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Let’s take some time to reflect

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For my introduction to writing arts class I had to make a “Pecha Kucha” (say that three times fast, it’s caused me many issues) presentation with my fellow blog members. Guess what it was about…FREEDOM! After we accomplished that assignment we were asked to reflect on all that we have done and our experiences with blogging. Hopefully this is useful to fellow bloggers and fellow writers. 

 

A Walk through a Slide:

During my part of the presentation on freedom my last slide, slide number five, basically summarized my entire point.  During the presentation I discussed different views on the lack of consequences on the internet. Clearly the internet is not a very controlled environment. People can post what they want, when they want, and there isn’t much anyone can do or say about this. Due to freedom of speech we can bully each other and pretend to be whoever we want to be. As I said, through facebook, I could tell the world that I am a tall blonde with blue eyes. For anyone who knows me this statement is anything but true. By pretending to be someone I’m not I could emotional scare people that I don’t know personally. This isn’t breaking any laws and isn’t technically harming anyone. So my question remains, should this be changed? If so, how? I’m not exactly sure of my stand point on this. This is way the picture that I chose for slide 5 was so fitting. To explain further the picture on the slide was a question mark made up of people. I found the fact that the question mark was made of people to fit right into my presentation because that’s what my focus has been all semester, how freedom affects us as people in relation to technology and social media sites. I feel that there is two ways to look at this situation. Firstly; although people aren’t getting physically hurt, their emotions are seriously being messed with. A great example of this is from the MTV hit show Catfish, which analyzes online relationships that are built off of lies. Should there be some type of penalty for doing this? Some type of way to control people from pretending to be someone they are not.  Or should there be no law or consequence because we, as Americans, have freedom of speech? This topic gets more complicated as you study it more and more. That’s why I figured that the picture of the question mark was the most fitting for my last slide and for my part of the presentation as a whole. 

 

What I learned about my blog Topic:

When beginning this particular module I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know how we would be using technology such as blogging and twitter to learn more about our writing techniques. When I found out that this class basically revolves around our group blogs, mine being, How free is freedom? , I was pretty excited. Blogging is something that I have never ventured into and realized that I actually enjoy. Obviously my group picked the topic of freedom, as it relates to the internet. I knew nothing of this topic before this blog. I actually never put much thought into my daily routines of using social media websites. I never thought about how people may be scamming us, which the article “How Companies Learn Your Secrets” , discusses.  When I first heard the topic of freedom I just assumed that there wasn’t much to be said about it. Yes we have freedom of speech, so clearly we can type out whatever we want. I learned that there is so much more to it and so much to the way that technology hasn’t just evolved but so have we.

The internet is a tricky tool. It gives us so much power. Basically everything we need to know is at our finger tips the second we press the power button. As discussed before we can pretend to be whoever we want to be. The article “Who Am We” by Sherry Turkle, is all about this. The internet has given us this. It has given us the freedom to be whoever we want, to find out whatever we want, and to become more powerful through words. This freedom is and could be a great thing when it is used properly, but what about when it isn’t?

Cyber bullying has been a huge issue among teens and has resulted in suicides across the nation. People have been emotionally hurt and messed with for years. Should there be a stop to this? Should there be consequences? Because when you really think about the word “freedom” and how it applies to our nation, how free is freedom? 

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Pecha Kucha Reflection

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For my writing class I had to make a “Pecha Kucha” presentation with a group about the topic Freedom. Then I had to write a reflection piece about my project.

