Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week 8 Security Issues

This lesson should be the first lesson for this Educational Technology course.  If students and staff are not operating in a safe virtual environment, then not much else is going to matter.  

We have looked at several web tools that allow for users to edit someone's work, enable chat room applications, have whiteboard applications, offer free email, and permit uploading and downloading without bias.  All of these tools allow users to interact with each other either in a synchronous or asynchronous manner.  These interactions make us vulnerable.  We need to keep our home computers safe, personal mobile devices safe, school networks safe, and students safe.  This begs the question how do we keep ourselves safe in the rapidly evolving tech world.  Let's try to answer that question.  Once we have answered this question, I want you to reflect on your own life.  Are you modeling safe internet conduct?  We have to practice these guidelines ourselves before we can prove their effectiveness to our kids, students, and administrators.

First, let's look at the threats we are face.  

MALICIOUS SOFTWARE
This article explains malicious software in easy-to-understand terms.  How Stuff Works- Viruses, Worms, Trojans.
Basically, malicious software damages your files and programs.  Depending on how the malware is written, it can send itself to your contacts in your email address book.  It has the potential to infect the masses in mere minutes.  The malware damage results in loss of functionality and may completely shut down your computer.

HACKERS
Hackers are people that deliberately breach security barriers and leak sensitive information contained therein.  They usually aren't interested in deleting or modifying files as much as making them public.

PHISHING
This attack comes in two forms.  The first form is the phishing website and/or ad banner (a.k.a. pop-up.)  This website is actually a portal to a criminal's database.  The criminal waits for you to enter your personal information and send it to them via typing in the fields provided and clicking "submit."  The second form is a phishing email.  This email seems like it is from a real person or company.  The email asks for you to send some kind of sensitive information in a reply. Either way, scam artists want your personal information and will stop at nothing trying to get it.  Some want a thrill; some want bragging rights.  Others are simply in it for the money.  Why buy a gun and forcibly rob you when they can create a simple website and you hand them your bank account information willingly (albeit unknowingly)?  The why is irrelevant though.  These guys are sneaky and growing in number.

CYBERBULLYING
This PBS link is actually a documentary that examines how people are constantly wired up, tuned in, and powered on.  Cyberbullying is not specifically mentioned but other equally disturbing issues are.

PBS Reports on Our Digital Nation and the Detriment of Being Connected 24/7
The days of "leaving work at work" are gone.  Bullying used to be an evil person in your face when you walked into the school building or got on the bus.  Those jerks would have to use their own the time and effort to physically seek you out.  Now, students can slip in the side entrance, have their parents drive them everywhere, and change their schedules but bullies still find them.  While students and parents may be putting physical effort into protecting students, bullies have changed the location of the battlefield.  Brandishing their cowardice like a war medal, they hide in the shadows of the intangible, virtual world of social networking, phone messaging, and victim gullibility.  With mobile devices increasing their presence in schools, it's easy to snap a picture of the "fat girl" changing in the locker room and post it on Facebook/Twitter for all the high school population to see.  Facebook also allows people to privately message each other without permission from the recipient.  What kids were saying in gym class is then PM'd to the "fat girl's" Facebook account.  She makes the connection between the muffled laughter and her classmates' stares.

As I write this, I cannot stop thinking about one the most grotesque exercises of cyberbullying- The Rape of 15 Year Old Steubenville, Ohio Jane Doe in August 2012.  She didn't die but her captors thought she had. . .  


Jane started that evening at a school volleyball pizza party at 7 p.m.  The high school volleyball team was celebrating in the gym.  Jane got text messages from a girl she knew and trusted while attending the party.  The texting girl was dating a football player.  The football player was friends with Jane's ex-boyfriend, another football player.  The ex-boyfriend wanted revenge on Jane for dumping him.  He convinced his friend's girlfriend to text Jane and invite her to a "party with all the cool kids."  The girl promised to pick Jane up from school and no one would know.  Jane's girlfriend (and a posse) picked Jane up from school and gave Jane a drugged glass of champagne.  After the ruffies set in, the male passengers in the SUV starting raping her... and snapping pictures of her bent over the seat, unconscious, half-naked. She was heavily drugged and raped multiple times by multiple boys in multiple ways at multiple locations that night.  Rape is the ultimate form of bullying- someone overpowering someone else just because he (or she) can.  The rapists then posted pictures of Jane and themselves online via Twitter and Facebook.  Jane is unconscious in all of them.  Several followers of the graphic posts left nasty comments like "I have no respect for whores."  Cyberbullying at its best...

The girl was unceremoniously dropped onto her own front lawn at approximately 3 a.m.  The story continues though.  When her parents found her, they immediately took her to the hospital as she was unresponsive, bloody, and barely clothed.  Her ex-boyfriend and his football friends started texting her, threatening her!  More bullying from the shadows!!  They realized that between social media snipits, the rape kit from the hospital, and Jane's text message logs that she was piecing together what happened.  They didn't want her to go forward.  Needless to say, all the records that I just mentioned were examined as damning evidence in the convictions of only two of the rapists.

I said all that to say this- we are fighting a unknown enemy in foreign territory.  We must learn about our enemy and arm ourselves.

