The Inevitable Question: “When Am I Going To Use This?”

I’m sure that most–if not all–educators have been asked at least once in their teaching career “When am I going to use this?” “This” could refer to a detailed description of the migratory patterns of black-footed ferrets, a complicated algebraic equation including radians, a handwritten synopsis of Color of Water or an explanation on what a mole is and why one mole is equal to 6.02 X 10^23. If you were wondering, no, I did not make these topics up. I have had assignments on all of these topics and have probably wondered why this is important to gaining an education at the collegiate level and successful career.

And while in math class, I have had this recurring conversation with my teacher (in my head of course):

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When I graduate high school in seven weeks, I won’t know the process of applying for a loan or what words are best to avoid when describing yourself in a job interview, but by golly I know that apparently the letter “i” does not always have to be capitalized, even if it is standing alone.

But wait… Is that fair of me to say? Yes, it is, though I do believe my frustration is aimed at the wrong people at times. What many students forget (myself included) is that teachers are not the ones who create the long list of standards that we must fulfill by the end of each school year. Teachers too are plagued with overhanging requirements that, should students fail to obtain the information, can cost them their job. I’m sure some teachers look at their material and feel the same way the students do, questioning themselves, “When have I ever used this?”

So… What are our options as students and educators? We do not have the power to create our own standards, but we do have the power to speak out about it. Most of the authorities in charge of the education system have long graduated from the school system (I’m talking decades) and are oblivious to how the evolving world does not match up to our concrete and sometimes irrelevant standards.

Just as I want to integrate social media into the education system because it is the most prominent form of worldwide communication in the professional world and students need to learn how to maneuver it, I hope the education system itself will be improved to incorporate values and standards that are relevant to the 21st century workforce and what students will benefit from most when cultivating successful careers.

Though I will not be able to reap the benefits from this much needed update–or in some cases, overhaul–in the system, I would be conflicted when sending my children to a school that still does not foster creativity, individual thinking, or the education of skills and information that can translate to every single job in the professional world. These skills would include what key words/questions to avoid during a job interview, how to approach applying for a loan, and, as the picture states above, how to balance a checkbook. Of course I will teach my children just as my parents have taught me. But many students are released into the world without any of this knowledge because their parents were never formally taught or simply do not take the time to.

I understand the education system cannot prepare students 100% for the professional world, as I do believe parents must take a majority of the responsibility; however, the skills and tools needed to succeed in the professional world are necessary, rather than wasting time on what a radian is and its relationship to the unit circle.

As a student myself, I have questioned the material I am taught countless times. And though I do want to blame the teachers for “wasting my time” and “teaching me things I will not use in the ‘real world,’” it isn’t their fault and I am unfairly questioning the wrong people. Instead of leaning back in my chair and gazing out into space when I do not understand the relevance of the information, I should–we all should–address the real issue and speak to the authorities who do have the power to change what we are learning. Such as Arne Duncan, who has already been mentioned on my blog in “American Schools And Their Rigor: Should That Be Our Focus For Aiming Towards Success?

DVD Filming Begins

As my Spring Break came to an end last night, I realized all of the great progress I made over my break. I completed the script for my DVD and it was finalized today with my camera crew. We start filming on Wednesday, April 9, and I could not be more anxious to see the outcome of the final product! If you would like to preorder my DVD, or have any questions, please contact me at paige.a.woodard@gmail.com. I should have a website up and running within the next two weeks, which I can then direct you all to.   Though this is a short update for the week, I believe it carries more momentum than many of my other posts! The goal I have been working towards is now becoming a tangible object and I am so excited for you all to see the final product!   If you can’t decipher my happiness through my frequent use of the exclamation mark, here are some pictures I found on Google that best represent how I am feeling right now! jump3 jump jump2

Call Out For Educators

Currently, I am constructing the script for my social media education DVD. As released yesterday, I am officially the business owner of Education Media Tools Inc. and that means that the deadline for the DVD is fast approaching. Therefore, I am reaching out to all of my educator/professional friends to provide information that will be incorporated into the DVD. This is solely to enhance the credibility and substance of the DVD and all quotes will be attributed to the educator/professional by job title and school (if applicable).

I have compiled a list of questions that I would love input on. If you have more ideas or want to elaborate more, please feel free to do so! The more information I have to work with, the greater this DVD will be! Remember, I am filming this DVD to share with educators in countless different areas and all information will help benefit students and their futures!

 

1. Why is social media an important tool in the classroom?

2. What are some examples of how social media can be used in the classroom?

3. Why should educators be the ones to help students understand the repercussions of social media abuse?

 

If you would like to begin a discussion on social media education or simply want to email me your answers, please contact me at paige.a.woodard@gmail.com!

