Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

August 2011

You are browsing the archive for August 2011.

Tyler Clementi Case: What's in a Text?

August 30, 2011

Two weeks ago, new evidence was recovered from the Tyler Clementi case that indicated that perhaps Dharun Ravi – Clementi’s college roommate who allegedly recorded an imitate moment between Clementi and another male and streamed it over the Internet – actually had a shred of decency in his DNA. This week, I  am of the belief again that Ravi did not have one ounce of remorse for what he did.

According to the latest court documents released two weeks ago, Clementi used his cell phone at 8:42 p.m. on Sept. 22 to send a text message to Facebook and update his status to "Jumping off the gw bridge, sorry." This was after the Rutgers University freshman reportedly learned that his encounter with another male had been streamed by Ravi for others’ viewing pleasure.

A Safe Social Media Site for Teacher-Student Interactions?

August 25, 2011

While some school districts are shutting the doors to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, others seem to have found a soft spot for Google+, the latest social site that allows users to create "circles," or specific groups of family, friends or work associates, to share information online.

In just a few months, Google+ has taken cyberspace by storm, garnering more than 25 million users since it was launched at the end of June. One of the most popular aspects of the site is that users can divide their contacts into groups and control which information they share with what group; sounds like a pretty fail proof teaching supplement right?

"I think it's fantastic," Esther Wojcicki, a journalism and English teacher at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif., told The Journal in a recent article. "I can put my students in a circle and we don’t have to share everything with everybody, like you have to do on Facebook.

Should You Go Through the Third Degree When Trying to Visit a School? Absolutely

August 23, 2011

Here are some unnerving stats for you: 160,000 kids stay home every day because of bullying; 8.2 million students a year suffer from the hands of bullying; 739,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S. roam about; and school enrollment is expected to grow at nine to 10 percent between now and 2018.

So what is the common thread between all these figures? That finding the right school security technology is paramount to finding the most educated teachers and the most-up-to-date technology teaching supplements.

Amazon Student App Outdoing College Bookstores

August 18, 2011

Earlier this week, I got to write about a pretty cool app that is bound to put the whole “But my back hurts from carrying all my textbooks” argument to rest for college students. Thanks to Amazon, students can now say goodbye to sore shoulders as Amazon has introduced a new iPhone app, specifically designed to address this problem.

The Amazon Student app, which is available for iPhone and iPod Touch, boasts a variety of coed-friendly features such as instant price checks and free two-day shipping; the ability to scan barcodes, check prices and compare prices on textbooks and everything else they buy; and to turn their used stuff into Gift Cards.

For those who might have suppressed the memory of waiting in line at the college campus bookstore to buy the million 30-pound textbooks, let me refresh your memory.

Tyler Clementi Case: New Evidence Uncovered

August 16, 2011

New evidence has turned up this week in the case involving Tyler Clementi, the college freshman who jumped to his death after being cyber bullied.

For those who need reminding about this tragic instance of cyber bullying, Clementi was an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University who, after being a victim of online bullying, decided to take his own life by jumping off the George Washington bridge. What led him to that harrowing decision was when an intimate moment between Clementi and another male was allegedly recorded by Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, and streamed over the Internet.

Currently, Ravi’s lawyer has issued a motion to dismiss all charges against Ravi, explaining that new evidence has been uncovered that shows that Ravi did not harbor ill will against Clementi.

What to Put on the Back-to-College List

August 11, 2011

Remember when back-to-school shopping for college students used to be pretty easy? You would make the drive to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond and fill your cart with shower baskets, storage crates and a neat alarm clock? Nowadays, trips to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond have been replaced by visits to Apple and Radio Shack as desktop computers and books for pleasure have slowly been replaced by tablets and Kindles.

Many industry pros out there have been fashioning back-to-school lists for coeds, delineating the “must have” education technology items from the “could be nice but not necessary” gadgets.

The Missouri Facebook Crackdown Inciting Anger

August 9, 2011

The contention surrounding Missouri’s latest law that it is now illegal for teachers to be “friends” with students on any social networking sites that allow for private communications is quickly gaining speed, particularly as Missourians prepare to go back to school in a few days.

This September, in addition to getting new dry erase markers, creating new lesson plans and making sure SMART Boards are in tip top condition, teachers are tasked with scouring through their Facebook friend lists to make sure that they are in accordance with the new law. The law was created after an Associated Press investigation found 87 Missouri teachers had lost their licenses between 2001 and 2005 because of sexual misconduct, some of which involved exchanging explicit online messages with students, according to an MSNBC report.

But many teachers are speaking out against this act, noting that this law precludes them from getting through to their students on the very technology platform that kids use every day.

To Friend or Not to Friend your Teacher

August 4, 2011

It definitely makes you think twice when you hear that high school freshmen are “friends” with their teachers on Facebook, but I bet it also makes you think twice at the thought that this practice could become illegal?

This week, news spread like wildfire that Missouri signed into law that it is now illegal for teachers to be “friends” with students on any social networking sites that allow for private communications. That means Missourians can say good-bye to friending their teachers on Facebook to see what their husbands/wives look like or following their students on Twitter to see what they are actually doing in their spare time (since it’s clearly not homework assignments).

The law does provide a clause though that while teachers and students can’t be friends, they can interact publicly on walls of fan pages.  

Should you send your iPad to College?

August 2, 2011

A few years ago, many items topped a college freshman’s back-to-school and dormitory list: nifty shoe hangers that hang off your closet that hold all your shoes; bed risers to make college twin beds a bit cooler; a micro-fridge because where else were you going to keep that beer, uh, soda; and a Mac or a PC laptop so that you could appropriately IM all your high school buddies at home and, of course, write college essays.

Today’s college freshmen have gone Apple crazy, however, and one coveted item definitely beats out the Keurig – the iPad. So is the iPad ready for freshman year?

Industry experts all over seem unsure of the answer. Some contend that on the surface, the iPad seems like the ideal device for students as it boasts an iWork office suite; an Internet-connected bookstore called iBooks; 160,000 plus applications, many of which are educational; and many platforms for those students with learning disabilities.