WEAPONS AT OUR DISPOSAL


CONTACT A CREDIT BUREAU FOR A FREE 90 DAY IDENTITY WATCH
You can contact any of the three credit bureaus and put a free 90 day alert on your credit report.  If any new accounts or strange activity are detected within those 90 days, one of the bureaus will contact you to authenticate it.  I have had to do this.  After my last divorce, my crazy ex-husband and his even crazier girlfriend had all my personal information.  Here is a link for more information
Equifax 90 Credit Fraud Alert 
Having said that, you should read over your credit report at least once a year to check for accuracy.  I have personally had to dispute items that were wrong- credit card lines I had open but was told I was initially declined for, addresses I haven't lived at, and strange inquiries from third party companies.
ONLY free annual credit report site

OPERATING SYSTEMS
The operating site you choose for your PC and mobile device can lower your chances of intercepting malware.  As Marshall Brain and Wesley Fenlon explain in "How Stuff Works- Viruses, Trojans, and Worms", if you're truly worried about traditional (as opposed to e-mail) viruses, you should be running a more secure operating system like Linux and, to a lesser extent, Apple's Mac OS X. You never hear about viruses on these operating systems because they represent such a small part of the market they're targeted by far fewer viruses than the Windows operating system. Apple's OS X has seen its share, but viruses are still predominately a Windows problem.

Cell Phone Viruses 
Julie Layton recommends these ways to protect your cell phone in her article "How Stuff Works- How Cell-phone Viruses Work"
  • Turn off Bluetooth discoverable mode. Set your phone to "hidden" so other phones can't detect it and send it the virus. You can do this on the Bluetooth options screen.
  • Check security updates to learn about filenames you should keep an eye out for. It's not fool-proof -- the Commwarrior program generates random names for the infected files it sends out, so users can't be warned not to open specific filenames -- but many viruses can be easily identified by the filenames they carry. Security sites with detailed virus information include: F-Secure, McAfee and  Symantec.
  • Some of these sites will send you e-mail updates with new virus information as it gets posted.
  • Install some type of security software on your phone. Numerous companies are developing security software for cell phones, some for free download, some for user purchase and some intended for cell-phone service providers. The software may simply detect and then remove the virus once it's received and installed, or it may protect your phone from getting certain viruses in the first place. Symbian has developed an anti-virus version of its operating system that only allows the phone's Bluetooth connection to accept secure files.


ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
Options: Free or Commercial
Whether it's your home computer or a school network, everyone needs anti-virus software.  There anti-virus programs for free and for a fee.  PC Magazine voted BitFender AV as the best commercial anti-virus program.  They also voted AVG Free Anti-virus program the best free AV program.
PC Magazine Reviews Best AV programs 
Scan everything!  You should be running anti-virus scans on your computer at regular intervals (at least once a week) to detect and address problems as soon as they arise.
Updates! Enable automatic updating and actually download the updates.

REMOTE ACCESS 
LogMeIn.com  
Most schools have remote access programs in place.  Parents can also do this for their children's computers.  LogMeIn is an application designed for business people who work out of multiple locations.  This programs allows you to remotely log into a specific computer and access its files.  If you are trying to be covert, be advised.  When the overseer moves the mouse, the mouse moves on the remote computer screen as well.  Follow this hypothetical example.  I am on PC#1 and remotely logged into my son's PC #2.  If he is playing a game and I move his mouse to the exit button, he will see the mouse on his screen move to the exit button.  If I click exit, he will see the mouse click and the window closing.

AD/POP-UP BLOCKERS, INTERNET CONTROLS
Internet settings can also be used to aid in security.  You can block cookies or allow cookies from certain sites.  You can also make cookies downloadable with your permission only.  This last setting is taxing time wise but can be worth it.  Along with cookies, block pop-up windows.  Often, they are ads.  Sometimes applications that launch in a separate window are filtered and blocked as a pop-up.  Be sure to allow yourself the permission to see both instances.  Of course parents can use safe search and password controls as well.  School generally have website genre restrictions in place.  Most of these options are located in the "Tool" tab in the Menu bar of your browser.   

ACCEPTABLE USE POLICIES
Most schools and businesses have an acceptable use policy in place.  Examples of such policies would be no email unless it's school server email and you can't open attachments.  In the Army, we had to take classes on information awareness.  We had to be aware of the risks of everyday computer use while on a government network.  The Army didn't allow external storage devices to be used on government computers.  We had plastic ID cards with magnetic strips.  The strips carried our credentials.  Without an ID card, you couldn't log in.  Without the right credntials, you couldn't go onto certain sites.  Sensitive information had to be labeled, sent on a secured network, and opened by someone with an appropriate security clearance.  

HACKERS AS EMPLOYEES
Have you ever seen the Discovery Channel series "It Takes a Thief"?  The show has two former felons as the hosts.  They used to be professional robbers.  Now, they use their expertise to educate homeowners about faulty home security.  Discovery would put surveillance cameras in a home one the hosts had decided to rob.  Said host would conduct a robbery.  The second host would watch the live action camera footage with the homeowners. After the robbery, the hosts would score the homeowners based on the following criteria: did anyone in the neighborhood react to the robbery, did the police respond, how long did it take for the police to arrive, the total the value of the merchandise stolen, and damage to the property.  The second host would then give suggestions on how to fix the home's security issues. 

