Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Trust & Technology

A week or so ago I was doing a long overdue update for the Window side of my Mac computer. I had recently got Overwatch as a birthday gift and I wanted to fully update my Windows side before playing it. Unfortunally one of the updates did not end fast enough and I could not show an assignment to my class for feedback.
            Dr. Jones, my professor, asked “How come you did not put it on Google Drive?”
            I answered, “Because I do not trust Google Drive.” Which then warranted a lecture from her about having external hard drives and backups so this would not happen again (along with trusting technology).
            I then began to really think why I did not trust Google Drive, because for so long I had not even really realized how much I distrusted it until now. I just everything nicely organized in my folders on my laptop because I took it everywhere. I did have an external hard drive, but I at the time of this problem I had not updated it to have this particular file that I needed (but that was partially due to my arrogance thinking that again, it would not take along).
            Going back to examining why I did not trust Google Drive is most likely due to my upbringing. My parents… well I can not say did not like technology, but they were extremely wary of it (because they never had technology like this and did not understand it). Especially when it came time for me being old enough to have a laptop of my own (back when I was in middle school). They always told me to basically do not trust technology, do not have anything saved on the Internet because people will hack your computer and steal it or worse will replace it with a virus (which would cost them a lot of money to get rid of).

            These constant warnings were ingrained in my head so much I just accepted them as true. Of course over time as I grew up with technology and understood how it worked. I realized that it was just my parents being a bit over paranoid since they did not understand it. There were some things though that stuck in my brain even if I did not realize them, which may have seemed logical to me, but not logical to someone else. It only took them to point this out to make me realize how I was wrong. Of course this made me feel embarrassed to heck, but I had never had this situation before. I learned my lesson though and will be more trusting in online storage like Google Drive.

The Delicate Balance of Trying to Remain Sane

College is a wonderful place that is filled with many opportunities. Along with meeting great people and professors that will help you along the way, but not everything in college is rainbows and sunshine. There is hard work that you need to put in to be successful. This is not high school where you could cram at the last minute and can produce at least a B. It takes more effort on your part and for most of you are happy to put in that effort because they are classes you enjoy. There is catch to this though, like most things in life. You want to put in your best effort, but at the same time you do not want over whelm yourself and be anti-social. At the same time you do not want to be too social and forget your work. This is the balancing game you have to play when you are in college, because if you are on either extreme you will suffer the consequences.
            We all know the consequences of being too social, bad grades and the high provability of dropping out college. I have seen many of may friends, some that I knew to make straight A’s in high school make this mistake. For the dumb reason of thinking “I am the smartest person here I can be lazy and do things at the last minute and still pass.” So what do they do? Party, get drunk, do not go to class.
            But we tend not to think about the workaholics when we are in college. They think since they are getting straight A’s in college one can assume they know how to schedule and have plenty of time to be social. This is not true, I have also seen this side of the spectrum. My roommates being prime examples of this, both are architecture majors and to those of you that to not know they stuffed to the gills with projects. From DAY 1 they have projects their professors expect them to do. This has killed their social lives in college because even though they are hard workers and get good grades both of them never had much time to be social. I have seen this worn down their psyche to the points of utter break down (especially when both of them had full time jobs also!). In psychology you learn that humans NEED interaction with each other, other wise we start to shut down.

            Along with the fact that if you refuse to go out with people so many times, they will eventually stop asking you to go out with them. So when you actually want to go out no one will be there because all they think is that you’re a workaholic and do not care about going out. This is where the balance needs to come in, because one of the great things about college is that you get a chance to meet so many different people! But if you are always stuck in your room studying you won’t get a chance to meet them. At the same time you do need to study, you are there to get your degree, but just don’t let your degree be the downfall of your college experience.

Harder than I remember

Four scores and three years ago I was in my first education class with Dr. Jones. I was more than a bit nervous at first since I feared that I might not like this class. I had heard many stories about students not liking the first major they pick and I was afraid I was going to fall into that same pit. Thankfully Dr. Jones made me real excited to become a teacher and I remember my first assignment I created. It was constructed as a final project that has the students “publishing” a short novel and or a poem book.

