Monthly Archives: April 2013

Freedom To Another’s Thoughts

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I like many people tend to blog on the Internet. Whether it is to vent about something that maybe happening in my life, express my opinion on something, or just share a thought that I might have had, I am guilty of using a blog to create these posts. After posting something on a blog, as many bloggers, including I know that once you publish a post it is displayed for internet users to see. Yes, the post is exposed to the internet but what are the chances that thousands of people are really going find your blog and read it? Maybe a few will see it; friends who know it exists and maybe some friends of theirs. A small group of people to read some of your thoughts, personal and not so personal, getting to know you a little better. But what if you knew that a post you have created has made you a tiny dot on a website created by someone who sits behind a computer and reads as many blogs as they can grabbing your thoughts and ideas to put on their page. Sound kind of creepy to you? Because it did to me.

After viewing Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar’s web page “We Feel Fine”, I will never be able to blog the same way again. The page consists of a humongous amount of tiny little dots, and a few squares, that are floating around on a black background space. When you put your mouse or cursor over one of the a dots or squares, an emotion is revealed next to it and a quote is displayed at the top of the page. What is this quote you might ask? It is a quote directly from someone’s personal blog. Whose? Well, that’s easy to find out. All you have to do is click on the quote and it links you right to the original blog page that it had been taken from.

To me this felt completely violating and honestly made me not really want to blog anymore. The fact that these two men just search and read so many people’s blogs that reveal their personal thoughts and things about them and then take direct quotes from them to use on their website. All of this without even being notified? I would really want to know if they pulled quotes and ideas from my blog but the fact is that there are so many dots, yours may be on there but you may never be able to find and there for never know. I also was unease about how the viewer could click on your quote and be brought to your blog page. My blog isn’t intended for millions of random strangers that visit this site, just the few that happen to find me through common interests and friends. I can promote my blog in the way that I want to without the help of Harris and Kamvar. Now before every blog post, I will think about what I write instead of just writing my initial thought with that creeping notion in the back of my head that just maybe somebody like Harris and Kamvar are watching.

 

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Twitter Reveals An Inspiring Art Teacher

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When we had to start reaching out to our professional communities on Twitter, I began to follow many wise people in the field of education. Their tweets unlike all of my followers and even those this particular educator isn’t one to update her Twitter very often, after reading her page she is the one that interested me the most.

Her name is and she is a Suzanne Tiedmann and she is an art teacher for Pre-K to fifth grade students in South Brunswick Nj. I think what really had me most interested in Suzanne and her page and who she followed and such on Twitter is the fact that I have always had a love and passion for art just as she does. It has always been something that I have loved and I wish I had the talent and creativity to make a living out of it as she did. Through her career, Twitter page, and followers, her love for art and teaching is completely evident.

After analyzing her followers, I realized that many had to do with her passion for art and education, such as SupportArtsInSchools @KidsNeedTheArts . This account focuses on bringing attention to the issue and raising money for art programs in schools by creating visual and creative art projects. Following this account shows not only her love for art but her love for teaching as well. Keeping art alive in schools for the children is something that she seems to advocate and care a lot about. 300px-Brush_and_watercoloursTiedmann also follows a lot of art teachers as well, surrounding herself and her twitter feed with familiar ideas and issues. Art educators seem to take up a lot of her following spots, whether they are friends that she has acquired in her career, or just fellow educators with a love for art that she would love to hear ideas from they seem to be who she follows most. She does however follow other educators as well that are involved or concerned with new teaching technologies. This means that she is probably interested in the new technological developments in teaching as well and what they have to bring to the classroom.

By observing her Twitter and her followers, I have come to the conclusion that Suzanne Tiedmann is someone who truly cares about what she does in her professional community. She is passionate about teaching and bringing art to children hoping to inspire them just as much as she has been inspired.

 

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Controlled Freedom, The Best Freedom.