This link has an interview with the anonymous hacking group SpexSec.  Spexsec hacked the Clarksville Montgomery County School System and leaked 14,500 names, SSN, and email passwords to the internet.  The group pointed to CMCSS complacency as main reason for the hacking.
SpexSec says why they hacked CMCSS 
If people want to make a living doing this type of work, organizations need to hire the hackers.  Businesses shouldn't be investing in security measures with the promise that they will work.  These security measures should be tested regularly.  Last year's efforts won't stop this year's hackers.  We need to pay these guys to do their jobs and see how we fare.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week 7 Tech Explorations



Week 7
Questions to answer
1.  Pick one piece of software or Web 2.0 tool to use in the classroom.  Identify the software or tool and the instructional objectives and goals you will meet.

I will definitely use Prezi.com to present my own lessons.  I will also take time to show Prezi to my students.  They will be able to do assignments with it.  I already featured this application in my webquest from last week.

2.  After using the software or tool with your students, discuss what went well and what challenges you faced.  What would you do differently if you were to use the software again?   

I currently do not teach.

Websites I visited:
Keeping Track of your "stuff" 
          This website allows you to “pin” or save bookmarks of websites in a personal profile.  The profile is more or less just a blank page for the bookmarks.  You can post a small bio and picture of yourself to personalize it.  After you post a bookmark, you can add a comment and/or tags at any time. 
The site offers a bookmark toolbar button so you can add a webpage to your Delicious profile at any time.  I tried to use the button but I couldn’t get it to work.  You can open a Delicious account with your Twitter or Facebook log in or a regular email account.  When you use the FB or Twitter option, you need to decide if you want your Delicious links to appear on your newsfeed.  Delicious says that you can import links that you have previously posted to your FB or Twitter and any you post in the future.  I did the Facebook log in option.  I regularly post links on my FB profile.  None of my links were imported to Delicious.  I’m working on remedying that.  I follow news trends and I hate searching FB activity logs to find articles that I posted weeks or months ago.  Delicious also says that you can import your browser’s bookmarks to your profile as well.  I didn’t do it because (I gathered that) you have to do it one link at a time.
I can see a few uses for my students and myself.  First, I see a place to keep your new trends organized.  Who doesn’t like to stay organized?  Now, we have a good starting place for a blog or a webquest or a wiki.
I recommend this website.  I think that Delicious.com is a better place to organize your posted webpages than FB.  It’s free and personal.  Now you have a reference point the next time you want to do a web-based activity.

http://www.historypin.com/ (starting up slowly)


Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history.
Everyone has history to share: whether it’s sitting in yellowed albums in the attic, collected in piles of crackly tapes, conserved in the 1000s of archives all over the world or passed down in memories and old stories.
Each of these pieces of history finds a home on Historypin, where everyone has the chance to see it, add to it, learn from it, debate it and use it to build up a more complete understanding of the world.
Currently, Historypin is made up of photographic images, videos, audio clips and descriptive and narrative text.  Photographic images can be pinned directly to the Historypin map by users. These images can be of any location - outdoors or indoors - at any time in the past.  Some of these images, if they are taken outdoors, at street level and at certain angles, will be able to be layered onto Street View (this is a bonus, not a requirement).  Audio and video content can be pinned to the map by users. These should be pinned to the location and date where they were recorded.  Any kind of descriptive or narrative text can be added to images, audio or video.
I could incorporate this site into my class with some serious thought.  If we are learning about any technological innovations, this site would be a great addition.  There are so many interesting things on this site.  I could use it as a conversation starter at the beginning of class just to get people thinking.  I would collaborate with other teachers to find a common thread.
Do I recommend it?  Yes.  This site is very cool.  History comes to life and is more personal.  I have some photos that I need to add to the Olympics photos project.  I have pictures of the Olympic torch passing from one runner to another in Canton, Missouri.

          This website calls itself “a transition from Delicious.”  Diigo is an online cloud program.  You can access your content from anywhere and on any device with an internet connection.  You can still perform the same features as Delicious, such as tagging, private/public bookmarks, follow bookmarks from a network of people, see popular bookmarks by tags, import and export bookmarks, and automatically post your bookmarks to your blog daily or weekly.  Diigo takes it one step further.
Bookmarking
- save bookmarks as private by default (optional)
    - organize your bookmarks as a list and shown as a slide
    - set up groups to pool resources and curate content
    - automatically bookmark your twitter favorites
    - keep a full-text copy of your bookmarks (Premium features)
    - full-text search of your bookmarks (Premium features)
    - save notes and images, in addition to bookmarks
Annotation
    - use highlights and sticky notes as you read - do not just bookmark
    - capture a portion of the screen and annotate on the screenshot (this preserves your site and makes note taking more meaningful)
Diigo does not support tag bundles.  (Delicious does.)  You can import bookmarks from one site to the other.  When using the mobile app for Android or iPhone, you have a “photographic memory available at all times.”  You can also download entire webpages to read offline at your convenience.
I can see a few uses for my students and myself.  First, I see a place to keep your news trends organized.  Who doesn’t like to stay organized when following a good story?  Now, we have a starting place for a blog or a webquest or a wiki.  Second, I see note taking and sharing taken to the next level.  Now you can annotate and literally connect your points.  My blog could get really sophisticated.  My students would definitely find this helpful.  They can take their readings with them.
This sites helps students and teachers grasp the NETS Standards of Model Digital Age Work and Learning and Design and Develop Digital Age Experiences and Assessments.  Designing a profile of bookmarks is causing students to re-think note taking and make real world connections.  Whether you are a student or a teacher, this site creates a relevant learning experience that incorporates digital tools and resources to promote learning and creativity.  When your bookmarks are public, you can see who else is following the same line of thought.  Now, you are collaborating with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.
I recommend this website.  I think that Diigo.com is a better place to organize your bookmarks than Delicious.  It’s free and personal.  Now you have a reference point the next time you want to do a web-based activity.  It claims to be designed for the person that digests a lot of webpages.  That claims proves to be true.

