Monday, December 8, 2008

Just Jan's Blogger Award

It seems many of the blogs I follow are sporting a nifty little badge lately. It's the Eddies...well, actually it's the 2008 Edublog Awards. What that means to us is a chance to choose from some of the best educational blogs on the web!

I have taken the liberty of reviewing a few dozen blogs and I've narrowed my favorites down to the following:

Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs: This dynamic teacher includes links to some really great sites and actual files you can upload for use.

Teach42: Steve Dembo's blog. If you read no other, his is a must! Ideas you can use right out of the box.

Teachers Love Their SmartBoards: and so do I! This blog has links to ready to use SmartBoard sites and files, in addition to great ideas for using the SmartBoard in new and creative ways.

Education Investigation: I stumbled upon this blog, and I don't even know this guy's name! Great ideas and great sharing, though.

Classroom 2.0 : A must see collaborative site where educators meet to discuss education and help each other

ICT Teaching and Learning: This blogger is from New Zealand, and boy does she have a lot to share!

That's all I'm going to share with you, but I can guarantee there are some real beauties I haven't even mentioned. Don't take my word for it! Get over there and check it out for yourself, and start filling that Google Reader with some really great blogs!

The 2008 Edublog Awards

...and the Just Jan Blogger Award goes to...Sorry, there are just too many great bloggers out there to pick just one.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Cyber Bully Battle

My students are fifth graders, and after an informal poll I determined about half of them use instant messaging chat programs. About three-fourths of them own cell phones and send texts to their friends. None of them have been formally taught how to use these social networks in a respectful and ethical manner.

As teachers who use technology, we have an added responsibility. It is our job as educators to educate our students about possible dangers related to social networking and the ethical responsibility of using social networks. If they aren't taught, we cannot assume they will know.

Based on discussion, it was obvious that all of the students were aware of the dangers of giving out personal information and talking to strangers over the internet. What they weren't aware of however is the dangers of cyber bullying. Below are a couple of videos I used to begin the discussion.

We discussed the videos and several others. You can find more here: During the discussion, I was surprised to see some of the students squirming. They admitted that they were guilty or knew others who were guilty of "cyber bullying."

Some important points discussed were:

-Forms of cyber bullying include but are not limited to abusive text messages, hate sites, poisonous emails, and rude instant messaging.
-In addition, spreading rumors and forwarding what someone says is also unethical and disrespectful.

-If cyber bullied, students should save evidence and tell someone right away.

Most importantly, I told my students that now that they know about cyber bullying, they have a responsibility to teach the world. With a global audience, a blog on the internet seemed the perfect venue to do so. Students took the challenge and after some further research, they created podcasts, Power Point presentations and digital movies to portray the dangers of cyber bullying.

Below is an example of one group's project.

To view more, please go to our Cyber Bully Blog at