In junior college I took "Statistics," a math class that seemed to change all the rules of math that I had learned to hate in K-12th grade. The only problem was, the new rules in Statistics seemed even more complicated to a person already overwhelmed by mathematical concepts. When browsing the options for statistical analysis online, I felt just as lost. The biggest thing I learned is that there are many free and semi-free programs out there to help users analyze whatever data they have collected. So whether you seek help deciphering data using a binomial, normal, t, chi square, or F distribution, there are programs out there to help you!
Job searching has changed tremendously since the internet became an everyday way of life, and especially in the last ten years. Although employers and job seekers do still use the newspaper to post available jobs, online tools are much more prevalent. Employers post jobs on Craigslist, state websites, and private websites like Monster and CareerBuilder. Some also seek out employees using applicants' online resumes on some of these sites. In addition, some employers only initial applications online, not in person. For these reasons, it is important to have a good online resume as well as the traditional paper resume one would use with a direct application for a job.
Pros of online visual resumes:
1. Applicants can make a good first impression through their individual creativity and style.
2. Applicants can share more information than the traditional paper resume.
3. An applicant's resume is accessible to more potential employers.
4. Most are easy to read/interpret.
Cons of online visual resumes:
1. Applicants can fake their true skill set.
2. Some tools can be expensive.
3. Most can't be downloaded to online portals.
4. They can be difficult to modify later.
5. Most employers will also require a traditional paper resume.
6. Some employers may not look favorably upon the technology.
One of the most important things I have done in my career is to stay actively involved in the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. Every year I attend the annual state conference. It offers many workshops and sessions that focus on new and exciting lessons, cross-curricular information, assessment ideas, and many more categories. In addition to the content ideas I have taken away from these workshops, I always feel inspired and rejuvenated when I go back to my school to teach my students. These conferences remind me why I became a physical educator. They feature colleagues that exemplify the profession and make me proud of the path I chose.
Of course professional conferences are also great places to network within your profession. At the CAHPERD conference I reconnect with colleagues, friends, and professors I already know. I also meet new contacts. Of course, these connections are great if you are looking for a job, but they can also be beneficial when looking for lesson ideas, inspiration, and advice. I am so thankful for the organization and I plan to attend for many years!
My only familiarity with wiki's before this course was Wikipedia. I have used Wikipedia frequently to look up information on many topics. Wikipedia has information on almost any topic you could possibly think of. I know it is not considered a completely valid and reliable source on its own, but it can be very useful when you are searching for a quick bit of information. Unfortunately, I know many teenager (and sadly some adults) who think Wikipedia is a completely reliable and noteworthy source. In the day in age when people believe anything they see on the internet, platforms like Wikipedia can be potentially dangerous. It is important that we teach the use of multiple sources for reliable and accurate information.
Although I have never used a wiki as an educational tool, they are something that look like they would be worth exploring for group learning and collaborating. I hope to get the opportunity to do so.
I recently listened to an NPR radio story about the 10 year anniversary of Facebook. It spoke about the history, rapid growth, and user statistics of the site, of course, but the one thing that really stuck in my mind was the interview with a young man the reporter and producers had woven throughout the broadcast. This young man, Georgetown University student Noah Buyon, spoke about how, even though he was only nine years-old when Facebook first came out, once he joined he became a frequent user. He said, "I'm at the point in my use of it that it's instinctual ... it's just so ingrained in my daily routine. It's just one of the most potent distractions you can have." He said he's "saddled with it." But, just like most of its users, Buyon relies on Facebook to connect with friends and family members he couldn't otherwise see or speak with regularly. Even though statistics show that Facebook usage is declining in teens, it is still a site used by such a wide age range at overwhelming rates. Many users, like Buyon, feel it is too socially rewarding to give up. "I couldn't imagine a situation where I'd want to give up that kind of access to all these people across the world that I care about," he says. http://www.capradio.org/news/npr/story?storyid=271101514
In contrast, LinkedIn is primarily used for the purpose of professional, not personal, connections. Though I have only been a member of the site for a brief time, as I have explored I have found LinkedIn to be driven by business and employment. It does ask a few personal questions, such as a user's interests, birthdate, and marital status (some advise to omit these personal items from your professional profile), but other than that it focuses on job experience, education, and expertise. Many of the items that make Facebook so popular, like photo sharing, timeline posting, and instant messaging, do not exist on LinkedIn.
While I could not imagine deactivating my Facebook account for the purpose of personal connections, there is a certain draw to the "separation of church and state" type atmosphere of LinkedIn that I believe can be very useful in the professional world.
My husband and I used to always joke that we were going to make a million dollars by designing a new app for smart phones. No really; we used to run into some problem and say, we should invent an app that does that for you. The biggest problem with our plan, other than the fact that neither of us have the technological or business knowledge to actually create and market an app, was that we would look up to see if there was already an app for the annoying task we were referring to, but there never was just one; there was usually 20!
In the field of education there are many useful tools for both students and parents. Most districts have shifted from the traditional "computer lab" to mobile class sets of notebooks and tablets. With this change, many schools are also integrating the use of apps into core curriculum. Apps like iBook, Screenchomp, and Comic Book can be used to supplement curriculum and keep up with the demanding need for grabbing tech savvy students' attention.
My district bought me an iPad last year. I have used a few apps I found myself and also downloaded a few suggested by my leadership students for class projects. I use Remind 101 frequently to send one-way text messages to students and parents. I have also used a lot of video features, including Coach My Video, Game Your Video and YouTube, for demonstration of skills and assistance in evaluation and assessment. Last month our district purchased 300 tablets for student use but has not distributed them yet so I have not had a lot of opportunity to put technology, other than my own iPad, into the hands of students yet. For personal use, I have downloaded a ton of educational apps for my two year-old son. Our favorites are Baby Sign, Baby Sing and Sign, First Sounds, Agnitus, Kizzu's series of 100's, and lots of ebooks.
After viewing the "Top 100 Tools for Learning in 2013"
(http://c4lpt.co.uk/top100tools/), a list compiled by Jane Hart for the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies, I was surprised that I actually use 22/100 of the tools on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Some of the more well-known tools like Google search, Facebook, Pinterest, and Skype, are for my personal use. There are also several I use at work that I probably wouldn't use with such frequency if I was not a teacher. YouTube, Power point, and certain iPad apps are regular guests in my curriculum. I also use the Blackboard system for relaying messages to parents and students. I would like to explore more of these for both personal and professional use. I viewed a program called Prezi on a classmate's site that looks like it would be valuable so I will play around with that. I also plan to look into "Poll Everywhere" to create polls with the purpose of receiving feedback from students and parents. Overall, I think this list is valuable and I will look further into some of these resources.
In my middle school leadership class we discussed the positive and negative effects of social media. Below are two of the videos I showed them. The videos discuss many topics my students had never even thought about, much less worried about, regarding online tools and social media.