Calculator  http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/games/calculator/
          This site has a virtual standard calculator.  If you click on a button, the website reads your selection out loud.  There are links to children’s shows and math games on the page as well. 
I did not like this site and I don’t recommend it.  Looking at the bottom of the page, I found no contact information for site maintenance.  This site is suffering some technical issues.  The calculator loaded fine.  I did one simple calculation and got the right answer.  When I attempted to click another button, I noticed something was wrong.  The graphic display of the buttons was not lining up with the virtual buttons.  For example, I kept trying to click the “5.”  My mouse was centered on the “5.”  I kept hearing and seeing the number “2.”  I moved my mouse up and hovered over the “8.”  Then I clicked my mouse and got a “5.”  After reloading the webpage, I got the same issue. 

          This site gives you a virtual standard calculator that you can download for free.  The creator is cited directly on the page.  He has a comment section where you can rate his calculator application.  If you need assistance, you can contact the creator via his link “Tell Us about an Update.”  Here is the description of the app straight from the site.
When you get your answer, it is spoken verbosely: i.e. 1,234 = "one thousand, two hundred and thirty-four" and not "one-two-three-four."  You may turn the voice on or off.  You may select what color you would like for the display window.  All options you select are saved to disk, so they are not lost when you exit the program.  This includes the number you store in memory.  Separators are provided, and they are optional, (example: 1,000 or 1000).  The voice feature is provided only in English, but you can have all of the screen text appear in any of the following additional languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Afrikaans, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Welsh and Zulu. The help files are available in all of the above languages except Afrikaans, Icelandic, Welsh and Zulu.)  Commas and periods are interchanged as separators and decimal points, depending on the language selected.
          I am not sure if I recommend this site.  The app has had almost 8,000 downloads.  The average rating is 3 out of 5 stars.  The site says it has 11 user reviews, which must have consisted of only rating the app.  The one review that someone wrote explained that the app wasn’t compatible with his version of Vista.  There was no response from the creator.  The site still claims that the app is compatible with Windows 7, Vista, and Macs.  I read that you can only use it in full screen mode.  I’m definitely not a fan of that.
          There was no tutorial video or even a graphic of the calculator.  I don’t think that I would find a use for this in my classroom.  I did not download it.

Math wiki example: http://2write4math.pbwiki.com/
          This wiki highlights various ways to introduce writing in mathematics.  Math does have its own style of writing.  Keeping a log of results and writing out math problems step-by-step were mentioned.  We see these two forms most often in math class.  The wiki also introduces us to the idea of writing math poems and bio-graphing life events.  There are lesson plans to view for inspiration.  The wiki is read-only to non-members.  If you sign up for an account, you can add content to the wiki as well.
          Keeping a journal or log is applicable in high school biology.  I really liked the idea of rating life events and graphing them.  I could use this tool as an ice breaker/first homework assignment.  They would have an easy, yet creative assignment.  I would learn about my students as individuals.  I could focus the assignment on what they have learned in prior science classes.  I could ask them to rate and graph science concepts that they learned based on how well they feel they learned the concept.  For example, I could make a graph of myself.  I could say at seven, I learned physics.  I learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, give it a rating of 10.  I learned balance, left and right brain coordination, and Newton’s Second Law of physics (an object in motion stays in motion unless a net force acts on it.)  When I was seven, I also learned about gravity.  I give this experience a five out of ten.  After crashing my bike, I learned that objects fall at a terminal velocity of 9.8m/s².  The asphalt of the road was my inertia.  It absorbed my kinetic energy and transformed it into potential energy.  Thus, Newton’s First Law of Physics was also learned that day.  (Energy is neither created nor destroyed.  It just changes form.)
          I do recommend this site.  Some of the ideas would be great just to change things up a bit in math class.  The ideas are also helpful when you need to incorporate math into a different subject area.  Introducing math as something else, e.g. a journal, poem, or graph, encourages students to use it without feeling like they are back in math class.  As educators, we are engaging students in higher order thinking.  Now students are pulling skills from math, English, and science to complete their assignment.  We are teaching them to write in new ways and fostering creativity.

          PicLits is a site that allows you to caption photos.  The photos are pre-selected.  You are given two options to caption a photo.  You can choose words from a list or simply “freestyle” and type what you want.
          The creator of the website, Terry Friedlander, monitors the site closely.  There are ads because that is the site’s only form of revenue.  He filters the ads and also asks that users report inappropriate ads if they do pop up.  He describes his site as “edutainment” for all ages.  He makes sure that all the images are appropriate as well.  Although his site has advertising, he promises not to sell your email address.
Currently, the site is very basic.  Mr. Friedlander wants to upgrade this site to include features such as Search, Tagging, Spanish Keywords, and more, along with a Premium version that will provide teacher accounts, private groups, photo uploading, editing tools, multiple languages, and other great tools.  All you need is a working email address for a free account.  I believe the work that you create is public.
You can always find use for this in a class, any class.  I created a serious picture.  You can also be funny.
Even though it is basic, I still recommend this site.  It is free, safe, and has adequate support.
Here is my picture.  When looking at my PicLit, you will notice that the two clocks have the same time on them.  Dogs have shorter life spans than humans.  Humans are always busy and never seem to have enough time.  Regardless of those facts, both the human and dog in the picture have the same amount of time left on earth- today.  We are not promised tomorrow.  The time to love your dog is now.  Carpe diem.  While you have your friends, hobbies, and work, your dog just has you.  Your dog will make the choice to be with you each and every day.  What is your choice? 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 6 Webquests

