purest form.

Depending on how you argue this sentiment, whether through blog, wiki, youtube channel, or mainstream media, one truth remains, nothing is ever as it seems. And in this day and age it almost seems as if we live in some fantasy world where you can make a choice between a red pill and blue pill and “enter the matrix” if you will…

With all of this being said my main thoughts on all of this are stick to the tried and true methods of story verification. First and foremost, if you read it online the first rule is BE Suspicious, the second one is, if you read it in black and white print in a magazine and it supports what you have already read online, there MAY be a great deal of merit to it!

Finally, I have always been a true believer in certain aspects in MAINSTREAM media. If you want to use sub domains and subpar websites to gain your information, use your head and compare with mainstream media outlets no matter what political views you have (MSNBC TO FOX NEWS) and understand that if there are some parts echoed on either or both sides of the fence, then there more than likely is some merit to what you have discovered.

Of course, in the end, if you want to be safe, talk about tried and true events, proven through the annals of time to get your teaching point across and avoid that monster altogether if you have to.

Mr. H.


All information is not equal. We live in a day and age where our information radar is in perpetual motion. We receive information. We process information. We prioritize information. We get more information. The media and World Wide Web have created a communication marathon for which society is racing to keep pace. Some information propels us; some even heals us. Conversely, other information might serve as that annoying scab from which we cannot keep our hands away. We have want buckets and need buckets. We learn to keep both full. These perceptions are learned. We are overwhelmed by the data smog created by all these working information machines. Broadcast Media and the internet have now morphed into one hand-held device. Today’s high school student was born into this smog. Their lives revolve around technology and their instant gratification for information, however useless it may be at times. The fact remains; the information is in the palm of these students' hands. I believe as educators, we need to meet the students where they are. That is, we must find ways to incorporate technology into our lesson plans. We must create a learning environment that promotes information literacy. We have gateways to information that lead us to information highways. It is imperative that curriculums be structured to keep our perceptions of information in tune with the speed to which we are receiving it.

Don't Believe Everything You Read!

With there being so much information available via social networks and the internet, I can see how it can become difficult for people to decide between credible and non-credible sources. Just because there are so many sources of information available, we have to remember that all all websites are definitely not trust worthy. This is something that I always teach my students and I gave them a good example of why they should always check their sources. Teenagers are always quick to believe a lot of what they hear, whether if it's a rumor about another student, a teacher, or pretty much anything. The one thing that I instructed them to do is stop and think about who is the source that you are getting the information from, and who else have you asked for verification of accuracy? Nine times out of 10, if you hear three different versions of a story then obviously all of the pieces of the story haven't been put together. Again, it's the same concept with the internet. When a big story happens, the first few hours are basically a lot of different facts that are placed in an article. It's not until a few hours later, the pieces of the puzzle are put together and the story is accurate. One of the biggest things I mention to my students is to be careful of certain websites. Typically for news I read the USA Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution an the New York Times. These are credible news sources because these businesses have been around for a long time and the best of the best news reporters and anchors report their stories there. Websites that end in .edu, .gov. or journals from a databases are traditionally accurate. In terms of entertainment magazines, you never really know what is true or not just because the entertainment business is so unpredictable because of celebrities and their lives. When you are dealing with celebrities you have to be very careful with what you read because's based on the world of entertainment which is always a unpredictable subject. Data Smog is an interesting term from the article because it sums up the world we live in. "It refers to the idea that too much information can create a barrier in our lives. This data smog is produced by the amount of information, the speed at which it comes to us from all directions, the need to make fast decisions, and the feeling of anxiety that we are making decisions without having ALL the information that is available or that we need." We all have had data smog in our lives and it's very important that we don't get caught up in it because it can crowd our minds with information which is not true. That's why it's always important to check your sources!!!

Pacing Information Literacy for Today's Students

While reading David Shenk’s article on “Data Smog”, it occurred to me there was one aspect of information literacy he didn’t address; pace. It is accurate to describe the access to data students have today as unprecedented. Most school age children have a treasure trove of information at their fingertips within seconds no matter where they physically are. The explosion of internet access through smart phones literally allows a student to research any topic from anywhere at any time. The internet has become their library and it is always open. One problem with this is there is no librarian to guide them or teacher to direct them or parent to caution them.

Students have the ability to get the data they need within seconds now where just a decade ago the time frame was substantially longer. With this rapid information reaping capability, students rarely bother to double check sources or think through the answers they have acquired. They are satisfied with simply getting the answer quickly and moving on to the next task without ever slowing down to analyze their solution.

Internet based social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are also contributing to this rapid, no thought process, reactionary driven pace of information, becoming the norm. School aged kids today can get an answer to a personal question or the details of any social situation within seconds. Social drama now plays out at the speed of light over wireless connections and conversations that were oral just a few years ago are now done via text in 140 characters or less. Basically, this means a person can speak their mind over a social media app using their thumbs instead of their voice. Have you ever spoken to someone without thinking first? Just reacted and let your first thought fly out of your mouth. We all have. Today, kids put their foot in their mouths without ever having to open them.

If students are taught to pace their acquisition of data and slow their use of it then their level of information literacy will go up. Instead of only relying on Wikipedia for research, perhaps they will find a second and third source to back up or disprove the “facts”. And instead of immediately Tweeting or texting, they will think through their comment and pause before hitting send. Maybe they won’t send it at all.


Information can be a tricky thing to source. I personally have always been some what of a skeptic, but I would normally call myself a "realist". I take any and all information with "a grain of salt" as some would say, meaning whether I was told something or read something or heard something, I will not take it literally until it has been confirmed through another few sources. I instruct my students similarly. I inform them that things found on the internet, told by a friend, or even heard on the news, are not always entirely true. You should always cross reference any information prior to regurgitating it. It applies in reports, essays, and even social networking. I explain that they would not want several of their friend posting untruthful thing about them on Facebook just because their boyfriend or girlfriend had said it. You should always confirm your information. On the internet, if it is sourced from a university web site, a government website, or organizational website, you are typically safe to assume that the source is reliable. That does not mean not to double check it. If you check at least three site and find the same information all three times, generally you can rest assured your information is factual as long as one of the three fall into one of the earlier spoken of categories.