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Archive for the ‘Tools Pro/Con’ Category

Pros/Cons

The pros of the math games online are as follows:

1) The students are engaged- games are fun! Also, because so many have visuals (and sometimes animation) to show what is happening mathematically, the students can gain a better understanding, similar to what the article suggested in regards to aligning words and pictures to promote understanding. In this case, “words” are just numbers 🙂

2) Many of the sites allow the students to log in, and thus their progress can be tracked. This is great for them because then they can compete against themselves and always try to improve, rather than comparing their scores with their classmates.

3) Because there is such a variety, the website games are ideal for differentiation. Students can play games on their level and move on when they are ready.

The cons that need to be addresses are:

1) Because their is so much activity on the screen, the students may very well experience some cognitive overload because they are trying to process too many visual cues. Explaining the games beforehand may be one way to alleviate this, akin to the “pretraining” referred to in the article.

2) Some students also do not focus very well when left to complete a task independently, especially one that does not require writing, and they may just end up clicking around aimlessly. Giving out worksheets aligned with the games to keep them on track could be helpful as they will be forced to stop and focus, just as a video may be broken into segments to foster understanding.

3) Since students are in control, they may simply jump from game to game, never fully engaging in one concept. Thus, there must be some requirement that certain work is to be handed in for grading to promote completion.

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Twitter: Pros and Cons

The people across from me on the 5 train to the Bronx do not make eye contact with me. An argument ensues between a man and a woman and no one pays attention. There is a car full of people and not one is interested in the other. With social networking, however, the reality is quite different. People become brave, some become caring, some opinionated; all behind a well-lit screen called the computer. Social networking has always fascinated me in that it seems people become reckless creatures without care for how they portray themselves. My English Education Master’s Program at NYU has made me consider some aspects of social networking which may be beneficial for teaching and learning. Whether I will actually use these media tools in the classroom is another subject. I have chosen to focus on Twitter in part to help me get over my apprehension in signing up per Sava’s request. Furthermore, I have seen the positive aspects of using twitter for the purposes of engaging in conversations about politics, religion, education and literature. Here are my pros and cons:

Pros

1. Silent voices get heard on Twitter. There is empowerment in the written word and students who are apprehensive about speaking in class can be heard on a classroom forum built around Twitter.

2. Twitter can be a valuable tool for teaching a student with a learning disability in a fun, inventive way. Mayer and Moreno mention the visual and verbal channels through which learning occurs. For a student with developmental delays, a classroom community on Twitter can be quite the learning experience; both socially and intellectually.

3. Twitter is an opportunity for students who may not have access to technology and global information to become more knowledgeable about the world around him or her. It is an entry into a world that becomes accessible by a student and their family who may have been previously shut out for whatever reason. Furthermore, it presents an opportunity for the learner to become a teacher; passing on knowledge to friends and family members.

Cons

1. Without proper guidance, it can be a playground for bullies. The fact that one can sign up for Twitter using an alias is a gateway for people to say damaging things without the consequence of accountability.

2. There is access to everything a parent may want to keep away from their child. There are no real borders.

3. Cognitive overload: Too much information at once and too little time to retain invaluable learning experiences; the type of experiences that face to face interaction cannot be substituted for.