Here is a webquest that I found for my potential students Composting Saves

About "Composting Saves":  In this webquest students have to research various methods of composting.  Then, they have to choose a method that they like.  For their assignments, they have to make a poster board that describes the process that they chose.  They have to include step by step instructions and pictures. 
Weakness:  The teacher gives her students 11 websites to visit.  I think that is a little overkill.  Too many websites on the same topic is a weakness to me.  I would have listed six and then had the students look up their own. 
Strength: The teacher states that the best posters will be laminated and publicly displayed in the school.  I like that idea.  She is motivating her students to do their best work.  This is a strength.  I would have made a different project though.  I found an article in a magazine about composting.  It suggested making a "micro-compost pile" using half a two-liter bottle.  I would have had the students use their composting methods to create a small scale compost pile and put these somewhere for other students to view.



MY WEBQUEST URL  Where have all the honeybees gone?


I designed a webquest for a classroom of mainstream high school biology students.  The students are divided into four groups.  I presented the groups with the issue of disappearing honey bee populations.  Then I purposed four major theories that scientists are currently debating.  I asked the students to decide which theory they agree with, to decide which theory they want to disprove, and to offer a solution.  I required that they use a minimum of three sources for their research.  The groups would present their information as a slide show and give a speech.  I incorporated multiple web tools that my students could use for free.

Challenges That I Encountered
  1.  I didn't pay attention to the "Advice" tab.  I typed up an entire student page including web links and multiple paragraph formats in the teacher section.  This sounds like an easy fix, right?  Wrong.  I couldn't cut, copy, or paste.  I had to re-type the entire page.  The second page looked better.  Note to self: once you create a page, you cannot copy and paste from it.
  2. In the age of Autosave, Questgarden is way behind.  You MUST click "Save" at the bottom of each section before you leave that section.  I had to re-type several things before I realized what was happening.  Always hit SAVE.
  3. I liked the Checkpoint questions.  I didn't like typing out my answers but I found the questions very helpful.  They were pointed and helped me include all the vital elements.
  4. The Evaluation page sucked.  I hated it.  I should have kept the original formatting.  I deleted some of it.  When I wanted to add those features back in, I couldn't get it to look the same.  I checked out the "Help" section several times to no avail.  I had a hard time writing what was in head out in those little boxes. 
  5. I totally did not understand the resource section.  I clearly labeled all pictures and cited my information.  I didn't want to make a page listing every single website that I had already listed within the webquest.  It seemed redundant.  
  6. Pictures have to be a 500 pixels x 500 pixels or less.  I couldn't upload several of my own pictures.  I had to use the internet for most of the graphics.  The Jing app has been really helpful.  Most of the screenshots that I take save as small sized images in terms of kilobytes.  I'm still learning how to focus my screen shot to capture the important details of an image.  Some of my pictures are not as close up as I would like but you get the main idea.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Why I had to Leave The Door

I have to get the truth out or I may explode.  I do not want you to hear the church gossip and be left with more questions than answers.  Yes, I have caught them gossiping.  I'm not the type of person that walks in and can silence a room of women.  Normally they ignore me, actually.  Their story is full of holes where they have filled in the details of their own makings.

This is what happened.  Austin and Emilio had been fighting over toys most of the day.  Emilio is a "one upper."  He's not content to take his toy and run.  He wants to fight- not about the toy but to establish dominance.  While Austin and Emilio were stupidly fighting over one toy in a room of toys, Emilio punched Austin in the mouth and busted his lip.  Now my kid is bleeding and a little confused.  I cleaned him up and said nothing.  That was my first mistake.  I should have left right then.  Crying over a toy and saying "no it's mine" is one thing.  Punching a kid in the face is taking up to the next level and that's wrong.  Emilio should have been corrected but Ally said nothing.

The second incident that happened was this.  Austin came up to me crying saying that Emilio bit him.  I asked Kilani and Selina's little girl if that was what really happened.  They said yes.  Austin didn't have any marks so I didn't say anything.  This was my second mistake.  I should have left at this point too.

The third and final straw was this.  Austin comes to me screaming and crying.  He can barely talk.  I see that Emilio has bitten Austin on Austin's Left butt cheek.  This mark is already bruising and swollen and a blood blister is forming.  I promise you that if Austin had bitten Emilio like that, even after all the BS he had taken that day, I would have back handed Austin across the room.  Now, I yell at Emilio to come out of the room and tell his mom what he did.  (I don't know if he actually has the words to talk that well but I was going to make him try.)  Ally comes up and says, "Oh, Amanda," like "oh calm down Silly."  I show her what Emilio did.  It's obvious that he is not going to admit it.  Ally says, "Yeah he does it me too, " in that same indifferent tone.  I snatch up Austin, gather his things, and we leave.  (Thank you Tavonya for allowing me to make a graceful exit as she helped me find all of Austin's things.)  On my way out the door I said, "And you [to Ally] can talk to Pastor about your kid biting."  She says, "Okay, " like someone would say, "yeah right, I'm not scared."

