Tech Task #10 – LMS Evaluation

For tech task ten we were asked to use and evaluate two educational social networking sites for students and teachers. We decided to compare Schoololgy and Edmodo. I have heard of Edmodo in the past and as far as I know it is a popular site for elementary school teachers and their classrooms. I like the fact that both these sites use Facebook style content but is completely controlled by the teacher. Both the sites have communication tools, discussion boards, assignments, quizzes, and notifications. As we worked through both sites my group members and I took on the roles of the teachers, students and parents to see the difference between these programs.

Edmodo and Schoololgy both have communication tools. There is the ability to communicate with the parents of the children on both sites and I think that this is a great tool because sometimes paper notes do not make their way home.  In Edmodo and Schoolology the teacher can send private messages to both the student and the parents but in Edmodo the parent can not contact the teacher. I think this is a big fault in this program. Schoolology takes the win on this one.

The disscussion boards are a great tool for students to learn from each other and that should not be missed. With Edmodo there is a “wall” that everyone can post too. On the other hand, Schoology has the ability to create various discussion boards for different topics and this is a great tool to catagorize the discussions. On schoolology the parents can also view the discussion. Again, in the catagory of discussion, Schoology takes the win.

For assignments and quizzes I believe that both the programs have big problems. Both sites have a calendar of upcoming quizzes and due dates which is helpful but the style of assessment is lacking, and I believe it is taking a step back on how assessment is changing within this education system.  Any assessment that could be done on these sites could also be done on paper so I suppose that these programs are saving the trees. The problem with the multiple choice quizzes on these programs are that kids can not show their work. As a future teacher I believe that multiple choice quizzes, especially in my area (math and science) deserve marks for work and the thinking process. The multiple choice test is just incredibly limited. The fill in the blanks and short answer quizzes are marked based on spelling which is not always good because students may have had the right answer but the computer will mark it as wrong and the teacher must go through and fix it. My main problem with these programs is the long answer format. I do not understand why a teacher would use these programs for an essay as the feedback becomes so limited. I believe that students should get good written feedback on their writing or else they can not improve and these  programs limit improvement in writing. In the case of assesment, I do not perfer either.

As a parent, Schoolology was much more user friendly. It had one section of all the grades of your student in all the subjects that they are in. The teacher can also add in the grades of the assignments that they do not complete on Schoolology so the mark in the entirety of the class is kept up to date and accurate. We could not find this same function on Edmodo. The parent page for Edmodo was also much tougher to navigate when finding the child’s marks. As a teacher, I loved the grade book on schoology as you can view all of your kids grades in every subject all on the same page. It was essentially an electronic grade book which is helpful for quick reference of the whole class. Again, schoology comes out on top.

Between the ease of use and the features I much prefer the Schoolology program. As a high school teach I would never use these programs as they are too elementary and do not provide what I need as a teacher. I can see how this would be a great tool for young kids in teaching them the importance of group learning, discussion and safe social networking. By introducing a young student to a controlled social network they begin to learn good netiquette which is important in their digital identity.  These programs should be used sparingly with other teaching techniques and strategies.

Tech Task #9 – CopyLeft

A documentary by Brett Gaylor.

Brett states, “… a media‐literate culture emerged, able to download the world’s culture and transform it into something different.”    Being media-literate is more than just being able to navigate the internet. I believe being media-literate is being able to decipher your way through the internet. Being able to tell the good from the bad and the true from the untrue is media-literacy. This is the “reading” part of media-literacy. The “writing” part of media-literacy is the ability to take what’s on the internet and rewrite, rework it and reuse it. Literacy used to mean reading and writing but now it means making sense of all the messages that we are bombarded with. When students only read books it was fairly easy to understand that everything you read was true and valuable. In my opinion media-literacy is just 21st century literacy.

I definitely understand that in our society, people need to make money in their field. Musicians, actors and the alike need to be successful in their field as well, so in that case, copyright is a good thing. I also understand that copyright greatly diminishes the creativity we can have on the internet, and it truly disadvantages our learning. Everything we know now is based on something we knew before, that is how we learn. So by protecting what we know now we are discouraging what we could know.  All things considered, I believe that the public should be able to legally use material that has been provided on the internet, based on the fact that they give credit to the original “creator”. This is the way it works with written material, why not audio and visual material? This solution is not close to perfect, nor is it even good. What a hard problem to solve. I feel as though I would be more on the side of the artists and the actors it more of the money went to them, and not the giant corporations who own what they do.

When we look at the case of Walt Disney, we see that much of his work could be considered “stolen”. In that case, if he used other’s ideas then anyone should be able to work off of Walt Disney’s ideas. I like the idea of creative commons. If you use someone else’s idea, your creation must also be under creative commons. You cannot claim copyright because it is not your own and therefore it is in the public domain, free to be recreated and remixed. The song from the cotton field shows us it is hard to prove that anything you created is indeed original, therefore more movies, music and licences would be public domain.

Speaking about copyright’s impact on medicine, Gillis states,”… maybe your idea is slightly different, but they hold a patent on a core part of your idea, so you know a lot of times it’s out of the question. It holds back the knowledge exchange. Very clearly, so many things are just not developed because people are holding a patent on it. The cure for cancer could be a step away, but it’s off limits. They may sit on that idea forever and do nothing with it.” I feel that the very core of this problem is our need to be at the top of the consumer food chain. People want to be more famous, more beautiful and have more money. Scientists who could combine their ideas to cure or prevent diseases do not do so because they want to take all the profit for themselves. I believe if we were more focused on the common good of all, that people would share ideas that would move the medical field along faster. Because our consumerist society does not look like it will be changing anytime soon I don’t see the problems in the scientific medical field being solved too soon.

I am very undereducated on copyright. I believe that as a pre-service teacher I should understand the laws better so that I do not encourage copyright infringement in my kids or do it myself. This video helped a lot and I appreciate the author for educating people about this situation while putting so much at risk. I would recommend spending the time to look at the copyleft side of the issue.