Essentially, this is free advertisement for your name as an educator and also makes my DVD look AWESOME, so it is definitely a win-win for both parties! Unfortunately, I will not be able to reciprocate with any money for your words/ideas, but again, they will be attributed to your name!

Thank you all! I am so honored to have the great mentors that I do and the amazing supporters of my social media education mission!

We Are In Business

We Are In Business

And with this document, I am officially a business owner! With only a few short weeks left until my social media education DVD’s debut, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! Thank you to all who have helped me in my journey in the last seven months! Without you educators/professionals passionate about integrating social media into the education system, my success would not be as great!

SAT Revamp And What It Means For Students

According to the article “Major changes coming to 2016 SAT test” from CNN.com, the SAT will have a complete revamp by 2016. However, the format is not as different as one would think. Apparently, College Board is reversing the changes made in 2005, as well as reevaluating vocabulary and allowing students to choose whether or not they want to take the essay portion.

I have seen this article circulate through my personal Twitter feed as upperclass high school students are upset by the news. “Why couldn’t this have happened before I took it?!” is the common response. And by reading the article, I understand the frustration: perhaps the SAT is becoming easier?

Though the standardized test is still meant to challenge students, here is a list of the major changes:

1. “No longer will it be good enough to focus on tricks and trying to eliminate answer choices”

This has always personally frustrated me while taking the SAT. I took the test more than once and even received help from a variety of programs in hopes of improving my math score. Not only did the programs not help me understand the material, but they only focused on these “tips” that were to help decipher the SAT’s hieroglyphic, encrypted code. The current SAT is not designed to measure a student’s knowledge, but to test their ability to deduce answers and correctly guess out of a 50/50 chance. Therefore, this change, in my opinion, will benefit the students. 

2.”We are not interested in students just picking an answer, but justifying their answers.”

In the same paragraph, this statement is mentioned. Now, many students may be intimidated by this component, though we have been justifying our answers in class since we started school. Unless the test is on scantron (and I will admit,  a majority are nowadays), there is always a “Why?” question or even the “show your work” part of a math test. So though this may frighten students and want them to shy away from the SAT, if they are going to choose the ACT over SAT, this should not be the reason why. 

3. No longer will test takers be penalized for choosing incorrect answers.

This is probably the greatest change that is coming to students and just may be their saving grace. No longer will students have to erase their answer because they do not feel “100% confident” that answer A is more applicable than answer C. Without penalization for guessing, students can now stop biting their nails and breaking their necks moving back and forth between two answers that both fit the bill. Just pick one and move on. No consequences. 

Now that students know what the changes are, I’m sure they can all agree that it is for the best. Yes, change is scary. And yes, for students who have already taken the SAT and won’t be around to see the changes in action, change is unfair. But I think the real beauty in this change is the reason

When asked why the SAT is changing, since the last change was almost a decade ago, the article states, “[College Board President and CEO David] Coleman cited the need to create more opportunities for students, rather than obstructing them with test questions that felt detached from their educations and the preparation colleges needed.”

And straight from the mouth of Coleman? “Standardized tests have become far too disconnected from the work of our high schools. They’re too stressful for students, too filled with mystery and ‘tricks’ to raise scores and aren’t necessarily creating more college-ready students.”

Beautiful. 

DVD Payment Options

April is fast approaching and that means my DVD is almost ready for distribution! If you are interested in buying a DVD, then please comment on the Youtube video or this blog post with an estimate of how many DVDs you are looking to purchase and what your preferred method of payment is (by check or online).

This estimate will help me in preparing my first order of DVDs to send to you more quickly and also let me know what is the most convenient form of payment for you!

If you have any questions about my DVD or any other questions/concerns in general, please feel free to email me at paige.a.woodard@gmail.com!

Digital Citizenship, Marketing, and Emoticons

This morning, I was in a Google Hangout On Air with Jenn Scheffer and her student Mira discussing digital citizenship and my social media education mission. I have been in contact with Jenn for a few months now and have participated in a few of her Twitter chats for #digcit. She is such an inspiration for students to continue to push for more freedom in the education system in regard to social media and exemplifies how educators should emphasize and encourage social media use–in the correct way! If you don’t already, I highly suggest following her at @jlscheffer on Twitter! You can also follow her student host of today’s episode, Mira, at @Mira_On_The_Wall

Here is a little preview of how the interview progressed, but–of course–you have to follow the link posted below to know exactly how our conversation integrated the topics of emoticons, cyberbullying, and even spring break pictures!

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Even if you couldn’t view the episode live, you can still check it out on Youtube by following this link. Additionally, Jenn has provided a snippet about my mission and references this blog, which is always appreciated! We had so much fun on the show today and I cannot wait to facilitate more dialogue between Burlington High School students and myself! Thanks for an inspiring morning, Jenn!