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When our group was first given the topic of freedom on the internet to investigate, I was open to what kind of views the subject might bring. At first, after thinking about it and researching some information I was completely for freedom on the internet. In fact, my last post talking about freedom on the internet supported that freedom in a positive light. I felt that everyone should have their freedom on the internet, be able to express themselves and say what they feel and please. However, after doing a little bit more research and thinking, I feel as though I was wrong. Freedom of speech on the internet is something that comes with limitations and can be completely abused by certain people who use it for the wrong reasons.

Cyber-bullying on the internet has become a big issue today. Many children are being harassed and teased through communication on the internet and it these harsh words are something that can have a great effect on those child’s lives. It happens on many different social media sites on the internet. I’ve seen it so many times before on Facebook, Twitter, and even blogs created by those with negative feelings towards someone else, and even privately through IM’s and private chats. Internet users just throw negative words around as though they do not have consequences, but the truth is they do.

I just read a story about a boy named Ryan Halligan. He unfortunately took his own life in 2003. His parents were in extreme disbelief at the loss of their son and did not fully understand what may have lead Ryan to his final actions, but after some investigating they found the culprit that pushed him to do it: cyber bullying. Ryan had been picked on and bullied through out his schooling career but months before he died things got better for Ryan. He believed that he became friends with the boy that had beenRyanHalligan bullying him in school and was so excited about it that he relayed the message to his parents. Trusting his new friend, Ryan shared some information with him over the internet about a story that was embarrassing for him. He thought his new friend would keep this story safe, but instead he spread the information all over the internet and started a rumor about Ryan being gay. As if this wasn’t enough, a girl from his middle school also had part in it. Over the summer she talked to Ryan everyday on the internet and agreed to be his girlfriend, but as soon as they got back to school she laughed in Ryan’s face in front of all of her friends and made fun of him breaking the news that she was just joking about everything that she said online. The humiliation and constant teasing that followed soon became too much for Ryan to handle. This is not something that should happen to any child. It is cruel and uncalled for and should be kept from being displayed on the internet.

Yes, internet users deserve their freedom of speech and expression on the internet, but only with good intentions. Bad intentions that could have such negative and harmful effects on a person’s life is a serious matter that should be excluded from this freedom and have action taken against it so others wont have to go through anything like what Ryan went through. Controlled freedom is the key to internet use and if not disrespected or abused could make the internet a very happy and pleasant place.

 

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For more on Ryan’s full story told by his parents on a website that they have created, click here.

Teachers teaching us how to tweet, who woulda thought? @WeAreTeachers

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As a future educator I find it interesting that I never really realized the amount of networking that comes along with becoming a teacher. I would imagine that this is not the way that it always was considering we didn’t always live in a technology, blogging, social media, obsessed world.

Last semester I remember one of my education professors telling me how important it is to turn to social media and networking to try and put your name out there and get a job. I did not realize how true this really was until I searched for educators and education groups on twitter, who would have thought that there would be so many? 

The main twitter group that I found to be interesting was one called We Are Teachers. This twitter group is made up of multiple organizations and teachers who tweet about lesson plan ideas and things that are going on in an educational environment  People who are also involved with this twitter account inform us on ways to incorporate social media sites that our students may enjoy. An example of this was one tweet that had a link attached that had a lesson plan that involved ways to incorporate pinterest with using education at home. I found this twitter to be the most helpful because so many different types of people involved with education contribute to it. 

So if you are ever in need of some educational advice I suggest looking up fellow educators on twitter. It’s a fun and easy way to get lesson ideas and communicate with fellow teachers and students. 

Well, this is pretty serious…

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While reading the article How Companies Learn Your Secrets by Charles Duhigg I started to question the majority of my shopping experiences, and what was more frightening was that I started to question to methods that my part time job uses on shoppers and on me directly. Apparently companies such as Target and Shoprite have ways of tracking our purchases and basically ways of studying our lives to make us more “comfortable” in purchasing all different types of products from this. 

