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

October 2011

You are browsing the archive for October 2011.

Cyberbullying: When will it Get Better?

October 27, 2011

I was reminiscing with one of my coworkers yesterday about how tough the middle school years are and we both expressed a similar sentiment, “We would never want to experience middle school again.” From the cliqueiness to the rudeness to the coldness, the pre-teen and adolescent years are particularly harrowing.

However, if I am being honest, I don’t think my coworker or I fully understand how bad school can get.

When I was in middle school, things like Facebook and Twitter did not exist and the ways in which you could bully, while still terrible, were somewhat more traditional (even predictable). Fast forward more than a decade later and now terms like “cyberbullying” and “de-friend”  are used as much as “recess” and “free period.”  It is deeply upsetting that these words are thrown around as if they are common vernacular.

Blackboard's Mobile Venture Gains Traction

October 25, 2011

When I was a student at Syracuse University, one of the neatest things to hit campus was Blackboard –a site that collocated information about your test scores, attendance and homework assignments for each class under one user-friendly interface. (Yes, I know this makes me sound lame but c’mon you have to admit it was a school version of Facebook).

In fact, instead of having to remember what I got on that Spanish quiz weeks ago (to figure out how what I had to score on the upcoming quiz to get an A for the semester), I could just go to Blackboard and glean all my grades for the entire semester.

And for teachers – whether they are at the high school or college level – Blackboard allows instructors to have one central hub in which students can be directed which contains all relevant coursework and information.

Text Messages in Class Saving Lives

October 20, 2011

At first thought, the idea of cell phones in class seems like a bad idea. I mean how realistic is it that a teen would rather listen to why the War of 1812 started over playing a rousing game of Hanging with Friends (a game that takes an unconventional approach to hangman) with his friend on his trusty iPhone?

And in addition to making games accessible during instruction, cell phone use in class has been in the hot seat for lending a hand to cheating and fostering distractions.

However, there is one fact about phones in class that I challenge anyone to try to refute; they can prove extraordinarily useful in the event of emergencies.

They are Watching You: Schools Place Cameras on Buses to Preclude Bullying

October 18, 2011

Do you recall the days of sitting on the school bus and standing by helplessly as some pompous older student stole your hard-earned lunch money? How about the time those two girls who you thought were your friends refused to let you sit in the seat with them (even though it was meant for three) and you were forced to sit with that weird smelly kid who liked to eat paint?

Albeit tough circumstances, the types of bullying that occur on the school bus nowadays are far more personal and upsetting. From using cell phones to send text messages to your friend about someone sitting five feet away from you to kids talking about the Facebook invite they received to Kim’s birthday party (while they know that the kid in the seat next to them wasn’t invited), bullying and cyberbullying have found their way onto the school buses.

So You Want to be a Teacher... Better Become Technologically Savvy

October 14, 2011

Recently, I have been advocating just how important it is for students to develop technological acumen and to become experts with e-mail, social networking and software applications all in the hopes that they fare OK in this still doomed economy. But what about teachers?

Will individuals who received their master’s in education find themselves not getting that second interview because they have limited experience with SMART Boards? Will they not even be called in for the first interview because their resume doesn’t say something like, “Piloted an iPad educational program while student teaching?”

Are you the Next Steve Jobs? Better Stay in School While you Find Out

October 12, 2011

Is staying in school really that cool? Just take a look at the success of Michael Dell (founder of Dell if you couldn’t tell), Mark Zuckerberg (the youngest self-made billionaire in the world), or the late Steve Jobs (who dropped out of Reed College after the first six months and then went on to create perhaps the technology empire of the century) and that question becomes a difficult one to answer.

And these three men are not the only college dropouts who found fame. These three men are joined by countless other esteemed professionals – such as Henry Ford, Bill Gates and Andrew Jackson – who didn’t complete college but went on to become some of the most influential figures in the world.

States Charge Forward with Anti-Bullying Laws

October 7, 2011

We don’t think twice when asked to name illicit activities: driving while under the influence of alcohol, first-degree murder, kidnapping, shoplifting…

But what about bullying? And what about Cyberbullying? We may think of these instances as heinous crimes but, fortunately, in most states these activities are slowly becoming illegal and carry with them felony charges.

Is WiFi Threatening Students Health?

October 4, 2011

First we were told to not to stand in front of microwaves while they were on for fear that the rays could cause fertility problems. Then we were informed that talking on your cell phone incessantly upped your chances for developing cancer. But now are we really being told not to send our kids to schools that have WiFi?

It would appear so.