Oh it's not over.  There's more.  I am a angry person naturally.  I can get violent when pushed.  (Ask my ex-husband David.)  So at this point, I am BEYOND LIVID.  I just want to go.  My mind is running through several million thoughts a minute.  So I am walking down her driveway to my car when her husband, Armando, pulls up.  (He had been at work up to this point.)  He sees Austin STILL crying and asks, "Why you crying?"
While continuing to walk toward my car, I said, "Because your kid bit him."
He says, "My kid bit him?"
I am still walking to the car.  I haven't bothered to stop and look at him at all.  I said, "Yes, you're kid is a biter."
He feels the need to get defensive!?  He said, "You're kid is a fighter.  What about when he scratched my kid?"  I just ignored him.  He wanted a fight.  I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of goading me into a fight that he wanted.  I was not afraid of him.  I was in control of the situation.  I wanted to leave and I wasn't stopping what I was doing to have a pointless argument. 

However, this whole exchange pissed me off even more.  So Ally doesn't feel the need to correct Emilio.  Armando thinks that Emilio's behavior is justified... because of something Austin did weeks or even months ago!?  Austin has been getting 95% good reports from nursery workers recently.  Yes, Austin went through a violent period but we have moved past that.  I worked with him and prayed over him and have put some stability in his daily life.  That is what he needed.

I am doing the work that I need to as a parent of Austin.  If Emilio is aggressive against Austin, he can UNDO all the work that I have done.  Emilio has taught Austin some bad habits too.  Now I have to continue with Austin's training for his own personal issues AND I am working on breaking the bad behavior that Emilio is teaching him as well!  Double Duty!  That's totally not fair.

The story just keeps going.  I sit down with Pastor and Colleen and things get weird.  Austin did not want to sit down in the small room.  He did everything he could to distract me from talking.  That looked bad.  Of course Pastor commented on it saying that Austin doesn't take me seriously and doesn't respect me.  Austin was committing attention-seeking behavior like he does whenever I am distracted.  Paying attention to him, whether I'm talking to him or spanking him, is my giving him what he wants.  Therefore, his distracting behavior continued (because he got my attention a few times), at the criticism of Pastor. 

Moving on from that, I did give Ally props.  I recognized, out loud, that she tries to discipline Emilio sometimes.  I acknowledged that Armando doesn't let her discipline Emilio, which is a fact.  (Armando threatens Ally with violence if she disciplines Emilio.  We will get back to that in a minute.)  So I said that I am not a perfect parent but I try to time my correction of Austin better than Ally does with Emilio.  I told him that on Sunday Emilio's behavior was met with indifference and justification.  I explained that Austin hitting Emilio or any kid is NOT okay.  I said that, "As soon as I knew Austin was starting to bite people, like he did in nursery, I got on top it."  (Prior to Austin biting Megan in nursery, he had only bitten me once and for no reason.  I didn't know if he would do it again so I didn't freak out about it.)  So Austin hitting is NOT okay.  Emilio hitting his mom or any other kid is NOT okay either.

I continued to explained that if Austin gets picked on anymore, he will get defensive.  When Austin goes on the defense, he WILL beat up EVERYONE in the nursery.  I told Pastor about how these older kids were picking on Austin at an FCC home when Austin was one year old.  Austin went on the defense and started fighting back, against everyone, especially me.  He didn't want to go to the place where the older kids beat up on him everyday.  He was angry at me for taking him there.  He was angry at the 4 month old baby who didn't do anything but she was there all the same.  Austin got kicked out of daycare, for defending himself.  I told Pastor that I didn't want to repeat that time of Austin's life again.  This experience was very traumatic for him and is burned into his memory.  Now, this defensive response comes out automatically when even one kid picks on Austin.  So what do we do now?

Pastor tells me about how Ally tries to discipline Emilio but Armando fights her every step of the way.  He explains that Armando is violent and makes threats and is unsaved.  I relay the exchange between Armando and me to Pastor.  Pastor says, "Yeah and you shouldn't have involved him.  He won't come to church now because of... this.  Now we can't get him saved."  The ellipsis marks [...] here do NOT indicate words left out of his quote.  Here, I want to amplify the PAUSE that Pastor made.  He paused to choose his words, although it was obvious to everyone in the room that "this" was not what he wanted to say.  He wanted to say, "You."    -This is ridiculous.  I didn't directly involve Armando, first of all.  Armando spoke to me first.  I didn't argue, even though Armando tried to argue with me.  I didn't name call.  I stated the facts and walked away.  Everything in me was screaming to punch Armando in the face.  I didn't do it though. 

Pastor also told me to "make things right with Ally."  I asked, "And what do I say?  She doesn't care and her husband thinks it's okay.  I didn't do anything wrong this time."  I don't mean to sound like I'm claiming to be always innocent.  I'm not.  However, in this instance, I don't see where I wrong toward Ally.  If I should apologize to anyone, it's Austin.  He was tortured and I let it happen.  If Emilio was set to have an attitude that day, my best option would have been to leave before anything happened.  I was wrong to stay.