A Walk Through A Slide:
The image I chose for my second slide was a screen shot with a picture of a toddler. He was sitting in the backseat of a car with headphones on watching a screen secured around the driver’s seat headrest. Now I know this isn’t a new technology and that kids have had the privilege of watching movies in the car for quite some time now, but I felt like it summed up everything I wanted to say in my narrative with just that one picture. We literally can’t go to any public place without their being some kind of technology involved. Everywhere we look, people are walking around with their smart phones in front of their faces. I see mom’s out in public, paying no mind to their children because they’re busy looking at their phones.
I quoted Kevin Kelly in his Becoming Screen Literate article and in his opening paragraph he talks about that fact that everywhere he goes, there’s a screen. Whether it’s getting gas at the pump or drawling money out of an ATM, he’s looking at a screen. I chose to cite this text because it was right on target with what I wanted to talk about in my presentation. My group’s topic was freedom and my own personal topic was time constraints and how it’s hard to get away from all of this technology since it’s become a part of our everyday lives.
I saw this slide blending in perfectly with all of my other slides because each dealt with a different point of why technology is a part of each of our lives now. My other slides were about how technology should be blended into the school atmosphere since we won’t be going back to the way things used to be. Kids get bored in school now, so why not make it fun and interesting with the technology they are used to being on the other hours of the day they aren’t in school? If I had a chance to revise this slide, I would not have directly quoted Kevin Kelly in his article. It was definitely too wordy to get out in twenty seconds and I felt like I didn’t get my point across.

 

 

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What I Learned About my Blog Topic:
I wasn’t too sure about my group’s topic at first when we picked it. I thought, what am I ever going to have to say about freedom in my blog posts? All I could vision was “freedom of speech” and symbols like the American flag. I definitely didn’t want to be political in my blog posts or have argumentative topics. I am not one to put strongly opinionated ideas out there on the internet, especially since my future employers will be googling my name. I never knew there would be so many articles out there touching on this topic. It wasn’t what I thought it would be and I gained knowledge about many topics by reading blog posts and articles about our freedom, or what little freedom we have, on social media apps. One particular article I found from googling “freedom” was insightful and I even blogged about it. I never knew Twitter could take down a post they didn’t agree with and that iCloud could delete images they didn’t like from your computer. Even when I read articles I didn’t blog about, I was still gaining knowledge about my topic.
The readings for class broaded my knowledge on the topics read in class. It definitely helped having them listed under headings with the years because it put it in perspective where we were in technology at that point. Cynthia Selfe had a lot of great ideas in her writing and put things in different perspectives for me. In Literacy and Technology Linked: The National Project to Expand Technological Literacy, she really goes into detail about integrating technology into the classroom. When she says, “Technological literacy refers to a complex set of socially and culturally situated values, practices, and skills involved in operating linguistically within the context of electronic environments, including reading, writing, and communicating”. (Selfe 11) The children that are in school now and that we will be teaching in the next few short years will be completely surrounded by technology and it will be completely integrated into their lessons by then. We have to keep up on the technology to keep up with our face-paced students. They will think very differently from the way we thought and went about problem solving in schools.

 

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Pecha Kucha Narratives

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Madison:

When the Internet was created, Kevin Kelly said “It’s not hard to find smart people saying stupid things about the Internet,” but today, it is hard not to find smart people saying stupid things ON the internet. These being things that are not only just words, but words that come together and form an alternate personality of the person who is behind the screen typing them. 

Sherry Turkle explains in her article Who Am We that “There is Sherry Turkle the writer of books. Sherry the professor, who has mentored MIT students for nearly 20 years. And there is the cyberspace explorer, the woman who might log on as a man, or as another woman, or as, simply, ST.”

This example shows that you never really know who you are talking to on the internet. It can be any version of a person that they choose to create or have you view them as. It doesn’t matter if that aspect of them is true or not because there is a whole virtual world between them and who they are communicating with.

It could be creating a different identity through online applications, social media sites, chats, or even online relationships. The fact is that many people lie in more ways than one on their social media profiles and accounts. Christopher Poole, a 24 year old who actually created his own social media network called 4chan even says “I would not call what you have on Facebook ‘authentic’ identity.”

The internet provides a type of mask and this mask gives internet users the ability to hide whatever they’d like about themselves. Michael Wesch says in his video “The Machine is Us/ing Us” that we need to rethink identity on the internet. With such falsity of identity on the internet and the situations that it could lead to, should we be rethinking this freedom?

Angelica:

Web 2.0 technologies, allows us as Americans to really embrace the freedom of speech we were given, often times, taking it to the absolute limit.  “Electronic technology provides a range of new possibilities,” as Bolter points out. Regardless, it is a freedom, and something we all take advantage of. After all that’s what rights are for, isn’t it?