            I had enjoyed that project, but after that class I never did have practice making another teaching assignment until this year. This made me excited again. I could not wait to start on making a new assignment, but when I started working on it I realized something. This is harder than I remembered it to be. To be fair though, I had been three years out of practice. Unfortunally there are a lot classed based around education with all of them teaching about teaching, but they do not do stuff like creating assignments and lesson planning. So when I was able to get a chance to do stuff like that this year I was happy. Again though, I quickly realized I was out of practice. Before this Gallagher Assignment, the only thing close I had to practice was in the beginning of the semester when I created an actual Test for my psychology class. So I do have to thank Dr. Callan for making that assignment. It really gave me a warm up before this assignment I am doing now.  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Having the rug pulled out from underneath you: Standarized Tests

            The day was going well for a Thursday; there was nothing out of the ordinary. The classes seemed a bit long, but again that was normal (I had three classes on Thursday). The most exciting thing I did was getting a ticket for the March 2nd STOMP performance. I had seen the show once when I was in high school and loved it, so I was excited to hear that they were going to preform here, BUT while waiting in line in for getting my ticket I get a text from my dad saying:
            “Unfortunately, it appears you didn’t pass the Writing Proficiency Exam. Go to Banner under Degrees Work. You will need to sign up for the next one in February by 5:00 o’clock tomorrow at office NQ336. See blackboard for instructions. I love you. Sorry for the bad news.”
For those of you who do not know the Writing Proficiency Exam is a test at Ball State that everyone has to pass (or to take the class) to graduate. At first I did not believe him, no, I refused to believe him. After I got my ticket I pulled out my laptop and low and behold he was right. So my day went from ok to absolutely horrible after one text message. So I naturally want to go vent out my frustration. I go to Dr. Jones and told her what happened. She said this happens to a lot of English majors, which I did know that too, but I was still upset. Then she told me to connect this experience to students who smart, but did not pass the IStep and this is how this blog post was born.
            I remember taking the Istep tests in elementary/middle school and having the mental thinking of students that do not pass the Istep tests are just dumb and trouble making students. Of course I do not think of this way now, but when you are at an age where you think popularity is the key to success you want to have any advantage that you can. In this case just being smarter than everyone else, of course I knew I was not the smartest in the class, but I at least could pass my Istep tests.
            Having this recent blow though in college, it did make me think; if something like this happened when I was younger would I still be where I am at today? Mentioned before popularity is very important when you are younger and this could be detrimental to a student who thinks they are smart, but does not pass the standard Istep test. They could think: “Well looks like I am not smart after all, why even bother to do work now?” Since the probility is that their friends passed the test and they did not, along with them most likely making fun of them for it. Causing them to go in a downward spiral and not wanting to have the drive to work because they know they can’t do it because they are dumb.

            This is why as teachers we have to keep students from feeling like this. We cannot let them think that one test is a deciding factor in whether they are dumb or smart. Teachers need to make sure to award students for passing simple homework, quizzes and tests. Giving them proof in saying “Hey you are not dumb, look at all the good grades you been getting on your other assignments. Do no let the Istep fool you, you are a smart student, it does not matter what that tests says.”

Monday, February 13, 2017

One small step for a student, one giant leap for my future career

For the past few weeks my ENG 350 have had a unique opportunity. We were able to go to Central Grove High School and help students on a writing assignment. We also were communicating with the students via Google Documents to give them their feedback. This was the first time I worked with students in a while now, the last time I worked with students in a school was freshmen year and the rest of the time I just learned about teaching techniques. So this was nice to have an opportunity to work with students again, especially since I will be student teaching next spring.

            While I was completing this assignment I learned a lot of techniques on how to give constructive feedback. This was really helpful because since I was little my dad had given me a skewed look on feedback, only marking what was wrong with giving me little good comments. I obviously could not do this to my students without them then hating writing, which is something I want to avoid at all costs. The different techniques like the green, yellow and red stoplight high lighting given me a good foundation on how to give good constructive feedback. Along with other tips like focusing on only 3-4 problem areas at a time and using questions in my feedback to get them to go deeper into the subject of the paper. It was also a good watered down simulation I might be doing while student teaching, since I only had to give feedback to three students. When I am student teaching I might have to do a lot more, but for me this was a another good step toward becoming a teacher.