I work at Shoprite and until reading this article I didn’t realize how true this all is. At Shoprite we have coupon machines that track your price plus card and print out coupons that we “recommend” for you. I’ve also noticed that customers that shop there regularly are more apt to buy toys from us or health and beauty aids even though it is more expensive. 

I am fascinated by the fact that company’s actually put that much thought into their marketing and I’m not sure whether I should be impressed by this money making strategy or creeped out. Honestly I think I’m a mixer of the two, but mainly creeped out. Image

Companies track our purchases? No way…

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target picAfter reading How Companies Learn Your Secrets by Charles Duhigg, I was a little creeped out, I’m not going to lie. I had a conversation similar to this article, last semester, when one of my education professors told us a story about how he started buying a new brand of Yogurt, Oikos, because he received coupons after buying Dannon. Shop Rite was scanning his card and keeping track of his purchases. They hooked him with a really nice coupon the first time, about $2.00 off his purchase of yogurt. The next coupon to come was .75 cents off. The third coupon was .15 cents off. No more coupons came after that. They didn’t need to send them anymore because the company did their job; they got a new customer. He stopped buying Dannon and now only bought Oikos Greek Yogurt.
Andrew Pole, the statistician in this article for Target, figured out how to determine when their female shoppers were pregnant. Every guest is assigned an ID number and when they go thru the line, their purchases are tracked. If a certain number of products on a list were scanned thru, Pole knew there was a good percentage that the woman was pregnant. As time went on, the store would start sending coupons to the woman’s house for baby cloths, equipment for the nursery and prenatal vitamins and cocoa butter.
It amazes that we have the technology to track the purchases of over 300 million people in this country. This article talked predominantly about Target, but I shop at CVS as well and I noticed them doing the same thing to me. I scan my CVS care card when I pay at the register and I receive an abundance of coupons for the cosmetics brands I buy frequently and other products I buy only at CVS. I used to think “oh I love this store; they always give me coupons for products I want!” Then I realized they were getting me to spend even more money there because of all of the coupons they were sending me and the other items I was picking up because I was already there.
We have little freedom in this country anymore. They track each and every move we make, from the purchases we make at the grocery store, to the links we click on when we search Google. If we have the technology to track everyone’s purchases in this country, I can’t imagine what else they can track in our every day lives.

First Amendment & Social Media don’t mix

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ICloud (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 
Image via CrunchBase

ICloudReading Tweets of rage: does free speech on the internet actually exist? By Nilay Patel opened my eyes to the way the internet really works these days. The First Amendment claims that we have freedom of speech, but when it comes to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, I’m sorry to tell you, you don’t. Even apps that you think are personal to your own computer, like iCloud, are controlled by Apple. “Apple can pre-screen and delete data from your iCloud account if it finds anything ‘objectionable.'” So what does that mean? If they don’t agree with a picture or video that I upload to that file, they will delete it because “they said so”? It’s not up to them to decide what I have on my phone and computer.

Trevor Timm states, “The top decision maker at YouTube has more censorship power than any Supreme Court justice,” he says. “We have to develop policies that better protect free speech from not only government interference but also corporate censorship.” We should not stand for this. The government says we have “Freedom of Speech” but we really can’t just post anything we want. Do I think it’s right to post hate crime and pornography on the internet? No. I think people should make some real use of their time and find another online activity. But if they need a place to vent or blog out their issues, they most certainly should be “allowed” to. Who are we to say that they can’t think or say their opinion on a certain subject matter?

So there you have it. You can’t post anything you want on Twitter or Facebook. Youtube will take down anything questionable and your iCloud pictures will be deleted if they are “objectionable”.

 

Educators on Twitter: @DaisyDyerDuerr

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As I was looking through educators on Twitter, I came across a woman by the name of Daisy Dyer Duer, her Twitter handle is @DaisyDyerDuerr. Her profile read that she was a Principal of a school district (K-12) in Arkansas. She even had a hash tag, #ArkEdChat, which I thought was neat since we have our own hash tag to communicate with each other in our Writing Arts classroom (#tfws13). At the end of her profile she has a website listed, http://daisydyerduerr.com.