 

New technologies have given us opportunities to share our thoughts, feelings and ideas with people around the world on blogs, such as WordPress. Bolter explains, “ T he open architecture of the World Wide Web allowed individuals to create sites and add them to the Web without the approval of any authority. We are free to talk about anything we want, for as long as want. And then we can network with people who share our beliefs as well , creating one big community, together.

 

Social networking sites such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, really give us the chance to push our boundaries on freedom of speech. Sherry Turkle says, “Life on the screen permits us to “project ourselves into our own dramas, dramas in which we are producer, director, and star…. Computer screens are the new location for our fantasies, both erotic and intellectual.” Millions of users at once can interact with each other, having conversations, and sharing whatever unfiltered thoughts happen to run through their minds.

 

This can also mean, we are learning to use our freedoms in a negative way as well. I can call you stupid, or worse, and it will stay there on the internet for everyone to see. Even your grandmom.  Whether it is socially acceptable or not, I am not doing anything wrong, I am exercising my rights.  And technology is allowing me to do so for the world to see.

 

Web 2.0 technologies are not regulated by government, and no one can tell us what to do . Social Blog  argues that “ protecting our first amendment right”, is the reason this is so. We are free to bully, date, and make fun of anyone we want. After all, that’s the point of freedom , isn’t it?

 

Mia:

When a cute boy/girl adds you or follows you it never really occurs to us that he/she may be lying about their identity.  As Tim O’Reilly states in his article “Who am we “The psychological effects of life on the screen can be complicated: a safe place is not all that is needed for personal change.” Just because we use these sites on the daily doesn’t mean that who we are talking to is being completely honest with us.

      As we all know we have freedom of speech. We can say whatever we please and express any emotion or opinion we have without consequence. So people making up who they are online is no different. I could tell someone that I have blonde hair and blue eyes, that I’m 5’8 and going to school to as a PR major, and guess what? If the picture matched they would probably believe me.  Many relationships start online and are based off of lies that we tell people to make ourselves feel more confident or special.  I feel that one of the reasons people do this without guilt is because it may boost their confidence in themselves and allow them to be whoever they want to be. O’Reilly discusses this further.” Some women who play male characters desire invisibility or permission to be more outspoken or aggressive.” Another reason that people may feel guilt free about this is because they know they won’t drag out the relationship that long.  “Relationships during adolescence are usually bounded by a mutual understanding that they involve limited commitment. Virtual space is well suited to such relationships” If this is the case no one is going to get hurt, right? Wrong. There have actually been multiple documentaries done and recently and MTV show called “Catfish” that revolve around this topic. Lying to people on the internet not only messes with their emotions but it is morally wrong. And yet nothing can be done about this because it isn’t breaking a law and it isn’t physically harming anyone.  We have the freedom to do and say as we please on the internet. “We can pretend to be who ever we want to be, which is a scary yet creative thing”. 

      So here is my question, clearly pretending to be someone you’re not is morally wrong and when over using this privilege it can be emotionally damaging to all of the people involved. Should there be limitations on this? Should there be a law against this? Or should it remain the same way it is today due to the fact that we have freedom of speech? 

 

Pecha Kucha Reflection

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When we were first assigned the Pecha Kucha, it was something that interested me. I had never heard of anything like it before and the name just pulled you in. However I couldn’t say it quite right at first, not that I can always say it right now but I have to say I’ve gotten better a lot better. Even though I looked forward to the Pecha Kucha going into it, as it came to crunch time, the Pecha Kucha was an assignment that began to intimidated me. As I started planning my slides and the material that I wanted to cover, I thought that there was absolutely no way that I could provide the information that I needed to in the short amount of time of 1 minute and 20 seconds, especially since there was only 20 seconds per slide. This intimidation lasted all the way until I was done giving my presentation, but watching others and completing mine, it was really cool watching how they all came together and the interesting information that they provided as well.

