Focus Question: How can teachers use email or text messaging to foster information exchanges with and among students?
I will admit that this question has me thinking. I have problems with this issue. I have three children all 7 years apart ranging from 19 to 5. Of course my 19 year old daughter has a phone and texts ALL the time. I’ve had issues with it for a while though. My issues stem from her not being able to carry on a normal conversation with someone or being “too shy” to order her own food at a restaurant but has NO problem texting all kinds of things including things she shouldn’t. I tried to explain to her that if she wouldn’t say it to someone directly to their face, she shouldn’t text it either. My 12 year old son went to his first middle school dance and was disappointed because they all sat around on their iPhone and iPod and no one DANCED or TALKED. So, my point is that I feel a lot of teens today are not socially prepared for the real word because it is ALL digital. Hey can’t seem to have a normal verbal conversation with each other, much less adults. I think it is a great idea to use technology, I do. Our society is evolving into a strong technology based one. However, I also think there is a limit and a line that people cross every day. I refuse to let my 5 year old have an iPod or my 12 year old to have a phone. I have strict rules of when they can have these things and how much they will be used. My daughter still tried to text me with real problems and requests. RIDICULOUS. I refuse to answer them and tell her to call if it is important to TALK. I know the world is different now, but I think it has gone a bit too far in some cases. I think that email and text could be used in high school/college levels, but any lower than that should be the old fashioned face-to-face “we need to talk about your grades”.
With that being said, I do believe that email and text is a great way to communicate with parents! Their lives are very busy too, a lot work one or more jobs and have multiple kids. Until recently I was working, had kids and was taking three classes so I got emails from my kids teachers. This was an effective way to contact me. I couldn’t talk on the phone during the day due to work and I definitely did not have the time for a face-to-face meeting unless there was an emergency. My kid’s teachers would email me with problems or grades and it was great.
What this busy semester has taught me is that just because a parent can’t come in to a conference or participate in school things does NOT mean they don’t care about their child’s grades. I care a lot and stay on my kids and check ALL their homework, even with my schedule and I check the portal for grades at least once a week. As a teacher I won’t know how much is going on in a student’s life or their parents. Finding ANY way to communicate with the parents is KEY.
Tech Tool 8.2
In this section I read about Skype. I LOVE Skype and use it a lot. I moved to Southwest Florida in August of 2012 which is 1,000 miles away from all my family and friends. We have my husband’s side here and his friends but it was still difficult. My daughter is also back home in college. Skype has really been an amazing and wonderful thing for us to be able to communicate and even feel like we are all in the same room for occasions like Christmas.
There are different ways Skype can be used in the classroom but I think one of the best is to be able to talk and learn from other classrooms all across the world. This would allow students in both classes to learn from each other, for the teachers to be able to collaborate in teaching and to do it visually as well. Imagine learning about Africa from a classroom and teacher IN Africa and them learning from us in America! The possibilities are really endless to use Skype as a learning and teaching tool.
Summary & Connection
In Chapter 8 the discussion was on all the ways that social media can help in the learning process and teacher relations with students and parents including email, teacher Blogs & Websites (which I LOVE) and Skype. As I stated above, I love the educational uses of Skype and am all for using technology to learn things that would not normally be available to us. I also agree with using any type of technology needed to reach parents for collaboration on the student’s well-being and making sure they are learning at their full potential. I also love using technology to help my own children learn new things so I am eager to use it in my classroom. However, I do feel that we can go too far to quickly at times and don’t want to totally replace conversation and human interaction with digital ones. I still believe that talking with my students face-to-face is very important as well.
Textbook - Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
YouTube. May 2012 "Skype Kids”. [video]. Retrieved from Web.
Hogan, Chrystal. March 2014. ‘My Boys & Technology”. [photograph].