Armando IS the problem here.  He IS involved by his own implication.  He and Ally cannot parent together.  Armando doesn't want to discipline his kid.  He is teaching Emilio that it is okay to dominate his mother.  Ally, poor thing, is fighting a losing a battle on all fronts.  She can't convince her husband to get saved.  She can't convince her husband to correct Emilio's behavior.  She can't seem to correct his behavior because she can't do it consistently.  She can only do it when Armando isn't looking.  Emilio is confused, looks to dad as an example, and isn't able to speak as much as he wants to.  Emilio has got to be so frustrated right now.  I feel bad for him.

That being said- I am NOT the reason Armando won't come to church.  Coming to church, submitting his will to Christ- those are not decisions I can make for him.  Austin and I are not the reasons Emilio has to be the "one upper" and has to dominate every situation.  I did not involve Armando.  His toxic parenting and marital relationship skills are poisoning the church.  His problems are affecting me, at the moment.  It is only a matter of time before Emilio implicates another kid and that kid's family in this mess.  If Pastor wants to blame me, then I will take it.  However, I am leaving the church.  When I am gone, I want Pastor to see that Armando is not going to get saved any more than a rock holding open the glass door at church would be saved.  Ally is trying to do right by Emilio but I don't think she can fight against Armando's influence.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Week 5 All Things Video: Creating, Watching, and Sharing



Questions to answer:
1. What did you learn that was totally new to you?  I learned what synchronous and asynchronous web tools are.  I learned that you can spatially arrange a powerpoint on Prezi.  I found great resources for educational and school-appropriate videos.

2. How can you use this information to reform your instructional strategies with your own students?  I answer that when I discuss each site.  I don't teach yet but I try to imagine how I could fit each site into my lessons.

Websites I visited:

Prezi - http://prezi.com/  
See my prezi here:Biological Organization Prezi
 
This website allows you to create Power point presentations for free.  The power point presentations are not linear, like we are used to thinking.  Imagine with me a giant canvas.  You are the painter.  As you are painting, you put on a magnifying glass to insert intricate details into your art piece.  With Prezi, you are able to zoom in and out of your giant blank slide.  You only have one slide but your entire presentation is contained within it.  Your dimensions for your slide are almost limitless.
I can definitely see this in my classroom.  Science is really about “the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”  This tool would help me show the major concept and zoom into “here’s where you, Student, come in.”  Prezi would really help me get my point across because it is able to display my thoughts in the same way that my thoughts are arranged in my own mind.  Prezi pointed out that static slides can subdivide major concepts and severe the connections.  This site maintains the cohesion.
I would recommend this for my students and for myself.  I like this better than power point.  With a free, basic account, you have 100 MB of space to save your prezi on.  You can access your work from any computer with an internet connection.  You can import Power Point presentations and turn them into Prezis.  This is a creative and engaging way to illustrate lessons.  You can share a hyperlink so people can view your prezi and other prezi users can edit your project.  You can embed it into a blog as well.  This site was easy to use.  I did my presentation w/o a single tutorial while I was half asleep.

SpicyNodes - http://www.spicynodes.org/
See my Spicy Node here:My Spicy Node on Fetal Development
 
Spicy Nodes is just like mind mapping.  Spicy nodes take it one step further though.  When your mouse travels over a bubble, that bubble comes to the forefront.  Also, the extensions of any sub-ideas are hidden until you click on that node.  Your design is simplistic and clean.  The creators explain that this format is a more innovative design for websites, to help users find information easier.
I could see myself using this site if I was able to keep the integrity of the design.  I wouldn’t want to lose the animation.  Without the animation, I would get a static mind map which would render the Spicy Nodes site no different from Wisemapping.com.  This site makes it easy to share your work.  It also makes your creation public as well so it is easy to search for.  You can also embed it in a blog.  I recommend it and it is free. 

Edmodo - http://www.edmodo.com/
          Edmodo reminded me of www.4teachers.org and iLearn.  Edmodo is free (no tuition required ;) )  It does for any kind of teacher what iLearn does for our online professors.  The teacher in the testimonial video stated that she appreciated having all her web tools in one place, e.g. calendar apps and homework drop boxes.  She said that her students like the social network interface.  She made a point that students are going to jobs that require familiarity with this type of networking.  I never had online classes before grad school.  Through this class, I see where physically sitting in a traditional classroom is becoming (if not already) passĂ©.  Also, I see where collaborating web tools are “where it’s at.”  A growing trend in high school seems to be to figure out just how much you can squeeze into 24 hours.  Can you go to class; do your homework, play a sport or instrument, work your part-time job, chat with your friends, do your chores, and remember to eat dinner all in a day?  It’s more like meeting the bookclub at a wi-fi cafĂ© while clicking “submit assignment” on your laptop, hitting “reply” on your Blackberry, while listening to your text to speech app read you the events for tomorrow off your calendar app on your iPad.  Edmodo is enabling students and teachers to do things easier.  We, by our very nature, want to consume that saved time with other activities.
          I love Edmodo though, truthfully.  It’s free and versatile.  If students are enjoying their assignments, they won’t “work” a day that they are in school.  I always recommend having an electronic form of anything you want to do somewhere.  If you plan to bring your assignment on a flash drive, you should email it to the teacher the night before.  That way, no matter what happens the next morning, you have your assignment with you.