A Walk Through A Slide: It is hard to just pick one slide to walk through and deem most important because all of them come together to make the information that I shared in our Pecha Kucha important. However, since I have to choose, I think the strongest slide I made in my part of our group’s Pecha Kucha presentation was my second slide. During this slide, I used a quote from Sherry Turkle that she had said in her “I Am We” article. The full quote read, “There are many Sherry Turkles. There is the “French Sherry,” who studied poststructuralism in Paris in the 1960s. There is Turkle the social scientist, trained in anthropology, personality psychology, and sociology. There is Dr. Turkle, the clinical psychologist. There is Sherry Turkle the writer of books – Psychoanalytic Politics (Basic Books, 1978) and The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (Simon & Schuster, 1984). There is Sherry the professor, who has mentored MIT students for nearly 20 years. And there is the cyberspace explorer, the woman who might log on as a man, or as another woman, or as, simply, ST.”

After reading this quote in the article, it immediately stuck with me. It was just a powerful example to me that kind made me think things and question them further on the topic of internet identity. As soon as my group discussed our topic and what each of us going to focus on within our topic of freedom and I was given freedom of identity, I knew that I had to use that quote. Of course, when it came down to fitting it in with all of the other information that I was trying to say to in the short minute and twenty seconds that we had to present, I had to cut it down. But even taking some of the beginning examples out and just using a few still give it the effect visual that I was hoping to create with it. For a visual on this slide, I chose a picture that I thought went along with this quote due to the last sentence of the quote reads, “And there is the cyberspace explorer, the woman who might log on as a man, or as another woman, or as, simply, ST.” Because there could be so many different versions of someone hiding behind the mask of the internet I chose a middle aged man hiding behind a white face-less mask. This emphasizes the man part of the quote and the hidden identity.

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What I Learned About My Blog Topic: When we picked topics in the beginning of the module and my group was responsible for the topic of “Freedom”, I knew I was going to learn a lot. Originally going into the topic and assigned blogging, my mind set was that everyone should have their Freedom. I mean this is America right? Land of the free? So if we have so much freedom of everything else, why shouldn’t we have freedom on the internet? But as it came to the end of the module and time for the Pecha Kucha assignment, my views changed completely. Although I previously believed that every internet user deserved to have their freedom when logging on, I’m starting to think slightly differently. After many of the articles that we read assigned for class and those I researched myself with the help of the internet, I realized that more people than I realized abuse this freedom. Many use freedom of identity on the internet as shield or a mask to create a false identity and do more harm then good in the process. Things such as lying in online relationships, social media networks to lore people in, you never know who you are really talking to. All of the time that I have been using the internet I have been so trusting in who I talk to because I never realized that I shouldn’t be. What if the boy that started messaging me on Facebook from Michigan isn’t really my age? Or doesn’t really play soccer? Or what if he isn’t really a boy? This topic has made me realize that I really need to be a lot more careful of who I talk and interact with on the internet. Because the truth is that one the internet there is no truth. A lot of it is lies that people create, so you have to be cautious in your choices when using the internet, especially social media sites. I also learned that my topic not only stands own its own as an issue on the internet, but ties into the other group’s topics as well. After watching everyone’s Pecha Kucha presentations and reading their blogs I realized that all of our topics rely on one another. Freedom on the internet can give users anonymity and the ability to create the person they want. But when people create this “person” on the internet they should have a sense of etiquette in the decisions that they make in this process and with the ways that they communicate. In result, this will create the safety that is needed for internet users.

All in all I learned a whole lot about the using the internet and virtual technologies in the means of writing and communication. This class really opened my eyes to many new things that the internet has in store for writing and the issues that it produces as well.

Final Reflection: Freedom and Web 2.0 Technologies

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During the course of this semester, in my Introduction to Writing Arts class, I focused on blogging about freedom and its context in web 2.0 technologies. I read numerous articles both in class and on my own, and used them and the information I got  to create blogs where I composed my own thoughts and ideas into posts. I then presented these findings in a presentation format known as pecha kucha (check it out, seriously) to my class, here’s what I learned from these experiences, hope you grab a little from it too.