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Right away I could tell that Dasiy was deeply involved in her profession and I wanted to learn more.

I clicked on her website and found out from there that she writes her own blogs on her page and that she travels around the country as a speaker. She obviously makes teaching more than just a job, it’s her passion and she’s made it into something that she enjoys. Her quote on her page says “Prepare ALL Students for Success in Today’s Digital World”. That is literally what we talk  about in my education and writing classes at Rowan University each day. It’s nice to read it somewhere else and know that it’s our future and it really exists.

Next, I clicked back over to her Twitter and checked out her follower list. Everyone that followed her was an educator or belonged in the field somehow. The same went for people who she followed. They were all involved in education; whether they were administrators, teachers, aides, or curriculum specialists. I am so glad I stumbled upon her account, and followed more people from her Twitter that inspire me to be a part of the amazing world of educators!

 

Coolcatteacher: The Ultimate Professional

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Looking over different educator’s twitters, I stumbled upon Vicki Davis, better known as, @coolcatteacher. She seemed approachable, and fun, so I began following her and instantly became engaged.

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Her posts are truly inspirational . Her career is her passion , as it should be. She shares not only how to become a better teacher, but ways to do it, and keeps young educators like myself on our toes about new and emerging technology and curriculums across the nation. I have learned so much in a week of following her, that I just want to keep learning more. There is an entire world of education, I have no idea about. 

Scrolling through the list of who she was following, I was a little stunned. Everyone is an educator. Or involved in education in some way. It really showed to me just how absolutely involved and informed she is about all different types of education, and how helpful this is in the grand scheme of things.  I myself tend to stick to talking to Early Education majors. Its what I specialize in. But she on the other hand, had Early Ed teachers, Linguistics professionals, high school history teachers and even us college students. Her broad range of knowledge is commendable, and such a good example for people like me. She broadened my own horizons, and made me realize that just because I teach a certain age, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t know about what is happening in my school, district, state, and country as a whole. As educators, we should unite through our passion and careers, and work together to keep moving forward. Needless to say, after scrolling through I followed about twenty more people. I’ve read more articles on education in my free time because of coolcatteacher, then I have in my entire life, and I’m pretty excited about it.  #accomplished #futureofeducation

Facebook Feigning.

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No Facebook for a week. Sounded like a fairly simple task.

 

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I could do tons of other things. I could actually do all of my homework in a timely manner, I could read a book, I could make cookies…. or I could give in and go on anyway.

 

 

I really completely surprised myself with this assignment. I truly didn’t realizejust how often I was using Facebook, and how much I had become addicted over the last few years. I lasted the first night. It was fresh on my mind, and I was determined. I watched T.V. instead, and I did bake cookies. Small victories.

And then I woke up the next morning .

I don’t think I even realized that Facebook is apart of my daily routine. I woke up, rolled over, grabbed my phone, and instantly clicked on my Facebook app. Why, you ask?

I DON’T KNOW. It was literally natural for me. It was a daily routine to scroll down my news feed, catch up with the world, and then go back to trying to get myself out of bed. ( Which always takes much longer then needed). It dawned on me after a few minutes , what I had just done. Just one day after the assignment, I lost. I was so reliant on this social networking site, that after less then 24 hours I was back on. The worst part is, I wasn’t even that interested. It’s not that I absolutely HAD to go on and see what was happening, I just did, because it is what I always do .

After that first day, and becoming extremely frustrated with myself, I decided to try again. This time instead, I became hooked on twitter. It’s fast, and informative, and fluid. New tweet’s pop up constantly, and at the time of the Boston Bombings, this was a perfect way to stay up to date. I lasted longer during this stretch. But I still could not stay away from social networking. It is a perfect distraction when I need it.  It’s how I communicate. It’s how I read during the day. It’s what gets me through long and boring classes, its how I express myself.

It’s taken over my life, apparently.

Maybe I should take up painting. This is getting a little ridiculous…