Math dictionary http://www.amathsdictionaryforkids.com/dictionary.html
          This site has a graphical dictionary of math terms.  The design is simple and colorful.  Students of any age could navigate the site easily.  This site is free and has a copyright date of 2013.  The webmaster is maintaining it.  If you encountered a problem, you could email the webmaster using the “feedback” link at the bottom of the page.  The terms are organized in alphabetical order.  Have patience when clicking a term and waiting for the definition to appear.  It takes a few seconds.
          I can see this being useful for studying math.  It would really be helpful for ESL students trying to take math in their second language.  I could reference it in a lesson for any equations I might do but I don’t its usefulness in my science class.
          I do recommend it.  I have a friend that is teaching seventh grade math.  She and her students would like this site.

Glogster - http://www.glogster.com/
“Glogster EDU is the leading global education platform for the creative expression of knowledge and skills in the classroom and beyond.  We empower educators and students with the technology to create GLOGS - online multimedia posters - with text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds, drawings, data attachments and more.  I thought that they explained themselves pretty well.  Let’s break down the key features.  The creation interface that allows you to make a Glog uses simple drag and drop commands.  For collaborative projects, the teacher can work with students in a classroom or through remote instruction using this multimedia platform – a community system for sharing is prepared where student‘s work is stored and available at any time.  The teacher creates projects with templates and instructional guidelines, assigns them to the students, provides feedback throughout the assignment, and assesses their finished work.  You get social aspects like instant messaging, comments, and profile customization.  You also get a search engine, RSS, privacy control, educator resource library to help put your Glog together, Glog recommendations, and a Glog rating system.
Glogster EDU creates a digital learning environment, where teachers and students learn technology in an easy to use and scalable format that simplifies the educational process and produces assessable multi-modal results across the curriculum spectrum.  Glogster EDU enables public or private schools, districts, states, and education institutions of all kinds, to meet and exceed educational technology and content area standards for creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making, and digital citizenship.  Glogster EDU creates an adaptable and innovative learning environment for all learners, regardless of age, gender, culture or learning style. Students are encouraged to be independent, inventive problem solvers and lifelong learners.
An EDUcator Free account allows you to manage up to 10 student accounts, and have access to the Next Gen Glog. Additional students can be registered using the teacher code.  EDUcators do not, however, have access to our student management tool, the “reGlog” (share) option or full access to our rich Glogpedia resource library of content Glogs.  You may view your student’s work directly by clicking on the “student” tab on the Dashboard, scrolling to the student you would like to view, clicking on their avatar, and visiting their account page.  Students who are in your account but not managed will have to send you the URL to their Glog.
This site is iLearn, Twitter, and Edmodo rolled into one!  The creators want to be paid though.  I can appreciate that.  It seems that the site’s functionality and user-friendliness is moderated via price tag.  I would not recommend this site and I lean towards Edmodo.

Jing http://www.techsmith.com/jing/
Short Jing tutorial that I created, follow the link above
When people wanted to take a screen shot, they usually just hit the “print screen” button.  They couldn’t save or share that image. Jing is a ready-to-go app that you download that allows you to take that screen shot, email it, embed it in your blog, or attach a hyperlink of it to a social media page.  Jing will also save your images, as opposed to saving them to your hard drive. 
          This site is where tutorial videos happen.  I definitely would use this in class.  I could make videos for students and for substitutes of lessons and navigation of websites.  I could let students use this feature to help each other and their parents!  A must-have!  I’m excited about this app.

You Tube for Education - http://www.youtube.com/education?b=400
          YouTube EDU brings learners and educators together in a global video classroom. On YouTube EDU, you have access to a broad set of educational videos that range from academic lectures to inspirational speeches and everything in between.  Come here for quick lessons from top teachers around the world, course lectures from top-tier universities, or inspiring videos to spark your imagination.  You can also create videos.  Youtube for Schools is a Youtube channel that boosts that it can be viewed while at school.  They don’t allow comments, nor do they showcase the annoying margin of “related videos.”  Videos on Youtube for Education are from Stanford, PBS and TED as well as from future YouTube partners with millions of views, like Khan Academy, Steve Spangler Science, and Numberphile.
This site does everything you need youtube to do in school.  Videos are relevant to today’s teaching, almost synonymous.  I loved TED but now I don’t have to stop there.  I have already used this application to observe high school science being taught.  It’s always good to see how someone else executed a lesson plan, especially if you are stumped while creating your own.  Videos are really great when someone says something just right.  Students can also use this as a resource for demos, information, and to enrich their own projects.  I made a joke the other day.  I said that I don’t need a husband; I just need Youtube.  Is there anything about which youtube is missing a tutorial video?  *cricket cricket*  I didn’t think so.  It’s free and informational.  I recommend it.

          This site is a collective of student-made and teacher made videos.  It’s a lot like Youtube.  In the “About” section, you read that the creators wanted a safe, moderated place for students and teachers to watch and/or upload videos.  You can watch Schooltube videos on most school networks.  There are no adverisements or comments.  You can share the video through a URL or embedding it.

          This site has all kinds of multimedia.  You can view videos, documents, photos, and listen to audio clips.  There are appropriate ads but no comments.  You can share the various multimedia items through social networking sites, embedding into blogs, or attach the media to an email right from the Teachertube page.  This site is a little more organized and user friendly than Schooltube.  For the most part, still like Youtube.  Your account is free and so is uploading.