 

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During my presentation, on the topic of freedom, slide number two was primarily focused on WordPress and blogging on the internet. When I thought of freedom on the internet, this was the first thing that came to mind, besides the popular social networking sites that most people are already very familiar with.  I really loved blogging this semester, because I got to stream all of my thoughts into one place, and say whatever I wanted, I really felt like an author, and not just like I was doing a writing assignment for class. I had the freedom to choose my own pictures, quotes, and share whatever ideas fit.   I had free reign over my topic, thanks to my professor, and WordPress did not filter what I said either. I went through no process of getting checked, and I posted what I said for the world to see.  I choose for this slide, to add in a quote from Bolter where he explains, that “The open architecture of the World Wide Web allowed individuals to create sites and add them to the Web without the approval of any authority”. I thought it just added to what I already discovered on my own about freedom.  Approval was not needed from anyone to voice an opinion on the internet, we are protected by our constitutional freedoms.   I presented this slide right in the beginning because I think it really introduced it well, especially pointing out a blogging site I wasn’t even aware about until this class. Sometimes, I think people aren’t even aware of all of the freedom they have, because they are limiting themselves to what everyone else is doing.   If everyone knew they could blog about any topic they want, and reach a large number of people, more people might do it. Thinking about it now, I really liked that I included it but I might have done a different screen shot. Maybe showing a blog post, where I posted about a controversial topic, or said something people think is inappropriate, and still posted it, to show that you can indeed use your freedom of speech to say whatever you want.

Learning about freedom in a completely different context then what I am used to was very interesting for me this semester. I have learned, back in elementary school about our constitutional right, freedom of speech. What I learned was that we have the right to “say” what we want as long as it is not harming another person. What I did not learn, was where that freedom begins and ends on the internet. I was not sure if “saying” words, and “typing” them on a computer would have different repercussions. When you say something to someone, it may stay in their memory, but it isn’t documented and most times cannot be brought up and used against you , because it does not have enough credibility. Anything published on the internet is permanent , and on sites for the world to see, and find should they wish to . The web 2.0 readings were very helpful in my understanding of my topic. In Sherry Turkle’s article, “Who Am We”, which happened to be my favorite, she focuses on the idea that, as she says, “We are moving from modernist calculation toward postmodernist simulation, where the self is a multiple, distributed system.” In other words, we have the freedom to be anyone we want on the internet. As she explains, a user can create any name or persona they wish. This really made me look at freedom in an entirely different way, and realize we have more room to do what we want on the internet then I had originally assumed. If I decided today, I wanted to blog under the name John Smith, there would be no authentication checks to make sure I am indeed who I say I am, so I could to it. Our freedom allows us to do so , and “pretending “ to be someone else, does not come with any punishment as it would in everyday life off of the internet. Off of just the internet, and blog posts as well as social networking sites, Charles Duhigg in the article, “ How companies learn your secrets” , examines how big name companies use web technologies to find out information about their consumers. They are free to use our card information to find out about who we are, including even the company we work for and everyday demographics about the buyer as well. All of this, without any permission, because of freedom. These articles, as well as the research I did on my own, really broadened my horizons, and made it clear that as Americans we are given plenty of room on the internet to exercise our rights, and nobody has the right to tell us not to.

I’ve got a feeling… somebody’s watching me….

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English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you ever wonder how your favorite store just seems to KNOW you? What you like, and what you’re willing to buy? That’s because they do.

C. Dihiig in the article, ” How Companies Learn Your Secrets” ,  explains that companies like Target, are doing what they can to learn about their consumers and cater to their wants and needs.  “For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy.” They then use statisticians to analyze this data, and with other data they collect like your work history, and demographics, are able to send you ads that will interest you and get you to keep coming back in to their business.

The thought to me, at first seemed absolutely bizarre. And almost scary. I didn’t like the idea of strangers knowing personal information about me , and then trying to get me to buy what they think I need. But the more I thought about it, I started to like the idea. These companies are taking their consumers into consideration and doing what they can  to cater to us.  Whether it is to benefit them or not, they are taking the extra measures to make our shopping experiences the best and most fulfilling they can be. I like the idea of getting all of my shopping done in one place, and knowing I can go there and get things I really like.

I post personal information, like where I live, and go to school on social networking sites, so it’s not that different for companies to have it. It doesn’t seem like they are being invasive, they are merely collecting data.

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.